There are many places in the world that are simply elevated when experienced through the windows of a train, and the “end of the world” is no different. Ushuaia is a province in the south corner of Argentina, the last city in South America, so close to the mysterious icy continent of Antarctica that giant glaciers make up its unique scenery, and in it, the southernmost railroad in the world takes visitors through the scenic and historical view of this one of a kind place, from the End of the World Station to the fascinating Tierra del Fuego.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

A standout winter destination in Argentina, Ushuaia is a budding tourist destination. The End of the World Train offers visitors a new and different way to know this corner at the end of the continent, in a train ride that weaves the memories of Ushuaia throughout its beautiful scenery.

A not so scenic beginning for the end of the world train

The historical origins of the End of the World Train are not quite as scenic and pleasant as their present. Ushuaia has a long and tumultuous history, having been inhabited since nearly 11 thousand years ago, with many conflicts throughout its existence. In 1902 engineer Catello Muratgia began construction of the famous Ushuaia Penitentiary, a prison that housed felons from all over the country for over 40 years, its isolated, end of the world location and harsh climate aided in its security.

The train tracks were originally built to carry prisoners themselves or the material to be used on the worksites, including building the prison itself - early on, the tracks housed a xylocarril, which was often pushed by the prisoners themselves. The prisoners were not incarcerated all of the time, they worked on various sites throughout Ushuaia, constructing buildings, maintaining lands, and even distributing firewood for the population in the cold months - and their mode of transportation was by train.

In 1947, President Perón ordered the prison to be shut down; the railway would stay utilized until the 90s, when tourism company Tannex Turismo bought it and repurposed it as a scenic attraction, officially founding the “End of the World Train” at the southernmost railway in the world.

Related: Antarctica: Disputed Continent Turned International Peace Territory

The end of the world train route

Even though its origins are quite bleak, the 7-kilometer voyage is beyond beautiful, winding its way through the Pipo River valley, and curves of Mount Susana, through tunnels and forests of Ushuaia, particularly stunning in winter, when Tierra del Fuego becomes the true land of ice and fire.

The End of The World Station

The train departs from the End of the World Station, 8 kilometers away from Ushuaia. It’s worth arriving a while before the train leaves, as the station itself is very interesting and charming: there’s a café with famously delicious hot chocolate, a gift store - visitors can even purchase prison uniforms -, and a few exhibits about the history of the railroad lining the walls.

The Burnt Bridge

The train makes its way to the Pipo River, across the Burnt Bridge. Pipo River is a mountain meltwater river that connects to the Beagle Canal, cutting curves across the mountains. Its name, Pipo, is after an escapee of the Ushuaia Penitentiary, who was found frozen in the river after his attempted escape decades ago. The Burnt Bridge is called so because of the burnt remains of the original bridge which can be seen below the current (thankfully intact!) railway bridge.

La Macarena Waterfall

Following the course, the train makes its first stop at Macarena Waterfall Station, where passengers can step out and explore the surrounding nature and the rushing waters of the eponymous Macarena Waterfall. There are many opportunities to take pictures as well as take in the beauty of the Ushuaia landscape, not to mention a couple of prisoner reenactments on the station!

The Tree Cemetery

One of the most interesting spots at the End of The World railway is the tree cemetery, already inside the boundaries of Tierra del Fuego National Park. A large expanse of land where the stumps of the trees that were cut over 50 years ago by the prisoners in Ushuaia form a natural museum of the history of the region.

Related: The Scenic Train Ride You've Never Heard Of: Curitiba-Morretes

Tierra del Fuego National Park

The End of the World Train finally makes its way to the National Park Station, inside Tierra del Fuego National Park, the final destination. Here, passengers can step off and explore the park for the rest of the day, or take the train back through the route into the End of the World Station.

Where the Cordillera de Los Andes meets the sea, Tierra del Fuego is one of the main national parks in Argentina, where forests, mountains, sea, waterfalls, and glaciers can be seen and explored.

Details on the End of The World Train

During the trip, passengers will have the option to listen to an audio explanation of the history of Ushuaia, the prison, the train, and the landscapes around them, available in seven languages. Necessary to feel like riding through an open-air museum!

The whole voyage takes around one hour and a half to two hours.

  • Hours: The hours vary depending on the season, generally at 9:30, 12:00, and 15:00 in the high season, September to April.
  • Rates: Prices also vary. In general, tickets can go from 50 USD to 110USD, depending on the class

Bookings can be made on the website. Attention, the train ticket does not include entrances to Tierra del Fuego National Park!

Next: Forget Switzerland: Argentina Should Be Your Winter Destination