The “Tren de la Sabana,” managed by Turistren, is a museum railway in Bogotá, Colombia. A few years ago, the operation was with steam locomotives every weekend; however, these days, the train is pulled by diesel-electric engines. The train journey with the museum train goes over 53km (33 Miles) from the Sabana railway-station in downtown Bogota to Zipaquirá. It is also possible to board the train at the railway-station in Usaquen.
History of the Tren de la Sabana
In 1990, when the Colombian National Railway Company ceased to operate, the former railroaders began to renovate steam locomotives and some passenger cars for a museum train. In 1992, the private company Turistren Ltda was founded by four friends who signed a contract with the National Government to use the tracks between Bogota Sabana Station and Zipaquira for the tourist trains. In 1993, the first train journeys with steam locomotives were carried out under the name Tren Turístico de la Sabana.”
Turistren bought 9 abandoned steam locomotives between 1993 and 1997 to see which ones could be restored and brought back to life. The priority was given to Baldwin locomotives so that most spare parts could be for all of them. Today, 5 steam locomotives are fully rehabilitated, restored, and in perfect operation.
Turistren currently has also three diesel locomotives and 3 Swedish built rail cars. All are in perfect condition and functioning.
Because of the high maintenance cost, steam-locomotives are used only on special occasions. The Saturday and Sunday journeys are made with railcars and diesel locomotives.
Tren de la Sabana Today
Currently, in addition to tourist trains, freight trains also use the Sabana railway line. The Bogotá-Zipaquira-Paz de Río railroad was fully rehabilitated in 2004 for cargo transportation from the iron and steel industries in Paz de Río to Bogota. The freight train operation is currently under the administration of “Acerías Paz de Río.”