The narrow (75cm) gauge "Old Patagonian Express" prepares to leave Esquel for Ingeniero Jacobacci and the broad guage connection to Buenos Aires. Over the years this line has achieved a modest level of fame. It started with Theroux's book that gave a name to what had been a obscure "mixto". The remote area and narrow gauge added to its mystic. It is not the most southerly railway in the Americas (there are some isolated lines farther south in Argentina), but it is the most southerly line directly connected with the "outside world" Perhaps most amazing is that it still survives as of this writing (barely), and while its transportation functions have been replaced by air service and improved highways, it still operates regular tourist trains. The southern Andes harbor some of the most spectacular mountain tourist destinations in South America, so there is a growing tourist business. And the occasional railfan charters draw participants from all over the world. But back in November 1973 when this picture was taken, this was just another departure for distant Buenos Aires, and Theroux had not even written his book.
The narrow gauge line to Esquel, Argentina, variously known as La Trochita, The Old Patagonian Express, or just the Esquel line, linked the remote villages of southern Patagonia with the outside world. It is amazing that the line still exists.