AP PHOTOS: Argentina capital's rail commuters complain of dismal, sweaty trips - and safety - InfoNews

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AP PHOTOS: Argentina capital's rail commuters complain of dismal, sweaty trips - and safety

In this , Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 photo, a bird stands on a fence near what was left of a train wagon set on fire by angry passengers on 2005 in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina This incident was one of many when passengers frustration boiled over in reaction to the bad service offered by the line. Argentina's government decided to take full control of operations, after the Sarmiento Line passenger train system suffered its third accident in less than two years, announcing new security measures, such as psychological exams for the train's engineers, lowering speeds when arriving to a station, and the investment in new technology such as new railway carriages.(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
December 16, 2013 - 9:08 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Riding the commuter trains around Argentina's capital can make for a dismal, sweaty trip on cars that mostly date back to the mid-1960s.

Users of the seven lines that connect Buenos Aires with neighbouring municipalities complain about rundown railcars, careless drivers and a lack of information at stations.

And they worry about safety. One train slammed into a downtown station last year, killing 51 people and pushing the government to take over direct operation of the trains from private companies. Then a crash in June killed three people.

Cameras installed after the latest accident have captured train drivers reading books, talking on cellphones and even sleeping while operating trains.

"We're afraid," says Mariza Cano, a maid riding a crowded train on the Sarmiento line with her 11-year-old daughter. "We're often feeling that we'll be lucky if we reach our destination, but sometimes there's no other option but to travel by train because taking the bus takes way too long."

President Cristina Fernandez has promised improvements by early next year including 1,000 new railroad cars. Some railcars manufactured abroad have been purchased and put into the fleet. Stations have been painted. New electronic screens inform passengers about arrivals and departures.

But commuters say that much remains to be done and that riding the trains remains a hassle.

The railways, signals and track have had little upgrading since being built early in the 20th century. The lines' electrical system is more than 80 years old.

Here's a gallery of images from Argentina's trains.

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AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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