EL DEBATE ENTRE LAS BONDADES DE LA TECNOLOGÍA "AMERICANA" E "INGLESA" EN LOS FERROCARRILES ESTATALES CHILENOS DE LA DECADA DE 1870
The Southern Network of the Chilean Railways did not start from a single point. The construction of the Valparaíso-Santiago (FCSV) line was started in that port and by the time it reached the capital, trains were already running between Santiago and San Fernando under another company, the Ferrocarril del Sur (Southern Railway or FCS). From the start the FCSV adopted British technical standards, whereas the FCS preferred North American equipment, as regards carriages and, specifically, locomotives. As there was no continuity of operations between the two railways, the different technical preferences were not a matter of concern until 1873, just before the conclusion of the continuous railway line between Talcahuano and Valparaíso passing through Santiago, when the Minister of the Interior pressed the board of the FCSV to change to North American standards. The board successfully resisted the change, insisting that its technology -which involved important local modifications to the British standards- was more suitable for the topography of the Valparaíso line. Apparently, the failure of this attempt at standardization, was not a matter of concern because, notwithstanding the existence of a continuous line from Talcahuano to Valparaíso, the section to the west of Santiago was operated separately from the section to the south.