Part 1:
1870-1907

Part 2:
1908-1949

Part 3:
1950-current

Part 4:
El Territorio

Part 5: Mapas y Bibliografía

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Querétaro, Qro.: a chronology of railroad development

by R. Todd Minsk

copyright © July 2003

Introduction

Querétaro, or Santiago de Querétaro, capital of the state of Querétaro, is located at 20°35'N, 100°23'W, about 250 kilometers northwest of Ciudad de México, elevation 1853 meters (or 1836 meters, depending on the source). The population in 1910 was 33,150, and in 1990 recorded 385,503 citizens. Querétaro is a Tarascan word meaning “place were pelota is played”. On the site of a precolonial Otomi settlement, the name Santiago de Querétaro was given by the Spanish on July 25, 1531. A pueblo was founded there October 27, 1537, which was elevated to the rank of town [villa] in 1609, and to a city in 1655. Querétaro’s topographic position on routes between Ciudad de México and points to the north and west encouraged growth and importance. The city was capital of the republic for a few months, October 1847 to June 1848, due to the invasion of Ciudad de México by North American armed forces, and also where the Constitución de 1917 was promulgated, among other well-known historical events. Railroad development began with proposals in 1870, the first evidence of construction in 1878, and actual operation in 1882.  (Diccionario Porrúa 6a ed., p.2840-2848; Leduc, Diccionario de geografía, historia y biografía mexicanas, p.793-795)

Chronology

1871 (January 19)  The state congress of Querétaro authorized, with Decreto No.90, the establishment of railroad companies to construct a line from Querétaro to México and to Guanajuato.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.54, 124; on page 69 the date of December 17, 1870 is given for this action.)

1874 (December 5) A federal concession was granted to the Compañía Limitada del Ferrocarril Central for a railroad México to León through Querétaro. Location studies by this company reached Querétaro in 1875, but the concession lapsed December 26, 1876 without any construction.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.71; México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Reseña Histórica..., p. 25, 26)

1878 (February 28)  The Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas “celebrated a contract with Sr. Enrique M. Rubio, for the government of the state of Querétaro, for the construction of a railroad to link the cities of Celaya [Guanajuato], San Juan del Río or Puerta de Palmillas, on the border with Hidalgo state.” This was named Ferrocarril Queretano.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Reseña Histórica..., p. 26; Frias, “Las calles de Querétaro”, p.155-159, in: Querétaro, textos de su historia Tomo II p.146-148 [The latter source gives the date of February 23])

1878 (March 21)  Construction of the Ferrocarril Queretano ceremonially commenced at the Garita de México. The earthworks began in front of the Alameda, extending north and east to La Cañada, but for unknown reasons were never completed.  (Frias, “Las calles de Querétaro”, p.155-159, in: Querétaro, textos de su historia Tomo II p.146-148)

circa 1880  Governor of Querétaro Antonío Gayón issued to an unidentified party what is said to be the first concession for the “ferrocarril local”, an animal-powered tramway, to extend from Querétaro to La Cañada, but the rights were abruptly revoked at the end of his governorship.  (Díaz Ramírez, Historia del Estado de Querétaro, tomo 4, p.127-128)

1880 (September 8)  Ferrocarril Central received a new federal concession.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.54, 73; México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Reseña Histórica..., p. 27)

1881 (April 13)  Ferrocarril Central Mexicano “presented the plans” for its route between Tula (Hidalgo) and Querétaro.  (“Album queretano de la primera exposición del estado en 1882” in: Querétaro, textos de su historia, Tomo II p.138-144)

1881  The concession and unfinished route of the Ferrocarril Queretano passed to Ferrocarril Central Mexicano when the latter undertook construction of its México to León line, and formed the basis for the original Ferrocarril Central Mexicano route through Querétaro.  (Frias, “Las calles de Querétaro”, p.155-159, in: Querétaro, textos de su historia Tomo II p.146-148)

1881 (June)  Two proposals for animal-powered tramways were entertained by the state of Querétaro: on June 20, landowner Francisco Urquiza solicited for a tramway from Calle Real to Plaza de Armes and Jardín Zenea, with a branch to the station of Ferrocarril Central Mexicano.  On the same date, the city created a special commission of two councilmen, don Albarrán and Bernabé Loyola to evaluate the proposals and award the concessions. (The same Bernabé Loyola solicited his own tramway proposal only a few months later.) The decision of the commission isn’t known. On June 26, General (and former governor of Querétaro) Antonio Gayón asked for “exclusive rights to construct and operate tramway lines”. (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.83, 85)

1882 (February 14)  Ferrocarril Central Mexicano constructed its track into Querétaro (which later became “Línea A”) from San Juan del Río; regular service began February 17, with the station located on the southwest side of the Alameda. It was extended to Celaya by March 31 and operated as the Main Division. The line approached Querétaro as it does now, from the southeast, and passed through the Río Querétaro canyon along the same path used later by National Railroad Company of México to locate its competing line, which still exists as “Línea B”. Near what is now Colonia Alamos in Querétaro, the Central Mexicano track turned sharply south, leaving the present-day route that continues west. Described using modern street names, the track followed approximately parallel to Avenida Calesa, crossing beneath one of the arches of the aqueduct, then farther south along Calle Santo Domingo, past the site of Plaza Las Americas, and turning west along Avenida Constituyentes. The yard, with wye to the south, was between the Alameda and Panteón Municipal on the present site of Colonia Cimatario. The route continued by turning slightly northwest and segueing onto the present alignment of the Camino a Tlacote el Bajo, west to Las Adjuntas, where the Central Mexicano again met the National’s track (after its 1903 construction over a more direct route) and west over the alignment now in use.  (Garma Franco, Railroads in México, v.2 p.248; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.75; Travellers' official railway guide for the United States, Canada and Mexico, September 1882 [information of February 15, 1882], p.379; Guía Roji, S.A. de C.V. Red Vial Ciudad de Querétaro Area Metropolitiana [map, escala 1:15,000] Guía Roji, México. undated circa 2000)

1882 (February)  Another tramway proposal was solicited, by Bernabé Loyola for a suburban tramway from Santuario del Pueblito through the center of Querétaro, east to La Cañada.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.85)

1882 (November)  The first tramway route placed in service, an animal powered line beginning at the Jardín Zenea (now Jardín Obregón) to the Ferrocarril Central Mexicano station, connecting the core of the city with its principal exterior transportation. Service was provided every half hour, with fifteen minutes travel time.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.85; Díaz Ramírez, Historia del Estado de Querétaro, tomo 4, p.117)

1883 (February 3)  In Decreto No.123, a concession was issued by the state to General Antonio Gayón and Engineer Ignacio de la Peña y Ramírez for construction of a “ferrocarril urbano” with corresponding telegraph or telephone line, between la Villa del Pueblito and el Pueblo de la Cañada, through Querétaro by way of the station of Ferrocarril Central Mexicano and passing in front of Patehé, La Purísima and Hércules. This was constituted as the Compañía del Ferrocarril Urbano de Querétaro. Two months later, on April 2, its administrative office was installed at Calle del Puente no.4.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.87, 129-133)

1883 (May 8)  The concession of the Compañía del Ferrocarril Urbano de Querétaro was granted an extension of its line to “la Aduana y a las garitas de la ciudad”, in response to a solicitation to the state congress.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.87)

1883 (June)  The second tramway line extended east from Jardín Zenea on Avenida Juaréz beginning at the “Portal de Carmelitas” to the Puente de Patehé, passing near the San Antonio textile mill, then under construction, and serving a recreation area known as Baños de Patehé. The per-passenger fare was one half real for a trip of any distance on this new line.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.87)

1883 (August)  The tramway line was further extended from Puente de Patehé, to Hércules mill, and began to offer direct service from the Ferrocarril Central station to Hércules.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.87)

1884 (April 7)  The track of the Ferrocarril Central Mexicano from México to Silao, including that through Querétaro, was redesignated the First Division.  (Travellers' official railway guide for the United States, Canada and Mexico, May 1884 p.xxxviii)

1884 (April 14)  The tramway segment from Hércules to La Cañada opened, the ultimate extension of this route. Mule-pulled trains, of passenger cars with a platform car for freight, ran both directions at intervals of about 90 minutes, leaving Querétaro from 0600 to 1705 and La Cañada from 0730 to 1830, with an additional departure from Querétaro at 1830 only to Hércules, leaving on its return from there at 1930. This service was provided by two sets of equipment. Passenger fare zones were created, costing, for first class service, one half real between Querétaro and Patehé, one quarter real from Patehé [sometimes spelled Pathé, depending on the source] to Hércules, and one quarter real Hércules to La Cañada; second class service also existed. Passage over the entire line was charged one real in first class and three-quarters in second class. Similar zone charges were established for carrying freight, with reduced fees if the “plataforma” did not have to return empty.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.87-89)

1890 (August)  Ferrocarril Central Mexicano renamed several of its operating divisions. The track through Querétaro became part of the México Division (México to Calera, Zacatecas) The México Division was later extended to Jimilco (Coahuila), on May 1, 1900.  (Travellers' official railway guide for the United States, Canada and Mexico, August 1890 p.659; The Official guide of the railways and steam navigation lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, June 1900 p.xxxvi)

1898 to 1907  The Anuario Estadístico de la República Mexicana for those years reports that animal-powered, 1435mm gauge industrial railways existed at the Fábricas del Hércules, La Purísima and San Antonio (textile mills) totaling 2000 meters. These may have begun as early as 1883 or 1884 with inauguration of the urban tramways to these facilities, with which they apparently connected. The factories themselves had been inaugurated in 1840 with Hércules, 1854 for La Purísima, and a few years later that of San Antonio.  (Anuario Estadístico de la República Mexicana, 1898 to 1907; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.27-28, 33, 89)

1900  Construction of a 12 kilometer tramway was reported to have begun by Francisco Urquiza, owner of the Hacienda de Jurica, from said hacienda southeast to Querétaro, using 60cm gauge Decauville track, though the line may not have been completed in that form.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.91; México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Dirección de Ferrocarriles. Estadística 1923, 1924, y 1925 hoja: [p.84])

1902 (May)  Two routes of Compañía del Ferrocarril Urbano de Querétaro were placed in service, the first from Jardín Zenea to the incipient new station of Ferrocarril Nacional, partly over track that had been constructed several years before. [In Díaz Ramírez, Historia del Estado de Querétaro, tomo 4, p.147 this line is dated 1904; see below.] The second connected Querétaro, from the station of Ferrocarril Central, with the community of El Pueblito to the southwest, by way of Vanegas and El Arbol. (The santuario del Pueblito became a popular destination.) This link had apparently been under construction for some time. The 1883 concession required in Article 3, that it be completed (along with the part across the city and the Querétaro – La Cañada segment) within ten years.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.91,129-130; Frias, “Las calles de Querétaro”, p.155-159, in: Querétaro, textos de su historia Tomo II p.253)

1903 (June)  Crossing of FC Central Mexicano tracks by Tranvías de Querétaro was approved by the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. [If the cited companies are correct, this crossing may have been at either of two places: the tramway to La Cañada apparently crossed the Ferrocarril Central Mexicano track in Colonia El Cortijo, near the corner of Calle De la Peñita with Avenida Calesa (using modern street names). Or, the tramway route to El Pueblito crossed near the west end of the Central’s station grounds, approximately the corner of Avenida Constituyentes with Calle Pedro Moreno. Both of these tranvía routes were active several years earlier than the cited action. However, under construction at this time was the National Railroad Company of México’s new line from Huichapan (Hidalgo) to Empalme González (Guanajuato), which crossed the route of the existing (since 1900) tramway to Hacienda Jurica, at a point later designated kilometer B-270.3, 1600 meters west of the National’s station, in modern terms near the west end of Calle Miami. The crossing survived at least to 1937, but was eliminated by 1943.]  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1902-03 p.136; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (y Líneas Administradas) División de Querétaro Horario No.3, 1 de septiembre de 1937; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México y Anexos División de Querétaro Suplemento No.8 al Horario No.3, 1 de octubre de 1943; Guía Roji, S.A. de C.V. Red Vial Ciudad de Querétaro Area Metropolitiana [map, escala 1:15,000], undated circa 2000)

1903  National Railroad Company of México constructed a 1435mm gauge line (later to become known as “Línea B”) from Huichapan (Hidalgo) through Querétaro to Empalme González (Guanajuato), as part of the Southern Division. The new line ran closely parallel to the existing Central Mexicano from estación La Griega to the northeast edge of Querétaro, and again west of the city from Las Adjuntas to Mariscala (Guanajuato). [Estación La Griega is simply “La Griega” to the railroad, but needs to be differentiated from the pueblo of La Griega some five kilometers northeast of the railroad station with the same name.] In combination with earlier construction from México to Huichapan by way of Huehuetoca, and track regauging north of Empalme González, this formed a substitute for the company’s original 935mm gauge main line through Acámbaro and Toluca, built in 1883; Empalme González was a new station occasioned by the rearrangements. The Querétaro station was located north of the Río Querétaro in a locale known as La Otra Banda, and had already received tramway service since May 1902. The first ballast train arrived in Querétaro May 1; the first passenger train, bound for Laredo (the track in the other direction was yet unfinished), was September 20. On October 31, SCOP approved the inauguration of the new line, to take place November 8.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.77; México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1903-04, p.97; Travellers’ official railway guide for the United States, Canada and Mexico, January 1884 p.423; The Official guide of the railways and steam navigation lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, November 1903 p.xlii, 952, 953)

1903 (November 8)  The new line through Querétaro of National Railroad Company of México was placed in full operation. Two passenger trains stopped daily in each direction, Numbers 1 and 2 México-Laredo (Texas) and Numbers 3 and 4 México-San Luis Potosí.  (The Official guide of the railways and steam navigation lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, December 1903 p.xxxv, 980)

1904  With construction of the Ferrocarril Nacional de México track through Querétaro, the tranvía line from Portal de Carmelitas to the Alameda was extended north from the former point to the new station, and named “Mixto Estaciones”.  (Díaz Ramírez, Historia del Estado de Querétaro, tomo 4, p.147; [Another source, González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX p.217, indicates this line was built May 1902 and named simply “Línea Estaciones”.]; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.91)

1904  The extension of the tranvía lines is reported as: urbanos, 9.1 km; La Cañada, 9 km; Pueblito, 11 km. The two suburban lines were each served hourly, with a travel time of exactly one hour.  (Anuario Estadístico de la República Mexicana 1904 p.183; Díaz Ramírez, Historia del Estado de Querétaro, tomo 4, p.87, 117)

1906 (November)  The last of the queretana tramway routes was inaugurated, a multi-block loop known as la Línea Circuito, from La Cruz west past Jardín Zenea to Belén (now Calle Ezequiel Montes), sharing some of its route with lines previously established.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.91-93; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.217; Díaz Ramírez, Historia del Estado de Querétaro, tomo 4, p.147, 222)

between 1905-1909  The Ferrocarril Central Mexicano route through Querétaro was redesignated the Silao Division (San Juan del Río to La Colorada, Zacatecas). The México Division was shortened to México to San Juan del Río.  (Garma Franco, Railroads in México, v.2 p.346)

between 1906-1908  According to one source, the “ramal del Ferrocarril Nacional Acámbaro-Querétaro” (presumed to be the same entity as Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro) was constructed.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.77)

1907 (January 12)  Concession 311 was issued by the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas providing for the Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro, to be built between those points.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1923-24 p.62, 65, 72)

1907  A contract was celebrated between the Secretarío del Estado y del Despacho de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, and Manuel Rubio y Arriaga, for construction and operation of a railroad between Querétaro and Acámbaro (Guanajuato). The sections completed soon fell into disuse “a result of the dismemberment of the productive structure of the porfiriato, that had been the motive behind the transportation forms in force at the turn of the century”.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.37)

Part 1:
1870-1907

Part 2:
1908-1949

Part 3:
1950-current

Part 4:
El Territorio

Part 5: Mapas y Bibliografía

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