Take a rail journey, on the world's narrowest-gauge tracks, which commences in the world's southern-most city; threads its way through spectacular, national park scenery, amid blinding, white, horizontal, end-of-the-world-characteristic snow deepest river in the world; and traces its history to a penitentiary, which had been purposefully built just to populate the area, and you have a travel experience of fascinating proportions. The A-framed, wooden logged, alpine-resembling terminal building at the Estacion del Fin del Mundo, with its corrugated iron roof, had been located in the Municipal Camping Ground of Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina eight kilometers from Ushuaia, current capitol of Argentine Patagonia, which had been comprised of the Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut, and Tierra del Fuego provinces. The very narrow End of the World Train, consisting of the tiny steam locomotive in the front and its eight wooden, green-painted, boxy-like passenger coaches behind, had been cradled by the slender, almost toy-like track behind glass doors leading from the terminal lobby to the platform which uniformed conductors opened 15 minutes before its scheduled 1255 departure, punching tickets and emitting the throngs of passengers. The End of the World Train itself arose out of the dual-parameter need to populate the then-inhospitable island of Tierra del Fuego, located at the southern tip of South America, and to establish a penitentiary to which the country's criminals could be sent. On October 12, 1884, the Tierra del Fuego government had been founded, along with Ushuaia, the world's southern-most city, which is located 3,000 kilometers south of Buenos Aires and 4,000 kilometers north of the earth's southern pole. The train, initially running on wooden rails, itself served two purposes-namely, to carry materials to the construction site of the military prison, which had been completed in 1902, and to transport prisoners and workers between the newly formed city and the facility. The rails, replaced by steel in 1910, facilitated the permanent service which commenced the following year and rapidly earned the reputation of the "Convict Train." Four German steam locomotives provided initial power: a 0-4-0 manufactured by Orenstein and Koppel in Berlin; two 20-horsepower, 1910 0-6-0Ts, also built by Orenstein and Koppel; and a 1928 0-8-0T Arn. Jung. Prisoners would typically depart on the Convict Train before dawn, sitting on its flatbed cars with their feet dangling over the sides during the 27-kilometer run to Lapataia, where they would cut wood amidst the sub-Antarctic cold throughout the day, while others would replenish the locomotive's firebox with wood during the journey. In winter, the narrow track often had to be shoveled. Upon return, the men either rode atop the cut wood or ran alongside the train, closely guarded. The prison's location, in the middle of an island permanently surrounded by frozen seas, blanketed by forest and mountains, fraught with brutal cold, and accessed only six times per year by Argentine Navy ships which had to navigate the treacherous Strait of Magellan, precluded escape and earned it the reputation of "Argentine Siberia" and the "black hole of the south." On March 21, 1947, Juan Domingo Peron, then Argentine president, signed the decree which closed Ushuaia Prison after 45 years of operation, obviating the need for the rail line which had served it. Seeking to restore the line to operational status, preserve history, and provide rail service to both locals and tourists, Tranex Turismo created the Ferrocarril Austral Fuerguino (FCAF), laying its first track in 1993 from the Municipal Camping Ground of Tierra del Fuego National Park and following the rail embankment of the original Convict Train, most of whose rails had eroded beyond safe re-use. The rails, which had previously been used by the Ferro Industrial Rio Turbio located in the nearby province of Santa Cruz and weighed 17 kilos-per-meter, spanned seven kilometers--six kilometers of mainline track and one for auxiliary use. The track, comprised of 1,400 ten-meter-long rails, had been connected by 1,400 fishplates, each with four bolts for a 5,600-total. The 6,500 sleepers had been separated by a 75-centimeter gap. Its one-meter width, following a maximum 2.8-percent slope, constituted the world's narrowest gauge rail line. Several locomotives and cars had been used during its construction. Two Ruston and Hornsby units, originally built in Britain, but later restored by Tranex in Carupa, featured two-cylinder, air-cooled engines and were subsequently retrofitted with rudimentary, weather-protecting cabs. Used to pull flatbed and low-loader wagons, they transported material needed for the railroad construction project. Cars, also manufactured and restored in the Carupa workshops, featured welded steel chassis and sheet steel floors and varied in length according to intended mission, from carrying stone and loose ballast to transporting the rails themselves. Scheduled service had been reinaugurated on October 11, 1994, the 110th anniversary of the founding of the city of Ushuaia, and had been operated by locomotive "Rodrigo," a 1938 steam engine built by Orenstein and Koppel, but incorporating a modified driver's cab to more closely approximate the engines which had powered the original Convict Train.