The first railway in Venezuela opened in 1877, between the port of Tucucas and the copper mining district of Aroa, a distance of about 145km. This was a narrow gauge line, although most subsequent railway development in the country was to standard (1435mm) gauge.
By the 1990s, the public railway network had been reduced to a single route, 173km in length, between Barquisimento and Puerto Caballo. However, the 21st century has seen the start of a number of rehabilitation and new build freight railway projects. Passenger services remain restricted to a single line between Caracas and Cúa, although several cities have modern Metro systems.
The iron ore company Ferrominera Orinoco has its own private standard (1435mm) gauge railway operation, which boasts a greater track mileage than the national network, even taking into account the recent expansion of the latter.