The company was created on January 4, 1884 by means of the purchase of the companies that exploited the longitudinal routes and the Santiago – Valparaíso route. Since then, the company acquired the railways of the sodium nitrate mining companies in the north of Chile. From 1913 on the network of the EFE extends from Iquique to Puerto Montt. (more translation from es:Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado#Historia to come)
A stable political and economic climate allowed EFE to complete its largest-ever investment programme in December 2005. This involved spending US$1bn in 2003-05 to increase capacity on commuter networks and improved long-distance services.
- Metro Regional de Valparaíso (MERVAL S.A.): Commuter rail on the Valparaíso Region
- Ferrocarriles Suburbanos de Concepción (Fesub Concepción S.A.): Commuter rail on the Biobío Region and Araucanía Region
- Operates the Biotren, the commuter service trains between Talcahuano's Mercado Station and Hualqui, and from Concepción Station to "Lomas Coloradas" Station in San Pedro de La Paz on the Biobío Region.
- Operates the Corto del Laja, the commuter service trains between Talcahuano and Laja, on the Biobío Region.
- Operates the Regional Train Victoria - Temuco, the commuter service train on the Araucanía Region.
- Trenes Metropolitanos: Commuter rail between the Santiago Metropolitan Region and the O'Higgins Region.
- Servicio de Trenes Regionales Terra: Inter-city rail between the Santiago Metropolitan Region and the Biobío Region.
- Transporte Ferroviario Andrés Pirazolli (TRANSAP): Cargo on the Santiago Metropolitan Region, O'Higgins Region and the Biobío Region.
Special tourist services
- Tren de la Araucanía
- Bolivia - same gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) - from Arica to La Paz, Bolivia and from Antofagasta to Uyuni, Bolivia
- Argentina - Transandine Railway - abandoned 1984 – 100 km of mountain railway of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge with rack railway sections - break of gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)/1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) at either end. Concession planned to re-open line.
- Another line connecting two countries is the Salta-Antofagasta, single 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge.
- Peru - a single 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) gauge connection between the northern Chilean city of Arica and Tacna in Southern Peru. The line closed in 2012, but As of June 2014[update], there were plans to reopen it.
- John Kolodziejski (April 1, 2006). "Record investment boosts EFE's passenger business". Railway Gazette International (London).
- Thomas Salt (April 1, 2006). "Automation gets the most out of mining railway infrastructure". Railway Gazette International (London).
- "Tacna – Arica reopening studies". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- EFE official website (in Spanish)