2009

The Panama Canal Railway:
Ocean to Ocean in less than one hour

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The original Panama Railroad was built in 1855, and immediately made money by safely transporting gold-rush gold.
Although it was financed by Yankee money, it was laid to the gauge of the South of the USA - the 5-foot gauge.
It was invaluable during the building of the Panama Canal, but the route of the canal would have inundated part of the
rail right-of-way. The canal builders also rebuilt the rail line, and at some time it was electrified.

In 2001, it was rebuilt as a standard-gauge, heavy rail container-train route: ships could discharge some or all of their cargo of containers at Panama City or at Colon and the containers could be whisked across the continent and loaded onto another ship.

The line also owns one passenger train, which does double duty as a commuter train in the morning and the evening,
and also runs tourist trips across the continent.

Container train leaving Panama City
Panama City Passenger Station: the train awaits
The train has a loco at each end so it can just shuttle back and forth. There is an empty container-train on the right.
Company shield on the wall of the station: which it's "Railway" and not "Railroad", I don't know. Nor why it's in English, as the company was formed after the US had handed the Canal Zone to Panama.
Dark wood-panelled passenger car. The car is actually a modern steel car, but it has a "retro" interior.
The viewing building at Miraflores, framed in a support for the catenary power wires that no longer exists.
Control tower at Pedro Miguel
Road crossing (with warning lights) near Pedro Miguel
The train goes past jungle . . .
and golf courses
Crossing the Gamboa bridge
The station at Colon: the journey took 57 minutes.
End of the line at Colon.

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This page last updated on 1805/2009