Since 2008, the only functioning railroad in Panama has been the Panama Canal Railway, operated by the Panama Canal Railway Company, successor of Panama Railway, which provides passenger and freight service between Panama City (on the Pacific coast) and Colón (on the Atlantic coast). Historically, there were also narrow gauge railroads in Chiriquí Province (Ferrocarril de Chiriquí), which were abandoned in the late 20th century.
During the first half of the 19th century, travel across the Isthmus of Panama was difficult and dangerous. The need for a more reliable interoceanic communication grew stronger after the acquisition of California by the United States. The construction of a transcontinental railroad started in 1850 and the first train from coast to coast passed on January 28, 1855. However, more than twelve thousand workers probably died during the construction.
The railway greatly assisted in the building of Panama Canal, which closely paralleled and in some places took over the rail line. Parts of the rail route were moved during the building of the canal, and considerable additions were made to the rail system. The rebuilt and improved Panama Railway beside the canal was completed in 1912.
In 1979, the United States government handed over control of the Canal Zone and railway to the government of Panama. On 19 June 1998, the government of Panama turned over control to the private Panama Canal Railway Company ("PCRC"). The Panama Railway was originally broad gauge 1,524 mm (5 ft) broad gauge, but when it was rebuilt in 2000, the gauge was changed to standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). The route is 47.6 miles (76.6 km) long across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Balboa (Pacific, near Panama City).
As of 2015, Panama Canal Railway Company runs both passenger and freight trains between Panama City and Colón. Passenger service consists of one service in each direction Monday-Friday and the regular one way fare is US$25.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the government of Panama studied the feasibility of additional railroads. In 1910, Panama Railway was commissioned to estimate cost of a railroad from Panama City to David, Chiriquí with branches to Antón (Coclé Province) and Los Santos. The costs were however too high and the government decided to construct additional network in Chiriquí Province only. In 1914, a contract was signed for construction of a railroad David - Boquete - Concepción with a branch Dolega - Potrerillos and another short one to Puerto Pedregal. The railroad was inaugurated on April 23, 1916 with the first train from David to Boquete. (Dr. Alonso Roy)
Edwards Rail Car company reports an undated acknowledgment of their three railcars, which were delivered to Ferrocarril de Chiriquí probably in the 1920s.
After 1974, the infrastructure of Chiriquí Railroads was transferred to Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Obras Públicas) and operations were stopped around 1990 La Prensa February 21, 2003.. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the tracks of the defunct railroads are being dismantled and reused for construction of bridges in rural areas
The Chiriquí Land Company was a United Fruit company involved in banana growing and real estate management in Panama. It also operated railroads that at their peak totaled about 300km, more than the Panama Railroad and FNC put together.Their primary traffic was bananas, but it also ran public passenger and freight trains.
These were divided into two systems of similar size, both entirely narrow (3') gauge. The southern, in Chiriquí Province, was closed by 1988.The northern, in Bocas del Toro Province, covered Almirante, Changuinola, Guabito and parts of Sixaola. The last-mentioned section closed in 1999, leaving only the bridge over Changuinola River. The remainder was closed between 2005 and 2008. The railroad used General Electric engines ().
Two separate and distinct tram or streetcar systems operated in Panama City. The first started service on October 1, 1893, and ended during the Thousand Days' War. The second started in 1913 and operated, with reorganizations and company transferrals, until May 31, 1941.There have been proposals for a tramway system to supplement the Panama City Metro, but as of 2017 no construction has taken place.
Contracts were awarded in 2010 for line 1 of the Panama Metro in Panama City, with 14 stations. Service began in April 2014, and the first phase of line two began service in 2019, bringing the total number of stations to 29.
The government of Panama and China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group are working to have a new high-speed railway between Panama City and David constructed, following the formalization of Panamanian-Chinese relations in June 2017. A design is planned to be ready in the second half of 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rail transport in Panama .|
A transcontinental railroad or transcontinental railway is a contiguous network railroad trackage that crosses a continental land mass with terminals at different oceans or continental borders. Such networks can be via the tracks of either a single railroad or over those owned or controlled by multiple railway companies along a continuous route. Although Europe is crisscrossed by railways, the railroads within Europe are usually not considered transcontinental, with the possible exception of the historic Orient Express. Transcontinental railroads helped open up unpopulated interior regions of continents to exploration and settlement that would not otherwise have been feasible. In many cases they also formed the backbones of cross-country passenger and freight transportation networks. Many of them continue to have an important role in freight transportation and some like the Transsiberian Railroad even have passenger trains going from one end to the other.
The Panama Canal Railway is a railway line linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in Central America. The route stretches 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Balboa. Because of the difficult physical conditions of the route and state of technology, the construction was renowned as an international engineering achievement, one that cost US$8 million and the lives of an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 workers. Opened in 1855, the railway preceded the Panama Canal by half a century; the ship canal was later constructed parallel to the railway.
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, it was a major shipping route known simply as the Tehuantepec Route. The name is taken from the town of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca; this was derived from the Nahuatl term tecuani-tepec.
A train ferry is a ship (ferry) designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as distinguished from "auto ferries" used to transport automobiles. The wharf has a ramp, and a linkspan or "apron", balanced by weights, that connects the railway proper to the ship, allowing for the water level to rise and fall with the tides.
Mexico has a freight railway system owned by the national government and operated by various entities under concessions (charters) granted by the national government. The railway system provides freight and passenger service throughout the country, connecting major industrial centers with ports and with rail connections at the United States border. Passenger rail services were limited to a number of tourist trains between 1997, when Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México suspended service, and 2008, when Ferrocarril Suburbano de la Zona Metropolitana de México inaugurated Mexico's first commuter rail service between Mexico City and the State of Mexico. This is not including the Mexico City Metro, which started service in 1969.
The Ferrocarril Transístmico, also known as Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec, S.A. de C.V. or simply Ferroistmo, is today a railroad with no rolling stock, owned by the Mexican government, that crosses the Isthmus of Tehuantepec between Puerto Mexico, Veracruz, and Salina Cruz, Oaxaca. It is leased to Ferrocarril del Sureste FERROSUR. It was formerly leased to Ferrocarriles Chiapas-Mayab until Genesee & Wyoming gave up its concession in 2007. Originally it was known as the Tehuantepec Railway.
Ferrocentral was an Argentine private railway company, with a name formed by a combination of the Spanish words for "Central Rail". It operated long-distance passenger trains from its base at Retiro station in Buenos Aires to several locations in northern Argentina, running on Ferrocarril Mitre's 5ft 6" in gauge railway|Indian gauge]] tracks.
Rail transport in Peru has a varied history. Peruvian rail transport has never formed a true network, primarily comprising separate lines running inland from the coast and built according to freight need rather than passenger need.
The Transandine Railway was a 1,000 mmmetre gauge combined rack and adhesion railway which operated from Mendoza in Argentina, across the Andes mountain range via the Uspallata Pass, to Santa Rosa de Los Andes in Chile, a distance of 248 km. The railway has been out of service since 1984, and has been partly dismantled. There has been talk about restoring the railway, but there is currently no indication of any restorative work underway.
Guatemala has a network of 3 ft narrow gauge railroads, passenger and freight trains currently run.
Railroads in Honduras were built in late 19th and early 20th centuries by two competing U.S. corporations - United Fruit and Standard Fruit. All were in the Caribbean coastal area and never reached the capital. In 1993, the combined network had 785 km. At present (2006), only three separate segments remain in operation under the management of FNH - Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras:
Rail transport in Costa Rica is primarily under the stewardship of Incofer, an autonomous institution of the state. Incofer owns the national railway infrastructure and operates virtually all freight and passenger services, which consist primarily of commuter trains through the highly populated Central Valley. The whole Incofer network is 1,067 mm narrow gauge, although there are several small tourist railways of other gauges.
Rail transport in Central America consists of several isolated railroad lines with freight or passenger service. The most famous one is the Panama Canal Railway, the oldest transcontinental railroad in the world, connecting Panama City with Colón since 1855. Other railroads in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama were built by private and public investors mainly to facilitate the transport of local agricultural produce to export markets and harbors. Their market share and profitability went into decline in the second half of the twentieth century and most lines have been decommissioned by the end of the 1990s. As of 2018, railroads operate locally in Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama only; all rail transport has been suspended in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The railways still operating do not cross national borders.
The General Manuel Belgrano Railway (FCGMB), named after the Argentine politician and military leader Manuel Belgrano, is a 1,000 mmmetre gauge railway and the longest of the Argentine system. It was one of the six State-owned Argentine railway companies formed after President Juan Perón's nationalisation of the railway network in 1948.
The Argentine railway network consisted of a 47,000 km (29,204 mi) network at the end of the Second World War and was, in its time, one of the most extensive and prosperous in the world. However, with the increase in highway construction, there followed a sharp decline in railway profitability, leading to the break-up in 1993 of Ferrocarriles Argentinos (FA), the state railroad corporation. During the period following privatisation, private and provincial railway companies were created and resurrected some of the major passenger routes that FA once operated.
The Bolivian rail network has had a peculiar development throughout its history; owing to losses of land, prestige and credit rating due to the failure of the War of the Pacific, railway development came late to Bolivia. The demand for mineral wealth and communication to the inland city of La Paz, encouraged foreign investors, mainly British, to construct railways. However, into this mix came the experience of railway building in adjacent Peru, whereby overbuilding of standard gauge line across the high Andes meant that Peru went bankrupt.
Trams in Panama began with an electric tramway in Panama City in 1893 and remained in service, with interruptions, until 1941. Passenger rail transport in Panama dates back to the 1850s, when the first transisthmian railroad line across Panama was beginning to be built to supply an alternate route to California in search of gold and wealth. The Panama Railroad was operating between Colón and Panama City by 1855. An attempt to build a battery operated tram network in Colón in 1910 was not successful.
The Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway (BAGS) was one of the Big Four broad gauge, 5 ft 6 in, British-owned companies that built and operated railway networks in Argentina. The company was founded by Edward Lumb in 1862 and the first general manager was Edward Banfield after whom the Buenos Aires suburban station of Banfield was named, when it opened in 1873. After president Juan Perón nationalised the Argentine railway network in 1948 it became part of the state-owned company Ferrocarril General Roca.