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 been abandoned in the late 20th century.
Rail transport is a means of transferring of passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, also known as tracks. It is also commonly referred to as train transport. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles run on a prepared flat surface, rail vehicles are directionally guided by the tracks on which they run. Tracks usually consist of steel rails, installed on ties (sleepers) and ballast, on which the rolling stock, usually fitted with metal wheels, moves. Other variations are also possible, such as slab track, where the rails are fastened to a concrete foundation resting on a prepared subsurface.
Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.
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.
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 Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal. Like many isthmuses, it is a location of great strategic value.
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
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).
Railways with a railway track gauge of 5 ft were first constructed in the United Kingdom and the United States. This gauge is also commonly called Russian gauge because this gauge was later chosen as the common track gauge for the Russian Empire and its neighbouring countries. The gauge was redefined by Soviet Railways to be 1,520 mm.
Colón is a city and sea port in Panama, beside the Caribbean Sea, lying near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. It is the capital of Panama's Colón Province and has traditionally been known as Panama's second city. Originally it was located entirely on Manzanillo Island, surrounded by Limon Bay, Manzanillo Bay and the Folks River; however, since the disestablishment of the Panama Canal Zone, the city's limits have been redefined to include Fort Gulick, a former U.S. Army base, as well the former Canal Zone towns of Cristobal, Margarita and Coco Solo.
Balboa is a district of Panama City, located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.
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.
Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama. It has an urban population of 880,691, with over 1.5 million in its metropolitan area. The city is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of Panama. The city is the political and administrative center of the country, as well as a hub for banking and commerce.
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)
Antón is a corregimiento in Antón District, Coclé Province, Panama. It is located near the north-western shore of the Gulf of Panama. It is the seat of Antón District. It has a land area of 106.3 square kilometres (41.0 sq mi) and had a population of 9,790 as of 2010, giving it a population density of 92.1 inhabitants per square kilometre (239/sq mi). Its population as of 1990 was 7,220; its population as of 2000 was 8,360.
Coclé is a province of central Panama on the nation's southern coast. The sub-capital is the city of Penonomé. This province was created by the Act of September 12, 1855 with the title of Department of Coclé during the presidency of Dr. Justo de Arosemena. It became a province, Decretory Number 190, on October 20, 1985. Coclé is primarily an agricultural area, with sugar and tomatoes as major crops. The province has a number of well-known beaches, such as Santa Clara, Farallon and Rio Hato, and tourist activity has increased in recent years. It has a population of 233,708 (2010).
Los Santos is a province of Panama, reaching from the La Villa river in the North to the Pacific Ocean in the south and east. It is part of Azuero Peninsula, bounded by province of Herrera to the north and northeast and Mariato district in Veraguas to the West. The City of Las Tablas is the capital and most populous city; seven other districts of Los Santos, Guararé, Las Tablas, Macaracas, Pedasi, Pocrí and Tonosí are under the jurisdiction of Los Santos Province Governorate. Los Santos' area is 3 809.4 km ², and its population is about 89,592 inhabitants.
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.
The FERISTSA railway was proposed to connect Panama with Mexico, and then link up with other railways to the United States and Canada,but as at 2010 appears to have been abandoned.
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 on June 2017. A design is planned to be ready in the second half of 2018.
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El Salvador has transport links by road, rail, sea and air.
A transcontinental railroad is a contiguous network of 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.
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.
FERISTSA was the name of a proposed 1,600-mile (2,600 km) US$3 billion privately owned commercial railroad going from the Panama Canal Railway Company through the entire length of Central America, linking with Mexico's rail system at the Guatemala border, and thus to Belize, the United States, and Canada.
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.
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.
Although Guatemala still has a network of 3 ft narrow gauge railroads, no passenger or freight trains currently run, except for occasional chartered tourist trains.
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:
At present (2015), no trains are operated in El Salvador. The national railroad corporation is FENADESAL, a division of CEPA. It oversees 554.8 km of all disused 3 ft narrow gauge lines connecting major cities and formerly linked with Guatemala railroads at Anguiatú.
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.
The history of rail transport in Nicaragua began in 1860s, with the first plans for a railroad in Nicaragua. The first line was opened in 1882. In the past, there were 3 ft 6 in gauge railroads on the Pacific coast, connecting major cities. A private 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in gauge line operated on the Atlantic coast.
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. None of the operating railways crosses 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 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.