The thrilling experience of riding on the "Highest Train in the World" has been, bar a short period from July 1998 to June 1999, non-existent since 1991. All passenger traffic now goes by road until there is sufficient demand for the service to be restored. It is our aim to bring the train back to life, to the place and with the people to whom it belongs - those who travel the Central Highlands.
WHY WE WANT OUR TRAIN BACK...
During the journey, the train passes through many ecological floors. During the highest part of the trip the scenery is stark and bare, as well as strikingly pretty when the snowline falls below 5000m. As you can imagine, the huge vertical change in such a relatively short length of track makes this stretch of railway line one of the most exciting in the world for train enthusiasts, (and not to mention ordinary travelers)! The spectacular views during the ascent are beyond comparison.
The Lima to Huancayo railway is one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. This masterpiece was the project of over 10,000 Peruvians, Chileans, Chinese; a clever Polish engineer known as Malinowsky; and a crazy entrepreneur named Henry Meiggs whose passion convinced the Government to make this dream a reality. The railway line from Lima to Huancayo took nearly 40 years to complete. From 1870 to 1908, the railway witnessed blood, sweat and tears, as many people sacrificed their lives to give the Central Andes this special service.
The ruling grade of the Central Railway is about 4 ½ degrees. Along its length of 335 km, it traverses 66 tunnels, 59 bridges and 9 zigzags where the steep mountainside permits no other way of negotiating the course. The track’s highest point is at La Galera. At 4781m, it is the world’s highest train station on a standard gauge track. Railway buffs may like to know that the last Andes type 2-8-0 steam locomotive, No 206, is still in working order, although it is usually locked ange in such a relatively short length of track makes this stretch of railway line one of the most exciting in the world for train enthusiasts, (and not to mention ordinary travelers)! The spectacular views during the ascent are beyond comparison.
During its time, the train was the main source of income to the Central Highlands. It brought many
tourists into the area, and also many people to the famous Sunday Markets in Huancayo, generating further income. The train employed many local people and was a great source of pride and encouragement to the people of the Central Highlands.
In 1998, after much campaigning, our train did come to life once more, giving great enjoyment to many Andean travelers. However, due to the Peruvian Government’s notion of “privatization” our victory was short-lived. With bitter disappointment we watched the new owners turn our precious line from a passenger and cargo service to only a cargo service. Many people, from workers on the passenger train to those who maintained the line, lost their jobs. Families, and
then the local community began to suffer. Subsequent striking stopped the train service altogether.
HOW WE HOPE TO GET OUR TRAIN BACK
Incas del Peru formed the “Patronat of the Train” in 1998, with Lucho Hurtado residing as President in 2000. Our main goal is to re-instate the passenger train service to the Central Highlands, as a tourist and educational venture. In order to achieve our goal we have started an International campaign. Via email and the internet, we are hoping to discover many people who will pledge their support for the train. At a national level we are initiating press conferences, press releases, displays and petitions. We are hoping that with the dismantling of the Trans-Canadian Railway we will have the opportunity to retrieve the no longer needed train carriages for our cause.
HOW WE WILL MAINTAIN THIS SERVICE
Once the train has returned, Incas del Peru will endeavor to ensure that the train will remain a viable venture:
Our Current Ideas Include:
- To advertise the train through radio, newspapers and other publications, and to ensure that ticket purchases are available at all tourist and travel offices (in the past, this was only done at the train stations themselves).
- To encourage schools and universities to facilitate this educational opportunity, both historically and ecologically. The train ride will offer perfect views of the different ecological floors of the Andes.
- To transform the existing Huancayo Train Station into a lodging and tourism complex.
- To construct a Train Museum and Restaurant at the Train Station in Huancayo.
- To create an historic atmosphere - staff in historic dress, photos of the history, posters, postcards, videos, souvenirs etc for passengers to purchase.
- To also create a cultural atmosphere for tourists - Musicians entering the carriages at stations, stops along the route for photo opportunities of landscapes and local peoples - their crafts and animals i.e. alpacas / llamas etc.
- To provide meals and oxygen along the journey.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
As always, the more people who support a venture, the greater the notice the Government and the new administrators of the train will take. What do you think of our ideas so far? We value your input - your views, ideas, and concerns. This support, no matter how small, will benefit our campaign. For example, how much do you think we should charge per ticket for this 10-hour journey from Lima to Huancayo?
JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN
We also offer you the opportunity to join our Patronat. Membership is open to all interested people, of any background or age, with a donation of any amount to the cause. Even if you do not wish to become a member, please pledge your support by sending us an email with your thoughts and feelings. In your email, please ensure that you also include your age and country.
The people of the Central Highlands thank you for your support.