The Panama Canal Railway – Yet Another Panama Surprise
The Panama Canal Railway – Yet Another Panama SurprisePublished by Panama Simple, June 18, 2013 | By Dennis SmithIf you like traveling by train, the Panama Canal Railway is a unique day trip offered nowhere else inthe world. The line was built by the U.S. in order to transport miners to the California gold mines andwas completed in 1855 – making it the world’s first transcontinental railway. Passengers aretransported 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across Panama from the Balboa area on the Pacific to Colon on theAtlantic.The Wall Street Journal describes the rail experience this way. “A single daily trip in each direction onfive restored wood-paneled coaches and a remodeled 1930s Dome Car purchased from America’sSouthern Pacific line. The 7:15 a.m. departure is timed to accommodate workers commuting betweenPanama City and Colón, home to Panama’s lucrative [Colon] free-trade zone. The return train departspromptly 10 hours later.
The ride itself, though just over an hour, is almost cinematic in its breadth and beauty, and forms anadventure-like alternative to conventional boat tours of the canal. Pulling out of Corozal station, thetrain quickly leaves the [Panama City] capital behind and enters the Canal Zone, where it hugs thecanal en route to Colon. Crested by rain-forest-covered hills, the landscape pairs verdant jungle withthe massive apparatuses that power the canal’s intricate operations. At the Miraflores and PedroMiguel locks, the train chugs past leviathan-like vessels being raised from or lowered toward thePacific as still-sleepy passengers revive with freshly brewed coffee.Further on, the train glides through the Culebra Cut, a major waterway linking the Pacific OceantoGatun Lake, the 430-square-kilometer artificial lake that dominates the Canal Zone. Crossed via a
slender causeway, the lake is a surprisingly pristine ecological wonder despite its man-made origins.Dotted with forest-rich islands, it is a favorite spot for tropical-bird-watchers and anglers. Beforereaching Cristóbal port in Colón, the train passes the three-chamber Gatun Locks.”The railway was turned over to the government of Panama in 1977 as a result of the terms of theCarter-Torrijos Reversion Treaty. It was then ignored so service stopped and the rails grew coveredwith weeds and rusted. In a 1998 privatization initiative, the government of Panama turned overcontrol of the tracks to the Panama Canal Railway Company, a joint venture between the Kansas CitySouthern Railroad and Lanigan Holdings, LLC. In 2001, the railroad received a rebirth and wasreopened after a major railway upgrade. The famous railroad has been running successfully eversince.
If you want to follow history, the Panama Canal Railway Company offers daily service (Mon–Fri).Business commuters can purchase a monthly pass that provides them with an assigned, reserved seatin one of the line’s executive-service cars. Walk-up passengers do not need to make reservations inadvance. Tickets are sold at the passenger stations before departure or at the railroad’s offices. Forgroups larger than 10, it is recommended that you contact the marketing department ahead of time.Rates are $25 one way for adults, $15 for children ages 2 -12 and $17.50 for seniors and retirees.Things to do in Panama
This post was written byDennis Smith – who has written 73 posts on .Dennis Smith earns his living as a copywriter, online content creator & manager, writing businessplans for small businesses and editing whatever is necessary. Dennis is also a certified InboundMarketer. He lives in Panama where he acts as a consultant for foreign businesses that want to enterthe country.Email