Sunday, August 24, 2008

El Ferrocarril al Chihuahua

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

My expectation was that the train trip to and through the Copper Canyon would be one of the highlights of our trip to Mexico and I was not disappointed, The rails took 90 years to complete. The idea if a railroad from Chihuahua was conceived in 1872 to promote trade from Asia and South America to the interior of Mexico and from there, to the interior of the United States. A lot of things delayed construction, including the Mexican revolution, but in 1961 construction was finally completed across the Sierra.

There are 37 principal bridges and 87 tunnels needed to travel the 406 miles between Chihuahua and Los Mochis. From sea level to a height of 8000 feet, the train snakes its way up and down steep grades. As there is not much to see from Los Mochis to El Fuerte, the travel company starts our train boarding at El Fuerte. This is not a small locomotive or on narrow gauge tracks. The train has a diner car, a bar car, and a car set aside for federal type lawmen with Uzis, who get off at each stop looking for anything suspicious. Chihuahua drug lords continue to fight for turf and keep making statements of their power, chiefly by trying to kill each other. These types of armed personnel are also visible outside banks so the Mexican bandidos apparently have not faded into history just yet.

As I have mentioned before, it is the rainy season. Therefore, the mountains are green and numerous waterfalls can be seen along the way. Our destination, is San Rafael, a small village stop where we will spend two nights high up in the mountains.

I took many good photos and the challenge of this post is to select the best.

A waterfall bridge over the tracks.
I took these photos while standing between the cars and hanging out the open areas.

As great as this scenery was, the next post will show some really great vistas.


GETkristiLOVE said...

Wow - green, green, green!

Dad E said...

In the winter everything is brown, brown, brown.