Rail Transport in Peru

Rail Transport in Peru

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.

Iperú is the Peruvian national tourist office

Many Peruvian railroad lines owe their origins to contracts granted to United States entrepreneurs Henry Meiggs and W. R. Grace and Company but the mountainous nature of Peru made expansion slow and much of the surviving mileage is of twentieth-century origin. It was also challenging to operate, especially in the age of the steam locomotive.

In the latter part of the 1880s, the
principal public railways, the Central and Southern, with others, passed to the control of the Peruvian Corporation, registered in London and controlled by Americans Michael and William R. Grace. In 1972 they were nationalized as Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles del Perú (ENAFER), but this survived as an operator only until 1999 when most surviving lines were privatized. Regular passenger traffic now operates over only a small proportion of the mileage.

The Tacna-Arica line crosses the boundary with Chile, but has been closed since 2012. This line has since reopened, running twice daily, once in the morning and once at 20:15. The
Southern Railway provides connection with Bolivia by ship across Lake Titicaca.

Principal Railway Lines in Peru

Ferrocarril Central Andino Lines

The Central Railway, Ferrocarril Central del Perú (FCC), incorporates the first railway in Peru opened on May 17, 1851 linking the Pacific port of Callao and the capital Lima (13.7 km (8.5 mi) of standard gauge). This was expanded to form the Callao, Lima & Oroya Railway, opened to Chicla by 1878, the original contractor being Henry Meiggs and engineer being Ernest Malinowski assisted by Edward Jan Habich. The line reached La Oroya by 1893 and Huancayo (346 km (215 mi)) in 1908. It is the second highest railway in the world (following opening of the Qingzang railway in Tibet), with the Galera summit tunnel under Mount Meiggs at 4,783 m (15,692 ft) and Galera station at 4,777 m (15,673 ft) above sea level, requiring constructional feats including many switchbacks and steel bridges.

Since 1999 it has been operated as the
Ferrocarril Central Andino (FCCA) (with its associated maintenance company Ferrovias Central Andina (FVCA)) by the Pittsburgh-registered Railroad Development Corporation. There is no regular passenger traffic but excursions are operated from the Lima Desamparados station. In April 1955 the Central Railway opened a spur line from La Cima on the Morococha branch (4,818 m (15,807 ft) above sea level) to Volcán Mine, reaching an (at the time) world record altitude of 4,830 m (15,850 ft). Both branch and spur have since closed to traffic.

Central is extended by the Ferrocarril Huancayo - Huancavelica which was authorised in 1904 (engineer: Charles Weber) but work was interrupted during the World War I and it was not opened throughout (148 km (92 mi) of 3 ft (914 mm) gauge) until 1926. Work was continued but never completed on extending the line to the Pacific coast. After a period under provincial government control it was agreed in June 2006 by the Peruvian government that FCCA should go ahead with converting the line to standard gauge (as had in fact been intended prior to 1919). Estimated to take 16 months, the US$33m project was to be funded jointly by the government and the Development Bank of Latin America.

Also connecting with the
Central, at La Oroya, is the Cerro de Pasco railway opened in standard gauge form in 1904 to serve ore mining in the Cerro de Pasco district. It was thoroughly North American in all its operations and, although primarily a mineral line, did run a passenger operation, latterly known as the “Flamingo” from the consist purchased from the Florida East Coast Railway. The owning company was nationalised as Centromín in 1974 and operation of the railway was taken over by FCCA. 80 km (50 mi) of 3 ft (914 mm) gauge was completed of a Tambo del Sol-Pachitea line intended eventually to extend to the head of Amazon navigation on the Ucayali River at Pucallpa; this aspiration was abandoned by the government in 1957.

INCA Rail Trains to Machu Picchu

INCA RAIL ensures a safe and memorable trip experience all its trains. High operational quality, service, and attention to every single detail guarantee the best option to travel by train to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. They have 3 service levels: presidential class train, first class train and executive class train.

The Southern Railway, Ferrocarriles del Sur del Perú (FCS), another Meiggs concession, was completed from Arequipa to Puno in 1876 and to the coast at Matarani. The railway also operated steamers (including the Yavari) and train ferries on Lake Titicaca connecting with Guaqui in Bolivia. Although work on the Juliaca–Cuzco section was begun in 1872 it was not completed through until 1908. The summit of this section is reached at La Raya (4,313 m (14,150 ft) above sea level). Since 1999 it has been operated by PeruRail, an affiliate of the Belmond Ltd. group. These tourist trains form one of the luxury passenger services tourists can use in Peru.

PeruRail Unique Travel Experiences and Trains to Machu Picchu

PeruRail, is a leading company in the tourism sector that creates “unique travelling experiences” through an assorted offer of train services towards two of the most representative destinations of Peru, such as: Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.

PeruRail services have top international quality standards in service, security and punctuality.
PeruRail is a company committed to Peru from its beginning, and has revolutionized and constantly gone for the high level tourism development, and has also promoted multiple projects involving the development of communities in influential areas.
PeruRail Products
Nuestros trenes | Our trains:

Belmond Andean Explorer and Belmond Hiram Bingham

Belmond Ltd. is a hotel and leisure company that operates luxury hotels, train services and river cruises around the world. In 2015, the company had 35 deluxe hotels, 7 tourist trains, 3 river cruises and restaurants in 22 countries. Belmond operates 2 luxury trains in Peru and 6 luxury hotels that link into Belmond luxury tour services in Peru.

Belmond Andean Explorer, South America’s first luxury sleeper service, offers a choice of one- or two-night journeys. From Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, traverse the highest plains of the Andes before arriving to the reflective beauty of Lake Titicaca. Take the opportunity to explore the vast Colca Canyon then continue towards the city centre of Arequipa, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A vibrant journey through a time-honored land of
Peru. Rekindle the romance of the rails as you carve a path between Peru’s natural wonders and ancient Andean kingdoms. South America's first luxury sleeper train glides from Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, across the lofty Andean plains to the white city of Arequipa. Take in the region’s spectacular highlights en route, including Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon.

Belmond Hiram Bingham travel to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu in unforgettable style.

Heading towards
Machu Picchu, your experience begins with a delicious welcome cocktail. Then savor a brunch and gourmet lunch as you admire the ever-changing scenery in the early light. The return journey can feel like a different world. See the Sacred Valley from a new perspective as the day draws to a close, and anticipate a true fine dining experience.

On both trips, dining includes non-premium beverages and a superb wine selection. You’ll also have the chance to dance to the beat of the Peruvian cajón and tambourines with traditional live music.

From Cuzco, the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge Ferrocarril Santa Ana (Ferrocarril Cuzco á Santa Ana) (engineer: Mauro Valderrama) was authorised in 1907, originally at 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge, but the first section was not opened until the early 1920s. It was extended to Aguas Calientes (113 km (70 mi)) in 1928, passing to government control in 1931. Although further extended in stages through to Quillabamba (reached in 1978), landslides (attributed to effects of El Niño) caused it to be abandoned beyond Hidroelectrica in 1998. It is now also operated by PeruRail and forms one of the means of access for visitors to Machu Picchu. At the beginning of 2010 it was cut by landslides and has since been repaired.

The isolated Ferrocarril Tacna á Arica was completed in 1856. Following the War of the Pacific it and the surrounding territory passed to Chile; after a settlement in 1929 the Tacna end of the line was returned to
Peru while the port of Arica remained in Chilean hands. The British concession for the line reverted to the Peruvian government during World War II. The line remained open for both passengers and freight for several decades, with a museum collection at Tacna station. The line closed in May 2012; in June 2014 the Peruvian government sought bids for redeveloping the line.

Other Railway Lines in Peru

The newest railway in Peru is a standard gauge line opened in 1959 by the Southern Peru Copper Corporation from its opencast mine at Toquepala to the port of Ilo (187 km or 116 mi) with a later branch largely in tunnel to its workings at Cuajone.

There were a number of other lines, all now closed, mostly for mineral or agricultural traffic, running inland from the coast north of
Lima and in Pisco Province. There were also lines serving nitrate deposits in the Tarapacá Region, ceded to Chile in 1883.

Some railway exhibits, including a working 500 mm (19 3⁄4 in) gauge pleasure line, are to be seen in the Parque de la Amistad in the Surco district of

Rail links with Other Countries
  • Bolivia Bolivia – shipping from 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) railhead in Puno to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) railhead in Guaqui across Lake Titicaca by train ferry.
  • Chile Chile – a semi-isolated 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) line connected Tacna, Peru to the port of Arica, Chile. As of July 2014, the line was closed.
  • Ecuador Ecuador – none.
Metro in Peru

Lima has a standard gauge metro service called Lima Metro or Tren Eléctrico. The line 1 is operating now with 21 km and 16 stations, the second stage of the first line is under construction, this line will reach up to 39 km in 2014. A fast bus system called metropolitano complements this system.

A light railway
Metro Wanka was partially constructed in the central Andean city of Huancayo but the project eventually failed.

Read also our other many web pages on Peruvian Rail Transport:

Railways of Peru

Luxury Rail in Peru
Belmond Hiram Bingham - Peru
Belmond Andean Explorer – Peru
Ferrocarril Central Andino
Central Railroad of Peru
Huancayo-Huancavelica Railway
‘’El Tren Macho’’
Tourist Train To Huancayo

Tourism in Peru
Republic of Peru
Lima - Peru
Cusco - Peru
Transport in Peru
Rail Transport in Peru
History of Railroads in Peru
Luxury Railways of Peru
Plan your trip to Peru
Peru Plan Your Trip
Requirements for Entering Peru
Travelling to Peru - Getting to Peru

Peru Rail
Machu Picchu - Peru
Aguas Calientes - Peru
Sacred Valley of the Incas - Peru
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Cusco - Peru
The Inca Empire
Hiram Bingham III

Inca Rail
Machu Picchu - Peru
Aguas Calientes - Peru
Sacred Valley of the Incas - Peru
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Cusco - Peru
The Inca Empire
Hiram Bingham III

Ferrocarril Central Andino
Tourist Train To Huancayo

Callao – Peru
Lima - Peru
Huancayo - Peru
Cerro de Pasco - Peru

Huancayo-Huancavelica Railway
‘’El Tren Macho’’

Huancayo – Peru
Metro de Huancayo

Cusco - Peru
Lake Titicaca - Peru
Puno - Peru
Juliaca - Peru
Arequipa - Peru
Matarani - Peru

Central Railroad of Peru

Belmond Company
Belmond Hiram Bingham - Peru

Belmond Andean Explorer – Peru
Peruvian Highlands
Andean Plains and Islands of Discovery

Spirit of Peru Luxury Rail Tours
Spirit of the Andes
Spirit of the Water

Trans-Andean Railways
Railroad Development Corporation
Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles 
del Perú (Enafer)

Central Railroad of Peru

Great South Pacific Express -
The Nazca Lines - Peru
Nazca Lines - Peru
Colca Canyon
Lake Titicaca - Peru
SS Ollanta - Peru


*Luxury Rail in Peru:
Belmond Luxury Travel in Peru
Belmond Company
Luxury Travel in Peru
Belmond Andean Explorer
Luxury Rail Peru
Belmond Hiram Bingham
Luxury Rail Peru
''Peruvian Highlands''
Belmond Andean Explorer
''Andean Plains and Islands of Discovery''
Belmond Andean Explorer
’'Spirit of Peru’’
Peru Luxury Rail Tours
Andean Explorer
‘’Spirit of the Andes’’
Belmond Andean Explorer
’'Spirit of the Water’’
Belmond Andean Explorer
Belmond Miraflores Park
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas
Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
Machu PicchuPeru
Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado
Sacred ValleyPeru
Belmond Hotel Las Casitas
Colca CanyonPeru

*Information on Peru:
Information on Peru Hotel Accomodation
Peru Hotel Reservations
Visit Peru Guide
Lima Hotel Reservations
Visit Lima Guide
Cusco Hotel Reservations
Visit Cusco Guide
Machu Picchu Hotel Reservations
Visit Machu Picchu Guide
Aguas Calientes Hotel Reservations
Visit Aguas Calientes Guide
Arequipa Hotel Reservations
Visit Arequipa Guide
Callao Hotel Reservations
Visit Callao Guide
Cerro de Pasco Hotel Reservations
Visit Cerro de Pasco  Guide
Colca Canyon Hotel Reservations
Visit Colca Canyon Guide
Huancayo Hotel Reservations
Visit Huancayo Guide
Inca Trail Hotel Reservations
Visit Inca Trail Guide
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Hotel Reservations
Visit Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Guide
Juliaca Hotel Reservations
Visit Juliaca Guide
Lake Titicaca Hotel Reservations
Visit Lake Titicaca Guide
Puno Hotel Reservations
Visit Puno Guide
Matarani Hotel Reservations
Visit Matarani Guide
Nazca Hotel Reservations
Visit Nazca Guide
Nazca Lines Hotel Reservations
Visit Nazca Lines Guide
Sacred Valley Hotel Reservations
Sacred Valley Trail Guide
Sacred Valley of the Incas Hotel Reservations
Visit Sacred Valley of the Incas Guide
Rail Holidays
Rail Vacations
Luxury Trains
Luxury Tours
International Trains
International Tours
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