Historic Prints

Panama Railroad Map

Wikipedia writes: The railroad became one of the most profitable in the world, charging up to $25 per passenger to travel over 47 miles (76 km) of hard-laid track. Upon completion, the railway was proclaimed an engineering marvel of the era. Until the opening of the Panama Canal, it carried the heaviest volume of freight per unit length of any railroad in the world. The existence of the railway was one of the keys to the selection of Panama as the site of the canal.

In 1881 the French Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interocéanique purchased controlling interest in the Panama Railway Company. In 1904, the US government under Theodore Roosevelt purchased the railway from the French canal company. At the time, railway assets included some 75 miles (121 km) of track, 35 locomotives, 30 passenger cars, and 900 freight cars. Much of this equipment was worn out or obsolete and had to be scrapped.

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