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Perurail train at La Raya
Perurail train at La Raya, the highest point of the journey from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca.
The locomotive is an EMD GT26CW-2 Co-Co diesel electric of 3300hp.

The first railway in Peru opened in 1851 between Lima and Callao, a distance of 14 km. It was built to standard (1435mm) gauge. Subsequent railway expansion was fragmented owing to the mountainous nature of the terrain, with a variety of lines being built to a variety of gauges.

Like most South American railways, those in Peru languished in the latter part of the 20th century, but portions have been revitalized as important tourist routes. The Southern network serves the renowned Inca city of Machupicchu, and also connects at Lake Titicaca for ferries to neighbouring Bolivia. The Central network includes the line from Lima to La Oroya and Huancayo, together with the former mining company line to Cerro de Pasco. A former 3ft (914mm) gauge line from Huancayo to Huancavalica was converted to standard gauge in 2008 and incorporated in the Central network. The section between Lima and La Oroya includes what was for many years the highest standard gauge railway summit in the world, until exceeded by a new line in Tibet. However, the Peru Central Railway remains one of the world’s most spectacular railways, with its steep grades and switchbacks.

In 2019, the tendering process began for a new 323km standard gauge railway between Lima and Ica.

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Photo image from flickr by Brian Snelson
Flag image from CIA World Factbook