All aboard one of the most famous trains on Earth.
The journey from Lima to Huancayo has been called "The Highest Train in the World." It serpentines from the capital city at 100 meters (328 ft) above sea level, along the RÃo RÃmac, into the Andes. At San BartolomÃ©, the locomotive is reversed on a turnstile. The train then zigzags higher into the sierra, crossing over the Infiernillo Bridge, the highest in the world at 3,300 meters (10,827 ft) altitude, across barren puna to the 1,176.85-meter (3861â€“ft)-long Ticlio Tunnel, which in its middle is 4,784 meters (15,696 ft), the highest point of this railroad line.
The train then arrives at Galera, the highest passenger train station in the world at 4,781 meters (15,881 ft). Descending, the desolate mining town of La Oroya (3,726 m/12,224 ft) is reached, from which a branch line runs northward to the Cerro de Pasco mines. Down along the RÃo Mantaro, across a broad fertile valley to your final destination, Huancayo (3,261 m/10,699 ft a.s.l.). By the end of this 336-kilometer (209-mi) journey, you will have traversed 69 tunnels, 58 bridges, six zigzags and six climatic zones.
The Lima-Huancayo line was built from 1870 to 1908 by United States citizen Henry Meiggs, based on a design used in the Himalayans of India. In its time, it was an engineering marvel. From 1992 to 1995, passenger service was suspended due to terrorist activity. This journey was featured in the BBCâ€™s Great Rail Journeys of the World series and Paul Therouxâ€™ The Old Patagonian Express.
There are two classes you can chose from. The clÃ¡sico has 68-passenger cars of 1950s British and 1980s Romanian vintage. Between the straight-back bench seats is a table. You can open the windows to let the train-made breeze whip your hair. In turÃstico class, the new 48-passenger, mahogany-paneled cars have reclinable seats, air conditioning, heating and panoramic windows affording a captivating view of the sky-scraping mountains and plunging valleys. In the bar car, turÃstico class passengers receive a complimentary pisco sour. However, V!VA recommends you bring snacks and some extra water to make your trip a bit more comfortable.
A nurse can provide oxygen and coca tea is available if you begin to develop soroche (high-altitude sickness). Ferrocarril Andino Central also offers round-trip packages with hotel reservations. So, a-a-all abo-o-oard!
In Lima, the train departs from EstaciÃ³n de Desamparados (behind the Palacio de Gobierno) at 7 a.m., but be there by 6:30 with ticket in hand. The train arrives in Huancayo between 7 and 8 p.m. In Huancayo, the train departs at 7 p.m. from EstaciÃ³n Central on Av. Ferrocarril between Pichis and Calixto. Prices range from $20-60 for kids and $32-84 for adults, depending on age and ticket class. There are only one or two departures most months, except for December.
(Main Office) Avenida JosÃ© GÃ¡lvez Barrenechea 566, 5th floor, San Isidro, Lima
In Lima, the train departs from EstaciÃ³n de Desamparados (behind the Palacio de Gobierno).
In Huancayo, it departs from the EstaciÃ³n Central, on Avenida Ferrocarril between Pichis and Calixto.
From Lima, one or two departures per month, usually on a Friday at 7 a.m.
From Huancayo, one to three departures per month, usually on Sunday; the day train leaves at 7 a.m. and the night at 6 p.m.
The journey lasts 11-12 hours.
For complete schedule information, visit Ferrocarril Central Andinoâ€™s website.
One-way, Tren ClÃ¡sico: 60 soles / $20 (children 3-6 years old), 90 soles / $30 (children 7-12 years old), 100 soles /$33 (adults); Tren TurÃstico: 100 soles / $33 (children 3-6 years old), 130 soles / $43 (children 7-12 years old), 160 soles / $53 (adults).
Round-trip, Tren ClÃ¡sico: 100 soles / $33 (children 3-6 years old), 130 soles /$43 (children 7-12 years old), 165 soles / $55 (adults); Tren TurÃstico: 160 soles / $53 (children 3-6 years old), 190 soles / $63 (children 7-12 years old), 260 soles / $87 (adults).
Ferrocarril Central Andino also has packages that include hotel reservation.ï¿½ Check its website for further information.
Relative price: High End
Travel Skills: intermediate/somewhat difficult.
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