1996 - Abandonment


1996 - Abandonment (cont.)


1997 - Accelerated Deterioration


(click on photo to enlarge)

In 1996, the railway was abandoned, and in fact, the only service in Guatemala was this private sector light rail service, which actually helped preserve the infrastructure as there was a problem with rails being stolen from the mainline.


mainline with squatters during the abandoned years
(click on photo to enlarge)

This is how the mainline looked when the railway was abandoned. Squatters had to be relocated from the right-of-way.


Bridge at Villa Canales
(click on photo to enlarge)

In the three years that the railway stood abandoned, there was no maintenance done.  As a result, when it rained, many of the bridges were washed away.


1998 - Rehabilitation Begins


1998 - Rehabilitation (cont.)


1998 - Hurricane Mitch


track work
(click on photo to enlarge)

In 1998, rehabilitation was underway on the railway. This is not a TGV. This is a low technology labor-intensive solution based on the railway's ability to survive. We are very proud to say that we provided hundreds of manual labor jobs putting this railway back into operation. Please note that there are no concrete ties nor electrification.


bridge work
(click on photo to enlarge)

This bridge was rebuilt using 50 manual laborers and the highest technology was a cement mixer. The cost of the entire project - 200 miles of a national railway system, track, rolling stock, etc. - under US$10 million. Why? Well, a railway with no revenue cannot justify an investment much higher than that.


Zacapa Bridge after Hurricane Mitch
(click on photo to enlarge)

In the middle of rehabilitation Hurricane Mitch struck in 1998. This is one of the mainline bridges after Hurricane Mitch.


1999 - More Storms


1999 - Creative Engineering


1999 - Commercial Operation Restored


Washout after storms
(click on photo to enlarge)

Nonetheless, in 1999, despite more storms that severed our mainline again...


Zacapa bridge being put back into place after Hurricane Mitch
(click on photo to enlarge)

...after some creative engineering that included dragging the bridge (pictured above on its side) back into position using a bulldozer and a front-end loader (Truly a low technology approach!)... 


April 15, 1999 - 1st train arrives in new freight terminal in Guatemala City from El Chile with short-haul cement movement
(click on photo to enlarge)

...the railway was opened for commercial traffic.


2000 - Moving Traffic


"This railway project in Guatemala is a project that I take great personal satisfaction from being associated with because it is a combination of both economics and values.

"I would like to say that there is a message here...for these types of deals, it has to be more than a business -- it has to be a cause -- a cause that must be committed to with sufficient resources to see it through. In the case of Guatemala we did not renegotiate the concession. We rebuilt this railroad as we promised the government. It was late because Hurricane Mitch was not in the business plan. But we did it, not only because it is a good business, but also because we are committed to the business."


moving containers and steel
(click on photo to enlarge)

Now in the year 2000 we are moving containers, steel and other products.




-- Henry Posner III
Ferrovias Guatemala




2000-2004 Railroad Development Corporation
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