A whistle blows, and a conductor shouts the Spanish equivalent of “All aboard.” The diesel engines rev up, people relax in their seats, and off they go on one of the most famous and spectacular rail trips in the Western Hemisphere—the Copper Canyon train trip.
Officially called the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, the rail line runs
406 miles from Los Mochis, on the Gulf of California, to the inland City
of Chihuahua. Enroute, the train passes through the incredibly scenic
area of rugged mountains and deep canyons in Northern Mexico's Sierra
The rail line was first conceived in 1872 as the Kansas City Topolobampo
Railroad by an American entrepreneur named Albert Kinsey Owen. By building
a railroad from Kansas City across Mexico to the Pacific Coast, he could
shorten the distance of the existing route by half, saving over 400 miles.
Agricultural products from the interior of the United States could be
transported over this shorter route to Topolobampo Bay, a natural seaport,
and then carried on by ship to the Orient and western South America.
Construction of the railroad began in 1885. The project faced numerous
difficulties, including lack of funds, poor management, some of the most
rugged country in North America, the Mexican Revolution, and the building
of the Panama Canal.
The rail line was finally completed in November of 1961, almost 90 years
from its conception. The trains never did make it all the way to Kansas,
but by this time improvements in U.S. domestic transportation had eliminated
the need. It did, however, open up one of the most remote areas of Mexico
and is still the only method of reliable transportation through the western
In order to complete the route, 86 tunnels and 37 bridges were constructed,
totaling almost eleven miles of tunnels and 2¼ miles of bridges.
The train climbs 8000 feet, plunges into a series of canyons and clings
to sheer rock walls. At one point along the route it makes a 360 degree
loop. At another point it enters a tunnel, makes a 180 degree turn, and
exits the tunnel with the canyon now on the opposite side of the train.
The views made possible by this masterful engineering feat, considered
to be one of the most outstanding achievements of railway engineering
in the world, are truly spectacular.
Pack your bags and join us on this remarkable journey. Along with experiencing
this spectacular train ride, you will meet the people who make this area
of Northern Mexico their home, including the cave-dwelling Tarahumara
Indians, who have managed to preserve their traditional life-style despite
the encroachment of Spain, Mexico, and the coming of the railroad.
Click Here for information on our Copper Canyon Tours.