Panama Canal Railway
The Panama Canal Railway (Spanish: Ferrocarril de Panamá) is a railway line linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in Central America. The route stretches 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Balboa (Pacific, near Panama City). Because of the difficult physical conditions of the route and state of technology, the construction was renowned as an international engineering achievement, one that cost $8 million and the lives of an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 workers. Opened in 1855, the railway preceded the Panama Canal by half a century; the ship canal was later constructed parallel to the railway.
Known as the Panama Railroad Company when founded in the 19th century, today it is operated as Panama Canal Railway Company (reporting mark: PCRC). Since 1998 it has been jointly owned by Kansas City Southern and Mi-Jack Products and leased to the government of Panama. The Panama Canal Railway currently provides both freight and passenger service.
As of 2018, two passenger services are offered every Monday to Friday. The Corozal (Panama City)–Colón train leaves at 7:15 a.m., and the return train leaves at 5:15 p.m., with a traveling time of one hour.
While the main purpose of the train is as a commuter rail for those living in Panama City and working in Colon, it has also become a popular tourist excursion. It travels the historic route across the country between coastal cities and passes through the lush jungle and along Lake Gatun, which makes up a substantial section of the canal network. As it was used during the construction of the canal, it runs parallel and offers views of the canal. The rail cars are classic in nature, with first-class amenities, bar service, and second-level viewing areas and outdoor viewing. It offers a variety of ticket options, from monthly reserved seats to one-way purchases.