End of the line for Nicaragua’s rail system

End of the line for Nicaragua's rail system

This train is at the end of the line in Granada’s station. The few metres of track under it are all that remain of the country’s rail system.

The very fine building that is still called Granada’s train station is now home to a technical school. The path of the track running from the station  is  easy  to identify. It is now settled on both sides with dozens of shacks and their residents.

At one time, Nicaragua was crisscrossed by hundreds of kilometres of rail track. The first track, between Granada and Managua, came into operation in the 1870s.

It’s hard to believe that rail travel could not be self sustaining in this of all countries. Travelling by train made sense in a country with a tricky terrain and poor road infrastructure.

A series of natural disasters didn’t help. They included the Managua earthquake of 1972 and flooding from hurricanes in the early 1990s.

Bizarrely, president Violetta Chamorro killed off what was left of the train system on December 31st 1993 when she ordered its closure and demolition. Remaining stock was sold to Bolivia and the track was pulled up and sold for scrap.

In 2001, the last remaining 6km of track from Chichigalpa to Ing San Antonio was closed.

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