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Panama Railroad

The date of the annual Panama Canal Society Reunion in Orlando is fast-approaching and in anticipation we will be featuring images related to the Panama Railroad between now and July 3rd, commemorating the 160th anniversary of the Panama Railroad (1855-2015).

As always, we welcome your input on people, places, dates, events, and other information related to the featured images. Perhaps more importantly, however, we would love to hear about your own stories and family histories that intersect with any aspect of the Panama Railroad–from details about an ancestor who helped to lay the original track to your own recollections of your experiences on a memorable excursion.

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If you are planning to attend the reunion, please drop by the museum room and visit our table to say hello.

We will have a display of photographs related to the Panama Railroad Company, plus an ongoing slideshow featuring lots of P.R.R. items from different UF collections. The popular town site maps will also be on display again this year.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone soon, and to reading your comments related to the railroad!

Celebrating 160 Years of the Panama Railroad (1855-2015)

One Comment

  • Robert Dillon

    The Panama Railroad is not 160 years old. In fact, it does not exist anymore. The Panama Railroad went out of business within 2 or 3 years after October 1st, 1979, when it was given to the Panamanian Dictatorship (along with the Canal and the Canal Zone). Corruption, neglect, and incompetence led to its rapid demise and cessation or all its services. At the end, trains would regularly run out of petrol, derail, and were considered unsafe for use. This led to directives from the U.S. military and the Panama Canal Commission to no longer use the railroad. Travel and cargo that formerly traversed the isthmus by rail, was instead transported by jitney or truck. After a period of approximately 20 years of being out-of-business, a new railroad was constructed along the path of the old railroad. Certainly, the new railroad does not get credit for 160 years when it has barely been in existence for 15 years.

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