And then the kitchen blew up ...

I had been interested in the historic Lima to Huancayo train for some time, and can finally give a first-hand account of the journey. 

The Bullet, it is not – in 12½ hours it only covered 200 miles (364km)!! But it does go from sea level (just behind the Presidential Palace in central Lima) to 4,818m (14,694ft) at its highest point before finally reaching Huancayo at 3,254m (9,924ft), passing through the spectacular scenery of the Central Highway and Peru’s mining heartland in the process

The company operating the line, Ferrovias, had invested some half a million dollars in new rolling stock, but they might well be asking for their money back, as there were a number of design and construction flaws, to say the least:

  • the new carriages leaked
  • the air conditioning did not work
  • the windows were not designed to be opened
  • when the train braked suddenly, because of a rock on the line, all the drinks in the bar went everywhere
  • the PA system could only be heard intermittently and often competed with the piped music
  • the seats all faced the same direction, which is fine if you only go in one direction – unfortunately, this train changes direction after two hours, and so all the carriages had to be turned around as well, one by one! Actually watching this process close-up was fascinating, but it took over an hour, which was one factor in the two-hour delay to our arrival. 
  • The last hour of the journey was done in the pitch black, as the lights did not work
  • the train was too long for the platform at Huancayo, which involved clambering up about four feet from the trackside, with luggage
  • the grand finale was an explosion in the buffet car as we were walking out of the station! 

We loved it. 

There are train departures that usually leave Lima on a Friday and return from Huancayo on a Sunday, which depart roughly once a month.

Please get in touch for more information, if interested in experiencing one of South America's great train rides