Guatemala railroad
10 Images

Guatemala’s rough road

Guatemala railroad
A Ferrovias Guatemala train enters the yard on the outskirts of Guatemala City. The country once had one of the finest rail systems in the world. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
Engineer Jorge Victor Diaz Marroquin drives through the train yard outside Guatemala City, where another cargo car will be added before the train begins the 24-hour journey from the capital to the Atlantic Coast. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
A worker puts out a fire on the tracks en route to the coast. Bandits set fire to the railroad ties to loosen the metal of the tracks, which they sell for scrap. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
A Ferrovias Guatemala cargo train passes through slums on the outskirts of Guatemala City. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
Vendors set up shop on the tracks, where they don’t have to pay rent, and move out of harm’s way at the last moment. They know just how high they can stack their merchandise so the locomotive doesn’t flatten it. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
A market on the tracks outside Guatemala City. The railroad’s operations manager says municipal officials have ignored his pleas to honor the 50-foot right of way on both sides of the tracks. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
A shoe repair hut and worker traffic make the railroad unusable in Puerto San Jose, on the line to the Pacific Coast. Thousands of squatters build homes, businesses, even churches over the rail bed, determined to control a patch of turf in a nation where a small group of wealthy people own most of the land. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
A couple kiss next to the tracks in Puerto San Jose, on the now unusable line to the Pacific. The man who wants to salvage the railroad says the key to profitability is reviving trains to the Pacific, where the nation’s sugar growers export their cargo. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
People in Puerto San Jose often use the old tracks as a fishing spot. (Sarah Meghan Lee / For The Times)
Guatemala railroad
Henry Posner III, center, rides atop an old Ferrovias Guatemala steam engine as he leads a 2005 trip in the country. The Pittsburgh millionaire has made a career out of salvaging troubled railways in far-flung parts of the world. (Steve Adams / For The Times)
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