Train station El Rancho, located 61 miles from Guatemala City and 136 miles from Puerto Barrios, is an important point on the line. Mountains end and a flat landscape, going all the way to the Atlantic, starts here. Trains switch engines (in other words, using the Ferrovías Guatemala traffic control terminology, they detach cars, which are taken by another engine from the opposite side). Chartered tourist trains also usually operate only between El Rancho and Guatemala City - the length is ideal for a day trip with photo stops and there are more curiosities here than on the rest of the line to Puerto Barrios.
The only "railroader" employed at the station is a security guard with a machine gun, who overlooks detached cars and ocassionally helps (e.g. passes orders from train dispatcher). Switching is performed by train crews.
Our engine 901, prepared to leave back to Guatemala City, can be seen on the left.
El Rancho, 2004.09.03
© Jan Peula, 2004