COPPER CANYON HISTORY
History of Copper Canyon Mexico
The Chihuahua al Pacífico Railroad, known as ChP or Chepe, is a major rail line in northwest Mexico, linking the city of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, to the town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, near the Pacific coast. It runs 650 km (400 miles), passing through the Copper Canyon, a beautiful and rugged series of canyons that have led some to call this the most scenic railroad trip on the continent, both an important transportation system for locals and a draw for tourists. The Chepe train has been operating through the Copper Canyon since 1961, with a state of the art infrastructure created by Mexican engineering. The Chihuahua-Pacifico line covers nearly 410 miles of railroad with 37 spectacular bridges and 86 imposing tunnels.
The idea for the railroad was officially started in 1880, when the president of Mexico, General Manuel González, granted a rail concession to Albert Kinsey Owen of the Utopia Socialist Colony of New Harmony, Indiana, USA, who was seeking to develop a socialist colony. Financial difficulties, spurred by the cost of building a railroad through the rugged canyons, plagued the project, and it was not until 1961 that the ChP was completed. In 1998, the private rail franchise Ferromex Mexicano took over the railroad from the Mexican government, which had operated all railroads since 1940. Their goal was to offer a world-class service to all in-coming tourists. In one year they completely remodeled the passenger cars, which included mechanical and comfort features, accumulating an investment of $ 4.5 million dollars and $16.5 million dollars in infrastructure maintenance, increasing safety and security throughout the line. October 2005 in La Paz, Mexico, the Chepe train was awarded an international recognition–accreditation as one of the top ten most spectacular train trips in the world during the celebration of the “Tourism World Day”. The Mexican President Vicente Fox gave this acknowledgment to Ferrocarril Mexicano.