100 YEARS

100-mascara
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CONSTRUCTION

The construction required about seven years of hard work in extreme conditions. The altitude, the highlands, the rugged soil, the isolation, the intense cold at night and hot during the day, combined with the complicated life conditions of the camps far from the city, meant the death of several workers.

Many men were required, most of them arriving from the south. The study and the route that the government had originally commissioned to the engineer Josiah Harding served as the basis to start with the construction. In a short term, it was noted that it was not feasible due to the rugged geography. The task to redesign the project was entrusted to the Chilean engineers Benjamin Vivanco, Alejandro Guzmán and Manuel Ossa. They shortened the route and the time for works execution.

The works began officially in 1906 with the first open call for a public proposal.

Among four applications, the construction of this complex piece of engineering was awarded to the Sindicato de Obras Públicas (Union of Public Works), worth 2.152 million British pounds.

The Union completed the installation of near to 31.7 km of track during the first year; advancing through the Valley of Lluta River, however they had to end the contract due to a series of difficulties.

Finally, after other offer that did not advance, the construction was awarded to the company “Sir John Jackson Limited”, in charge of Mr. Mateo Clark, who had recently finished in Argentina a train that crossed the Andes through Juncal. While the company that would build the FCALP was being defined, the construction advanced under the responsibility of Benjamín Vivanco and the contractor Mr. Manuel Ossa. During that period the work reached 96.7 km, almost 8 km beyond Pampa Ossa station in the Valley of River LLuta.

After awarding the proposal, the construction advanced, without significant inconvenience until 1911, by the steep of the Quiroz ravine, making cuts, building masonry dry stone walls, tunnels, cliffs, bridges and water transport systems.

Earlier that year, a big flood of the Lluta River – due to the intense highland rains- destroyed much of what was already built. The situation forced to start reparations and new works.

In 1909, the works had began in Bolivia from the Viacha station – near La Paz- to Charaña in the frontier with Chile, crossing the highland to reach what would be the last Bolivian station.

After repairing the destruction caused by the flood of Lluta River, on May 13 of 1913, the railway was officially opened in a ceremony that took place in Arica.

On May 13 of 1928, accomplishing what was stated in the third article of the 1904 treaty, Chile assigned the property of the Bolivian area to its neighbor country. Now, both areas had autonomous administrations.

The section from Charaña to Alto de La Paz began its full operation that year, when the section from Viacha to Alto de La Paz was completed.

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