Friday, October 21, 2011

A Forgotten Train Station

In the mid 1850s Puerto Eten was a bustling fishing and shipping port, supplying goods and food products including fish and sugar cane to much of the Lambayeque Region. The demand for transportation to towns in the region was such that in 1867 it was decided to locate a major train station in the town for the transport of products and people.

By 1875 the station was the hub of a far reaching network to a host of towns including Pimentel, Chiclayo, Lambayeque and ZaƱa. Puerto Eten retained its position of prominence into the 1920s at which time for a variety of reasons it began to decline into the all but forgotten village it is today.

Behind the village’s municipal buildings is what remains of the once-grand train station complex that stopped operating in 1968. The rusting remains of six engines occupy one of seven buildings still standing. Their boilers have been stripped of many parts but beyond that they appear pretty much as if they had been parked in anticipation of returning to service.

A machine shop looks as if it too is waiting to be put back in action. The manufacturer information is still visible on many of the machines. All of the machinery is from several manufactures in Manchester and other cities in England, and all are date stamped 1870.

These passenger cars have been patiently waiting for more than forty years to once again hear…”All aboard!” That’s not going to happen, nor will the engines ever again have their boilers fired, but there is hope that they will no longer continue to sit neglected and unnoticed. Puerto Eten has a plan to turn the entire complex into a tourist attraction with the help of foreign investors. We hope those plans are realized…these grand old trains and the town deserve a better fate.


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