This study deals with the planning, construction, and early operation of the railroad network of these two Central American nations. The network was unique in Central America because the majority of it was eventually taken over, completed, and operated by International Railways of Central America, a subsidiary of an American concern, the United Fruit company. This book explains in considerable detail how all of this occurred, from the first few miles of track to the completion of the final international network link. Based on a mix of primary and secondary sources, published and unpublished, the narrative notes how progressive thinkers saw railroads as a way to improve the economies of the nations involved.
Transportation problems and an early railway proposal; William Nanne and the Guatemala Central Railroad; beginning the Northern Railway; progress on the Northern Railway; completing the Interoceanic Railroad of Guatemala; the Occidental Railway; the Ocos Railway; the Iztapa branch; the Salvador Railway; two port railway projects; origin and proposed route of the Pan American Railway; from Retalhuleu to Santa Maria Junction; the Coatepeque-Caballo Blanco and Pan American links; to the frontier of El Salvador; the Pan American Railway in El Salvador; the end of the line; secondary railways, industrial lines and tramways; a perspective.