No. 59.
Mr. Partridge to Mr. Fish.

No. 175.]

Sir: The Brazilian government is constant in its efforts to promote the construction of railways into the interior, and lately several decrees have [Page 91] been published guaranteeing 7 per cent, (net) dividend for a term of years to the stockholders of various companies about to undertake these enterprises from various points along the coast into the agricultural regions of the interior, from which the produce still comes by the slow, expensive, and insufficient means of carriage on the backs of mules.

With these government guarantees it has not been, hitherto, difficult to find, in England, the capital and to organize the companies, which have already, upon similar grants, constructed railways from Santos, (St. Paul,) Pernambuco, and other points.

Efforts have been made also to induce this government to issue bonds, or guarantee interest on new bonds of the Madeira and Marmoré Railway Company, (Bolivian Navigation Company,) but there has been no disposition hitherto here to assist (financially) the enterprise.

In this connection it may be interesting to the Department to know that the Trans-Andine Railway, from ports of Peru to the head of navigation on the southern affluents of the Amazons, is steadily progressing, and will, in all probability, shortly be consummated, through the energy of Mr. Henry Meiggs, an American citizen, who builds it under contract with Peru.

Annexed is a (clipping from an Argentine newspaper) letter from Pará, which gives some account of this work. It states the whole distance from the port of Callao, on the west coast, to the head of navigation (down the Peruvian affluents) at Oroya, within the Brazilian frontier, to be only one hundred and sixty-seven miles, (which must be a mistake, perhaps “leagues” is meant,) passing, in that short distance, the great Cordillera of the Andes through a tunnel at the height of 15,000 feet above the sea.

In this connection, also, it may be stated that the Amazons Navigation Company, having (virtually) a monopoly under a grant to Baron Maná, and by him transferred to an English company, have lately much improved their steamers, engaged in the navigation from Para up the river, both in speed and accommodation. Several new iron steamers of very light draught, with well-ventilated cabins, &c., on the American (western) model, have been built in Wilmington, Del., and sent out for that company.

Even when the Trans-Andine Railway shall be completed to Oroya, and the navigation service of the upper affluents be organized, it will be, probably, for some time a question whether freight will be cheaper to Peru by that route than as at present by the steamers of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, which run from Liverpool to Callao in forty days, touching at Lisbon, Pernambuco, Rio, Montevideo, thence through the Straits of Magellan to Valparaiso and Callao.

I am, &c.,


Important from the Amazons.—Railway from Peru to Brazil.

(From the Buenos Ayres Standard.)

The Trans-Andine railway from Peru to the Amazons progresses rapidly, and will soon connect the Brazilian frontier with the west coast. It starts from the port of Callao, and after 30 miles begins to ascend the mountains, passing several ruins of cities of the Incas. At San Bartolome, 45 miles from Callao, the line attains an elevation [Page 92] of 5,000 feet. The viaduct of Varrujas passes through the grandest mountain scenery till reaching Lurco, after which it leaps the defile of Challapa by a bridge 160 feet high and 224 feet span.

Between Tambo Viso and Chicla the railway picks its way through awful precipices where it would seem impossible to bring a locomotive, there being 30 bridges and viaducts in this section, and 35 tunnels, the longest 1,290 yards in length the curves in some places are in the form of a V, and when we reach the awful chasm of Chacahuare you hear the roar of the water-fall at a great depth below. Next comes the Infernillo defile, where the Rimac is a stream of 130 feet wide, falling over a cascade of 170 feet. This is passed by a tunnel to the edge of the cliff, then a bridge 200 feet in height, after which the train enters another tunnel, till again reappearing to the light of day, and still steadily ascending. The Rio Blanco defile being passed the line is carried over a viaduct 330 feet long and 250 high, again across the Rimac, and we reach Chicla. All this country is so rich in minerals that the railway is sure to revive the abandoned mines of the last century.

From Chicla to Summit Tunnel the ascent is easy, although there is an incline of 1 in 25, which is surmounted by 6 bends, the last at the Chinchan defile, being 5 miles long, and the scenery here of the wildest and most savage aspect. The brightness of the snow is distressing to the eyes. The air is so rarefied at this height that you breathe with difficulty, and at last, at Antarangra, we enter Summit Tunnel, 15,000 feet over the sea, and 106 miles distant from Callao. This is nearly 3 times as high as the greatest elevation of the American and San Francisco railway over the Rocky Mountains, (6,000 feet.)

The descent on the Brazilian side is easy, till reaching the little village of Oroya, which gives its name to this wonderful railway. Oroya is 136 miles from the port of Callao, and stands 12, 100 feet over sea-level. The last section of the line from Oroya to the Amazons, 31 miles, is now approaching completion. Thus the whole length will be 167 miles, and travelers or merchandise can then be conveyed by steam from Brazil up the Amazons and over to the west coast, or vice versa.