Railways of the Andes, by Brian Fawcett

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Railways of the Andes, by Brian Fawcett
Published by Plateway Press in 1997, 224 pages. Hardback - c.18cm by 24cm (N6958)

From the inside front fly leaf: This book was the first major English-language survey of the planning, construct­ion and operation of the major Andean railroads. Its author, Brian Fawcett, came to South America as a young man of 17, and spent almost a quarter of a century in the service of the Central Railway of Peru. His duties gave him a unique insight into the workings of that great railroad - which scales the highest railway summit in the world, at 15,848ft - and also enabled him to collect information, hitherto unpublished, about other Andean railroads.

Here, then, is the story from the earliest pioneering days of Richard Trevithick and the legendary American entrepreneur, Henry Meiggs, through the construction era - with its massive toll of death and injury among the mainly imported workers - and on into the present century, when the railroads have had to fight competition from highways and airlines. Railways featured include the metre gauge Trans­andine that linked Chile with Argentina; the FC Antofagasta (Chile) and Bolivia which forged for hundreds of miles across the desolate Bolivian Altiplano; and the Southern Railway of Peru which connected the Pacific Ocean with the Bolivian capital La Paz via Lake Titicaca - an uncanny 'voyage' two and a half miles above sea level!

From the rear side cover: The Andes rank as the world's longest uninterrupted mountain range, extending over 4,000 miles parallel to the west coast of South America. With summits up to 20,000 ft, they act as a barrier separating the Pacific seaports from the mineral riches of Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Few areas of the world can be less promising for the aspiring railway builder ... added to the problems of topography are extremes of climate, regular geological instability, and continuous political barrier ... a triumph of engineering skill and ingenuity over formidable natural obstacles.

First published in 1963, "Railways of the Andes" has been out of print for 30 years. This new Edition incorporates Fawcett's original text - unaltered and unexpurgated - plus a new Preface and Introduction. It includes some of Fawcett's original maps, supplemented by some more detailed new cartography, 'period' artwork and advertisements and a fine selection of photographs, dating from the 1870s, many being the work of the Author himself.

The condition of the book is generally excellent. The dust jacket is clean and bright, the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.