“If you can’t find anywhere to lay the track on, you’ll have to hang it on balloons”
It is hard to properly reflect in picture how breathtaking and impressive this railroad is. I hope that this photo does at least part of the job.
In his book “Railways of the Andes”, Brian Fawcett wrote: “Certainly, the Middle Section of the Central was the toughest bit of railroad construction of the whole line – a very bold venture indeed. The story goes that at its start a young graduate engineer who thought he knew a thing or two remarked to Henry Meiggs that to lay a track on those tremendous mountain slopes was more than could be done. Meiggs replied: ‘So we can’t do it, huh! Well, let me tell you, young man, it’s just precisely what we aim to do, and if you can’t find anywhere to lay the track on, you’ll have to hang it on balloons, see!’
Henry Meiggs (1821-1877) was a remarkable railroad builder on the Latin-American scene.