Copiapo Railroad

The Chilean National Railroad (Span: Ferrocarril Nacional de Chile) was the government-owned railroad network that was constructed beginning in 1867 and finished and expanded throughout the 1870's and early 1880's. Envisioned as a way to move troops to and from the volatile north, which had recently been taken by force from Peru in the Peruvian-Chilean War, the railroad was also regarded as an economic catalyst for the movement of mineral and material goods from one end of the country to the next. The initial railroad as it opened in 1874 connected Arica in the north to Calama, Caldera, La Serena, Valparaíso, Santiago, Chillán and Concepción, ushering in an economic boom in the late 1870's that would be sustained until the Pacific War. In 1879, an additional connection to Valdivia was established from Chillán via Temuco, and the northern spur stretched from Arica to Sucre and Cochabamba in the interior in 1881. The railroad was completed with a final spur to Puerto Montt in 1889. The national railroad was a major point of pride in Chile as it remained the longest railroad network in South America until the 1890's during the Brazilian and Colombian industrial booms.