AKA the Honduras National Railroad
The Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras came to be when the government of Honduras took over the two different railroad companies in Honduras. They were both part of the original land concessions given by the Honduras government to the banana companies. The United Fruit Company owned the Tela Railroad Company. The Standard Fruit Company operated the Standard Fruit Railroad Company. The first was in Tela and the second in La Ceiba.
Hurricane Fifi Severly Damages the Railroad Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras Infrastructure
Unfortunately, the transfer of railroad operations in Honduras to the government was the beginning of the end. What was once the main form of transport along the north coast of Honduras soon died. The fact that a fierce hurricane stuck the Caribbean coast of Honduras did not help. Hurricane Fifi paid an unwelcome visit to Honduras in September 1994. Fifi skimmed the Caribbean Coast of Honduras, dropping over 24 inches of rain in only 36 hours. The massive Nombre de Dios Mountains and Merendon Mountains prevented Fifi from becoming a stronger storm. However, the copious rains meant that the rivers where raging all along the Atlantic coast. Many of the bridges over creeks and rivers between Jutiapa and Tela where lost to the current. The Honduras government never rebuilt them.
Hurricane Mitch Delivers the Final Blow to the Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras
24 years later, Hurricane Mitch paid another unwelcome visit to Honduras. Many of the remaining railroad bridges over rivers where lost. The Cangrejal River and the Ulua and Chamelecon bridges are the most important ones that collapsed. This cut the railroad network even more, cutting rail traffic between Puerto Cortes and Tela. Today, there are only two stretches of railroad that are still operational in Honduras. The first is the San Pedro Sula to Baracoa track, the second from La Union to Salado Barra in Atlantida. This last one is the funky train that you use to enter Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge.
In San Pedro Sula, there have been efforts to use the old railroad as an alternative for local mass transportation. The train sometimes operates between downtown San Pedro Sula and El Bufalo. This community is in the neighboring municipality of Villanueva. On my last trip to San Pedro Sula, I got a glimpse at what the Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras looks like today. It happens to be at the old railroad station in San Pedro Sula. Happy to share it with you!
If you want more information about the railroads in Honduras, visit the railroad museum in El Progreso. You will find information and old railroad locomotives and wagons that were once part of the Tela Railroad Company.