TRAIN SERVICES TO MACHU PICCHU HAVE RESUMED
January 6, 2020 - Yesterday a press release was emitted by Ferrocarril Transandino S.A, the company that runs the train tracks to Machu Picchu, that till further notice there would not be any trains allowed to travel to Machu Picchu. This is because the rising waters of the Vilcanota (Urubamba) River are threatening the train tracks that run besides them. As the water is affecting the structures the train tracks are built on, the company decided that, till water levels drop again, not passenger trains are allowed to travel to Machu Picchu. The only passenger trains allowed are those evacuating passengers that already were at Machu Picchu.
This situation means that travelers that have tickets for Machu Picchu for the coming days will most likely not be able to visit the Sanctuary. Most visitors to Machu Picchu travel by train and the only alternative is to hike. The impact of this decision for those hiking to Machu Picchu is still to be seen as it is not clear for how long this last and for how long there will be trains returning from Machu Picchu. Most likely hikes to Machu Picchu will also be cancelled if this situation continues for more than a few days.
It has to be noted that apart from the train to Machu Picchu the only other point of access to Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes is via the train tracks that run from Santa Teresa to Aguas Calientes. These train tracks can be traveled on foot or with one of the few local trains coming from the so-called hydroelectric station close to Santa Teresa. The local population and people that work in Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes are therefore also 100% relient on the trains to receive food and other supplies.
The situation reminds of similar circumstances in 2010 when the train tracks to Machu Picchu collapsed and all passengers had to be evacuated by helicopter. Machu Picchu was not accessible for several months after. In order to avoid this type of situation the company has taken measures now but it still has to be seen how this plays out. January is the start of the rainy season but February historically is the month with the most rain. The Vilcanota River is not only fed by rain but also from the glaciers nestled in the high mountains that tower over the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Santa Teresa, the only other point of access to Machu Picchu also has its share of issues this time of the year as landslides are common on the roads leading to Santa Teresa and therefore roads often can be closed for days leaving people stranded on both sides. So far the rain forecasts are mild but as these mountain rivers are fed over a large area, it is hard to predict what will happen in the following days or weeks.
For those having purchased tickets to travel to Machu Picchu in the coming days, please keep an eye on this website as well as the rain company sites for further updates. (https://www.perurail.com/ - https://incarail.com/) For those with flexibility in their dates you will be able to reschedule your trip without cost. For the access tickets to Machu Picchu there is no information so far but most likely will also be able to be postponed for a certain amount of time. For the travelers who would not have flexibility to change their dates, there are unfortunately no other options to travel to Machu Picchu at this time and may have to pass on your Machu Picchu visit. In this case get in touch with the train company and INC (entrance tickets to Machu Picchu - firstname.lastname@example.org) for a possible refund. In some cases travel insurances may cover any incurred costs - check your insurance policy.
PERU RAIL PRESS RELEASE JANUARY 5, 2020 SUSPENSION OF OUR RAILWAY OPERATIONS In compliance with the disposal of Ferrocarril Transandino SA, the railway concession company, we are in need of suspend our operations for the trains operation on the route to Machu Picchu, due to the increase in the flow of Vilcanota river. With this measure, which prioritizes the safety of passengers and staff, today, January 5, from 1 pm, the operation of our services on the Ollantaytambo– Machu Picchu route are suspended. Likewise, all train slots on the Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo route on January 5, will operate regularly in order to transfer passengers who are in Machu Picchu. The reestablishment of our operations will take place as soon as we receive the indications of Ferrocarril Transandino. We will provide all the facilities for passengers who wish to reschedule their trip for the following days, being able to make the reschedule at our points of sale in Cusco with no additional cost and according to the availability of spaces. For travel agencies the modifications will be made in our offices located at Wanchaq Station and at our Av. El Sol store, both in the city of Cusco, or through its reservations executive, according to availability of spaces. For more information and assistance contact us through our Call Center at the number: 084- 581414.