Accidental Encounters with History

My trip off the beaten track up central Peru from Huaraz not only introduced me to some of the friendliest people around in Cabana, and a huge festival (see "Mountains alive with music & dance", but also had me feeling I stepped back in history. When the bus goes the wrong way”) I also photographed an abandoned town and coal mine. 

A Peruvian friend (thanks a lot Elmer) on Facebook identified this as the old town of Cocabal which housed the people working on the nearby (literally down the street) coal mine. This had all been abandoned when the railroad was severely damaged (60% of it) during the 1970 earthquake and subsequently went into disuse. Finding reference to Cocabal online is limited to mere mention of the name in the area, although the name of another place (assuming nearby) La Galgada pops up as well. I did manage to find the spot on Google Earth, albeit sans name.

The railway line served to transport amongst other things, coal to Chimbote where much of it was supplied to SiderPeru (steel company) for their furnaces. The project for railway lines to the interior from Chimbote was approved 1871 in agreement with Henry Meiggs to supervise the construction. The particular section to Galgada, and it appears Cocabal, was inaugurated in 1921 without Meiggs seeing it - he passed away in 1877 in Lima, Peru.

The dark triangle in the left of the picture is the abandoned coal mine with the village
strung out from the centre to the right of the picture. (Google Earth)

Zoom into the abandoned village of Cocabal (Google Earth)


(1)  Brief Historical Summary of the Railroads in Peru     By Elio Galessio 
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