This collection distills the extensive literature on the economic history of railroads across Latin America into a concise volume that provides a textbook-like overview of the railroad's origins, development, impact, and eventual decline there. The eight essays focus primarily on the so-called “golden age” of railroad development (1870–1930), the years when Latin America experienced the greatest expansion of the railway network and its most profound economic impact (p. 12). Each chapter also offers an epilogue that briefly discusses the decline of the locomotive's once predominant role in moving both the economy and people.

The volume's editor identifies three goals in the introduction: to provide comparative analysis of eight case studies from Mexico, the Antilles (mainly Cuba), Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile, nations that possessed 95 percent of Latin America's entire railway grid during the golden age; to examine those case...

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