Sternwheeler river boat "Neiva" may be operating on the upper section of the Magdalena River south of the rapids at Honda is tied up at a landing stage at the latter?. Photo : Chris Walker Collection

For centuries prior to the arrival of the railways and for some time afterwards, one of the principal routes into central Columbia was the Magdalena River, the 5th largest on the South American continent. This was navigable in two sections, both downstream and upstream of the rapids at Honda and the early railways were in effect feeders to the river traffic; or in the case of the FC de La Dorada, a means of transport around the rapids at Honda which divided the sections. Steam powered river boats operated on the Magdalena for over 120 years, finally ceasing in 1961 when final section of the FC Atlantico completed the replacement railway network. Railway development was piecemeal with no standardisation of gauge and it was not until 1957 that the final conversions were made to 3ft gauge, the then national standard. Rather than setting up a gallery for each of the railways with just a few pictures in each, they all appear in rough alphabetical order in this one gallery, each preceded by a map showing its location within the country. The one exception being the Ferrocarriles Nacionales which appears at the end, with riverboats and tramway pictures at the start. Portraits of locomotives dominate here as pictures of them working trains are not that common.

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