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The "railroad in the sky", as it is often called, was built between 1870 and 1893, and is located in Peru. A war between Peru and Chile halted its progress and, when work was resumed, its great American engineer, Henry Meiggs, had died, so a British company finished the task.

The railroad is so high that the trains carry oxygen equipment for the safety of the passengers. At one point it reaches 4.8 km (3 miles) high. The line runs 410.7 km (260 miles) from Callao, the seaport near Peru's capital Lima, to Huancayo, and the trip through the towering Andes is one of the supreme tourist attractions on earth.

The railroad is vital to Peru's economy, too, as it links the coast with the high country's rich copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold mines.

More than half the population of Peru live in very high country which is dominated by the Andes Mountains. Fifty per cent of the population are Indians and most of the rest are of mixed Spanish and Indian descent.

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