The Intercontinental Railway project was one of the most ambitious engineering projects in the history of inter-American relations. Advocates hoped to link the major cities and economic centers of North, Central, and South America together via a ten thousand mile long railroad system that would stretch from New York City to Buenos Aires in South America. In the process, the Intercontinental Railway project, along with other Pan-American initiatives, was to bring order and stability to a region marked by internal warfare, as well as increase communication and commercial ties between the three regions of the Western Hemisphere, solve U.S. socio-economic domestic woes, and nudge European competitors out of the Western Hemisphere. Despite enjoying the support of some of the most wealthy and successful businessmen and politicians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Intercontinental Railway project was never completed. In the end, the Intercontinental Railway project never received the political and financial support it needed because the original vision of constructing the railway via a public/private partnership that was part of the Pan-American movement, as outlined at the First International Conference of American States in 1890, simply did not translate well into practice.


Humberto M. Loayza

Committee Member

Kathleen Gorman

Committee Member

Marlene Medrano

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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