I have purposely reserved to the last—the better, perhaps, to present them to view—the two great trunk lines of principal importance, the Mexican Central and the Mexican National. These two represent the bulk of the entire movement as it is at present. Neither had many miles in actual operation during my stay; but the works, railway stations, city offices, and army of employes of both, were constantly in sight at the capital, and were the principal evidences by which the manner of the railway invasion of Mexico could be judged.
Energy of movement, ingenuity in planning, and an almost limitless expenditure, all indicated here conscientious work, and not simply railroad building on paper.
The Central begins at El Paso, the terminus of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fé, as well as a station on the Southern Pacific, at the frontier of New Mexico. It extends to the capital, a distance of thirteen hundred miles, tapping on the way a long series of the leading cities of the republic, most of these as well capitals of states. It has also a great interoceanic cross-line, which is to pass from the port of Tampico, on the Gulf of Mexico, through the cities of San Luis Potosi, Lagos (the junction with the main line), and Guadalajara, to San Blas, on the Pacific. It is expected that the main line will be completed about July, 1884.
The first reached in the chain of leading cities is Chihuahua, with about eighteen thousand inhabitants. The line is already running to this point, and is completed in all three hundred and thirty-one miles southward from Paso del Norte. The visitor by rail may already have in Chihuahua a glimpse of a place presenting most of the