Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/231

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
203
THE MEXICAN NATIONAL RAILWAY.

tres), where the elevation is 7,550 feet, or 203 feet above the capital. The track soon enters the foot-hills of the ridge forming the western boundary of the valley of Mexico.

There are many cuts through the alluvial drift and clay. Nopales, or cactus-trees, are very common in the vicinity of the line of the railroad.

After passing Rio Hondo a heavy grade begins. The train crosses gulches, with roaring brooks at the bottom. On the northern side of the track, and near the station of San Bartolito (22•09 kilometres), traces of an ancient aqueduct are seen. We soon pass through a cut in granite rock, and then stop at the station of Dos Rios (37•15 kilometres).

The road now enters a picturesque valley half a mile in breadth, where some maize is grown. The farms are divided by long hedges of the maguey, which appear to take the place of fences. The natives cover the roofs of their huts with heavy stones, to prevent the wind from blowing them away. The traveler will observe towers about ten feet high adjoining the houses. They are cribs for storing corn, and are called cincolotes.

This region has a sparse population; only a few huts of stone and straw are to be seen. The track skirts the sides of enormous ravines or barrancas. The next station is Via de Escape Tunnel (30•46 kilometres). We can now look across the valley, where the track is much higher than our place of observation. After passing through the tunnel and winding round long curves, having in places a compensated grade of about four per cent, the tourist, on glancing back, will have a fine view of the distant valley of Mexico, with the stately capital and picturesque sierras beyond. The famous home of the Aztecs appears to be surrounded by lakes. The valley below the line of the railroad bears the name of San Lazar, and the hamlet on the hill bounding the south side of the canon is called San Franciscito. We next reach the station of Escape de San Martin (35•30