Panama Canal Railway Company

Panama Canal Railway Company

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This tour on the newly restored Panama Canal Railway, the western hemisphere's first transcontinental railroad, follows the east bank of the canal that offers excellent views of the waterway and rainforests along its shoreline.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
548 reviews
Excellent
284
Very good
173
Average
70
Poor
17
Terrible
4

Karina Hag
Durban, South Africa14 contributions
Aug. 2021 • Couples
It is closed. Nothing on the website unfortunately. Probably call them to find out if it's open in a month or so. We're writing this to let other people know. Take care!
Written August 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stephen S
London65 contributions
Feb. 2020
This is a interesting train ride in itself and a good way to see the Panama Canal, its surrounding forests and the Gatun Lake, either from the Observation Car or the open platforms at the end of some carriages. The ride is smooth compared to the local roads and this journey is a good complement to a transit of the canal.

The day I went, the train wasn't busy and everyone could use the Observation Car, although some preferred the historic coaches with picture windows or the open platforms. Most people bought walk-up tickets on the day, but it is possible to book at the rail company's offices and find out if there a large tour groups booked on a particular day, as they may have priority in the Observation Car. When I went to book, I found that two days in the week heavily booked, so chose another one. It should also be possible to phone them to check.. The train also only runs on weekdays, not weekends.

The train starts at 7.15am and boarding and ticket sales start around 6.30am: the advantage of pre-booking is there is no queuing for tickets and early boarding. Leaving a Central Panama hotel at 6am or soon after will get you to the Panama-end station well on time to buy tickets and board. Coffee and snacks are provided and there is a bar which has soft drinks as well as liquor, if you want it.

There is no doubt that Colon is unsavory and not a place to walk about in or hang around in for the afternoon return train. There is no real station at Colon, but taxis are available to the bus station back to Panama or the locks at the Atlantic end of the canal.

If you want to spend just a short time in Colon, you could ask the taxi to take you to the New Washington Hotel overlooking the Atlantic for a late breakfast or coffee. This hotel was new in 1913: externally it has a faded grandeur, a magnificent lobby inside and a terrace overlooking the Atlantic.

It's far better to make your own arrangements than pay for one of the expensive organised trips.
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Linda I
Kilmarnock, UK183 contributions
Feb. 2020 • Couples
We had seen the original canal lock gates at the excellent centre on the Pacific side: Miraflores.
I wanted to see the new system and the only way to do this is to go to the Atlantic side. So we took the early train from Panama City. It is the original carriage and engine from the 19th century, a wonderful comfortable trip though the rainforest with views of the canal and lakes with complimentary coffee and breakfast.
It is interesting to note that the railroad existed before the canal.

A must entertaining trip and a bargain at $25. We were originally on a lower level carriage but the lovely guard found us a table in the domed upstairs section. Great views.

Also where else can you go from the Pacific to the Atlantic in an hour on land!!
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

April H
San Diego, CA40 contributions
Jan. 2020 • Couples
The railway existed before the canal so it’s fun to experience a hint of the atmosphere of days gone by. The price is right ($25) as the ticket gets you seats near a window (you can easily see out both sides of the train), a snack box, coffee, and access to a clean bathroom. This is NOT the best way to view the locks; half the time you are looking at water and half the time you have a close up view of the forest. You will pass by Miraflores and Gamboa, which you will recognize if you have already been there (no narration on the train.) It IS a more fun and unique way to cross the isthmus than driving on the highway. We took the 7:15 am train from Panama City to Colón and arranged for a driver/guide to meet us there. He took us over the Atlantic Bridge (which is beautiful) and out to San Lorenzo (ruins of a Spanish fort) and then ultimately brought us back to Panama City. That plan worked out well for us, since the return train is not until 5 pm and we did not have the stamina to spend all day in Colón.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

cxb123
Laguna Vista, TX72 contributions
Nov. 2019
We went on the railway as part of a tour. Seats on the top level weren't available when we arrived as they were reserved for another tour. We waited for over an hour past the scheduled departure time before we headed out. No explanation was given as to why. This said, the views and experience are worth dealing with small frustrations. Once on our way, we were provided coffee and a small breakfast box.

Note that you probably don't want to be stuck in Colon for the day and there are tour companies that will pick you up and take you to see other sites on the way back to Panama City.
Written December 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

blkdolfin
Panama70 contributions
Nov. 2019
We took the train from Panama City to Colon and it was just a great trip. The view from an observation car allowed us to see the Canal like I have never done before. Strongly recommend.
Written November 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

scottandmaggi66
Asheville, NC15 contributions
Oct. 2019
The one hour train journey from Panama City to the Atlantic side station is pleasant and scenic. Pleasant being travel in a reconditioned and air conditioned rail car. Scenic being the relatively brief views of the Canal and lots of nearby jungle. Put it together with a visit to the Agua Clara Locks and you have a special day.
Written October 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

onwa
Amsterdam, The Netherlands47 contributions
Aug. 2019
After visiting the canal, the locks and Monkey Island we returned from Colon by train. Was comfortable and enjoyable way to have another look at the Canal zone.
They offer snacks and you can get a drink during this 1 hour trip.

Really worthwhile !
Written August 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

alberto casas_60
Panama City, Panama214 contributions
Sep. 2018 • Family
Only if you are a historian freak that would like to relive what happenned 100 years ago. Otherwise go to Casco Viejo or so many other places in Panama
Written July 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

RidingTheCusp
Glendale, CA13 contributions
Jun. 2019 • Friends
The train from Panama City leaves at 7:15. The ride back from Colon leaves at 5:15. There is nothing of much to do in Colon unless you are very adventurous. It is a dirty and decrepit city. Some say it is unsafe, but I can't say. We took a taxi to Colon and got there at 2. Then we spent a couple of hours in the Duty Free Zone before heading back on the train. The Duty Free Zone is also dirty and decrepit. We got some good deals, but only if you don't count the money it took to get there and back.

The train trip was nice. Some beautiful views, but rather similar throughout. If you want to see the rainforest, take a rainforest tour. The train ride, though pleasant, isn't worth the other hassles. Oh, and there's no train station, and no safe way to get from the station to Colon unless I guess you take a taxi.
Written June 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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PANAMA CANAL RAILWAY COMPANY (Panama City) - 2022 What to Know BEFORE You Go

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