THE ANDES: Last Spike

On the rich fields of northern Argentina, sugar cane grows as high as an elephant's eye, and avocados are as big as coconuts. But the great world port of Buenos Aires is 1,000 miles to the south, and the towering Andes have always blocked the shortcut route west through Chile to the Pacific. For three-quarters of a century, the people of the region have loudly demanded a trans-Andean railway; for more than a quarter of a century they have been building it. Last week they had it. A coca-chewing Indian had slung a sledge, a last spike had bitten...

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