PeruRail Suspends Cusco Service to Machu Picchu Today

This morning I saw an email from PeruRail that was sent after 7 pm last night that opened with:

PeruRail, operador ferroviario en la ruta sur y sur oriente del país, informa que, debido al paro de transportes que será acatado por la región Cusco, debemos informar que mañana martes 26 de octubre nuestras operaciones ferroviarias se desarrollarán únicamente en la ruta Ollantaytambo – Machupicchu -Ollantaytambo.

[PeruRail, rail operator in the south and southeast route of the country, informs that, due to the transport strike that will be observed by the Cusco region, we must inform that tomorrow, Tuesday, October 26, our rail operations will be developed only in the Ollantaytambo – Machupicchu – Ollantaytambo route.]

Apparently this transportation strike has been in the works for awhile, but PeruRail waited until literally hours before to inform passengers of a cancellation of service today.

If you got a similar email last night, note that they are allowing free changes at the Wanchaq or Av El Sol offices. (The Wanchaq station has a reputation for being chaotic and unprofessional.) There is also a link specific to your purchase where you can request a complete refund. I couldn’t find any link on the PeruRail account so check your email to find the one for your purchase.

As of early this morning, there is nothing on the official Machu Picchu ticket website regarding rescheduling or refunding tickets.

I can’t imagine how this will be for people who paid a LOT of money for to travel to Cusco and go to Machu Picchu only to find out that on the morning of their trip that they won’t get to go. I can reschedule my trip, but I have two tickets to Machu Picchu for this afternoon and tomorrow morning that I can’t use. As a resident, I paid about $16 each for my tickets, but I know that foreign visitors pay a lot more.

This will also affect those who spent last night in Aguas Calientes and are planning to return to Cusco today. Many will have flights — perhaps even connections to international flights — that will be affected. I don’t know how extensive is the strike and if they can perhaps make their way to Ollantaytambo then to Cusco, but the challenges will be extreme for hundreds — perhaps thousands — of visitors to Machu Picchu and Cusco today.

I’m going to visit the Wanchaq and San Pedro stations this morning to see what is going on there thanks to the cancellations and will update here as I learn more.

UPDATE 7:28 am – There are lots of police already out with more groups forming. I expect protests which will snarl traffic across Cusco later today.

UPDATE 7:55 am – I just left the Machu Picchu ticket office on Calle Maruri and they said tickets CANNOT be changed. He advised me to go speak with the “jefe” in the office on Calle Garcilaso. I’m going there now.

UPDATE 8:12 am – I spoke with officials in the Calle Garcilaso office for Machu Picchu tickets and they say tickets which cannot be used because of the transportation strike CAN be changed IF there is space available. For the immediate future, that is not likely.

UPDATE 8:20 am – it looks like all day trips from Cusco are operating as all the transport vans are gathering.

UPDATE 8:38 am – Colectivos are running to Ollantataytambo from Av Grau stations this morning.

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