It appears the repairs to the train tracks from Cusco to Ollantaytambo are nearly finished, allowing train service to resume from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) on July 1, 2010. The train tracks were damaged due to severe flooding caused by extra heavy rains in January.
The damaged tracks prevented trains from reaching Aguas Calientes for the months of February and March, forcing the closure of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail (closed every February anyway) for those months. Repairs to the tracks were begun immediately, and the track from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes was re-opened April 1 to allow visitors to visit Machu Picchu again.
The track from Cusco to Ollantaytambo was still unpassable, however, forcing travelers from Cusco to travel by bus to Ollantaytambo, where they were able to catch the train for the rest of the journey. Additionally, many of the train cars were trapped in Cusco, and were not usable. This limited the number of seats and the amount of cargo on the route Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. Train schedules were very difficult to coordinate, and travelers were only allowed 5 kg (11 pounds) of luggage in a daypack no larger than 20 liters. This posed a problem for many travelers who were spending several days at Machu Picchu, or who were coming off an Inca Trail trek.
Additionally, the Hiram Bingham train cars were all stuck in Cusco, forcing Hiram Bingham service to be canceled until the tracks could be repaired.
Now, with the track re-opening all the way from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, travel will hopefully return to normal. Travelers will no longer have to take the bus to Ollantaytambo in order to catch the train to Machu Picchu, and the severe luggage restrictions should be lifted. Additionally, we expect the Hiram Bingham train to return to service in July.
We will update this blog as we receive more news.