Hundreds ride reopened Peru's Machu Picchu train

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The Independent Online

US actress Susan Sarandon joined hundreds of visitors Thursday on the train to the Inca citadel Machu Picchu, Peru's main tourist lure, which was formally reopened Thursday after two months of repairs.

A 40-kilometer (25-mile) stretch of the rail system was inaugurated Monday by Transport Minister Enrique Cornejo. But from the nearest city of Cusco, travelers will have to go some 70 kilometers (45 miles) by bus.

Sarandon was among numerous foreigners, including from Argentina, Mexico and Brazil, who took part in the reopening day marred only by cloudy skies.

Machu Picchu had been closed for two months in a major blow to the South American nation's tourism receipts, after a devastating storm that killed seven people.

At the time, some 3,500 people had to be evacuated from the ancient citadel by air when rains battered the country in late January.

The 15th-century city perched around 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level is the most visited site in South America, a pillar of the Cusco region and the source of 90 percent of Peru's tourist revenues, according to the country's finance ministry.

The railway was damaged in hundreds of places by flooding and landslides prompted by the rains.

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