- Railways in Ecuador
- There is a train system in Ecuador
but it is now more used as tourist attraction than a transport
system. This rail system was known as one of the hardest in the
whole world because it runs through the Andes between huge cliffs,
canyons and rivers. If you are in a hurry don't count on it because
it is too old and slow, but it is one of the best ways to see
Ecuador. Timetables are at best erratic, and you will need to
check that the line is actually running. To buy train tickets
and check out the routes you will need to go to Chimbacalle Station
( Estación de Ferrocarril) a few kilometers south of the
old town -you can get there on the Trolley Bus to the Machangara
stop. Latest information at Empresa de Ferrocariles Ecuatorianos
- From Quito you can take the
Autoferro along the avenue of the volcanoes to the Boliche Forest
at the entrance to Cotopaxi.
- The old route from Guayaquil
to Quito (the G & Q or 'Good and Quick'), once one of the
greatest rail journeys in the world, is no more. Much of the
route was damaged by torrential rain and landslides from El Niño
in 1997-98, but you can see some of its splendour taking the
journey from Riobamba to Nariz del Diablo. This route passes
by the lakes at Cajabamba and Colta whilst climbing to the picturesque
colonial village of Alausi, and from there zig zags up and down
the spectacular 45 degree incline of the Devil's Nose before
returning to Alausi. Traditionally tourists ride on the roof,
but this was stopped in 2007, so check in advance to see if it
is again possible. Paul Theroux also referred to it in The Old
Patagonian Express, although strangely never actually came to
ride the train.
- Update May 2009 -a 100km stretch of the Ferrocarril
from Quito to Latacunga is open again at weekends and bank holidays,
using refurbished old engines, with plans for a further 100km
past Urbina, Riobamba to Sibambe in the future.
- Current Routes available -subject to change, so do check first:
Friday and Saturday
- Takes you past the famous Nariz
del Diablo (Devil's Nose) although at the last information it
was no longer possible to travel on the roof.
- Tickets from Estación
Station de Riobamba. Riobamba.
- Av. 10 de Agosto y Carabobo.
- Tel: 032961909
Quito-Latacunga-Quito: Saturdays and Sundays
- Travel through the Route of
Volcanoes from Quito. Departures from Station Chimbacalle (Maldonado
- Tickets from: Main Building
(443 Bolivar and Garcia Moreno) Tuesday through Friday.
- Tel: 022582921
Ibarra-Primer Paso-Ibarra: Saturdays and Sundays
- This route takes you through
about twenty tunnels, and long bridges in colourful landscapes
- Tickets from: Estación
Station de Ibarra (Av. Eugenio Espejo y Colón)
- Tel: 062950390
Tambo-Baños del Inca Tambo: Saturdays and Sundays
- Visit Baños del Inca
Tickets from the Mayor in El Tambo
Express -tours to Cuenca
and Guayaquil on board a converted Chiva on rails.
-Empresa de Ferrocariles Ecuatorianos -routes, fares and latest timetables -site in
Spanish but with translation by Google into English.
- Kells Transport Museum -beautiful photographic essay on the
Devil's Nose with lots of pictures -page takes a while to load.
- Railway Touring Company -specialise in steam tours all over the world
-the group are organising a new tour on the Guayaquil and Quito
route for 2010.
- Steam in Ecuador
-tours on by steam train on the Guayaquil and Quito Route organised
by Ecuador Adventure. Also produce a fantastic photo book about
the route, thought to be the most difficult railroad in the world.
- The Guayaquil and Quito Line -photographic essay from Colin Churchers
- Search this site with Google:
- The Old Patagonian Express:
By Train Through the Americas
Penguin Books Ltd
Paperback - November 25, 2004
in UK pounds
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