The Railroad

The railroad was one of the accomplishments of the Alfaro Presidency. The extreme difficulty of this project was due primarily to the unique geography but also to the climate. Before completion of the railroad in the early 20’th century, of course, Ecuador was truly divided especially between Quito high in the Andes Mountains and the Port City of Guayaquil down at sea level. Connecting these two regions was no easy task. The best reference work for an understanding of the issues surrounding the railroad – geographic, climatic, cultural, political, technical, …etc. is Professor A. Kim Clark’s “The Redemptive Work”. On this page we have some youtube videos of the railroad.

Website of the present-day Railroad Administration of Ecuador (Tren Ecuador)

(note: this page will be updated in the future; this is an initial version only)

This short video shows the amazing switchback at “The Devil’s Nose” where the train climbs the side of a steep cliff rapidly gaining altitude by means of a series of “swithbacks” …where the train actually changes direction – since there’s no room to turn around. The actual switchback occurs about 43 seconds into this two-minute video.

The two videos below are of the present-day train ride between Alausi and Riobamba. Note that economic constraints in present day Ecuador have made it impossible for the full stretch of the railroad to be maintained

Part 1: 8:24

Part 2: 9:34

This is the shorter section from Duran to Yaguachi (“Jog-wah-chi”) 6:34

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