Railway Tourism Adventure
Ecuador has quite a fascinating railway history, beginning with the need for alternative transportation being realized in the Guayaquil harbor. A bridge to Duran was suggested but was never constructed, and it was here that the very first line to Quito began. The railway network from Duran began in 1873, and expanded to become a vital part of public and goods transportation in Ecuador. A railway line from Sibambe to Cuenca was started in 1915, but was only completed in 1965, while the northern line from Quito to San Lorenzo was opened in 1957.
The railway network was constructed with the transportation of products and goods in mind, and the government never thought that it could one day become a part of the tourism. But as the tourism industry in Ecuador begins to expand and become a significant part of the economy, the railways are being looked at as a way to develop the industry. A couple of the railways that were constructed were created through some of the roughest terrain, mountains and valleys, as engineers searched for the fastest routes to transport freight from the harbors to the towns. This now plays in favor of upgrading the railway systems of Ecuador, setting aside US $250 million to lure visitors to explore the country by train. Not only will the trains be upgraded, but so will some of the train stations along the routes, with the historic Chimbacalle Train Station, located in Quito, being re-opened. The railway routes will allow visitors to see parts of the countryside they never expected to visit, stop off at the quaint train stations to take in some of the local culture and enjoy a comfortable journey that is filled with breathtaking sights and great service. Week long trips as well as day excursions will be made available.
Director of the Visitor’s Bureau, Luz Elena, has given the project full support, saying: “The re-opening of Chimbacalle train station in Quito represents a significant investment in regenerating the area for both tourism and education following the re-introduction of train services to the Avenue of the Volcanoes south of the city and the recent opening of the new interaction Science Museum close to the station.”