Take a Train Trip Through Scenic Chimborazo
With its mountainous terrain and outstanding scenery, Ecuador is a country to be explored at leisure, and traveling by train is one of the ways visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of this fascinating destination. On April 26 this year (2012) 104 passengers had the pleasure of traveling in one of the newly refurbished panoramic railway cars along what many consider to be one of the most spectacular routes in South America – La Nariz del Diablo – the Devil’s Nose. On its first official journey, the train left from Alausí station in the province of Chimborazo, headed for Sibambe and back to Alausí.
While in the town of Alausí take some time to explore. Most of its houses are more than a hundred years old, and visitors will also find a number of monuments in the town, the most important being the monument to the patron saint of Alausí, San Pedro, which can be seen from any point in the town. The Festival of San Pedro (Saint Peter) is held in the town from June 22 to July 2 every year, featuring traditional music and dance, folklore, and other activities enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The train’s three cars have large windows to allow passengers a panoramic view of the landscape they are traveling through. Each car has seating for 40 passengers in face-to-face seats for four and two people, with a collapsible table in the middle. The train complies with the standards of modern tourist trains around the world, including air conditioning and a pneumatic suspension system to ensure a smooth journey. The passenger cars and locomotive were refurbished by Feve – the Spanish state-owned railway company – working out of its workshops in El Berrón. Ecuador will also be receiving a cruise train later in the year, and the establishment of travel routes will include the local communities to boost their tourism-related income. The Cruise Train will take passengers on an unforgettable four-day, three-night journey through Guayaquil and Bucay, known as La Ruta de la Dulzura (Sweetness Route), on to Urbina along La Ruta de los Volcanes (Volcanoes Route), and through Nariz del Diablo (the Devil’s Nose).
Nariz del Diablo is a wall of rock at a 45 degree angle which the train ascends and descends by means of a series of switchbacks – zigzagging tracks that make traveling up and down this steep incline possible. The scenery along the way is breathtaking and the train journey far from ordinary – certainly an exciting and memorable way to explore this part of Ecuador.