Train on a cliff
photo by blmurch


In 1899 the construction of what was called at that time 'the most difficult railway in the world' began: a train trip between Riobamba and Alausí, later to became one of Ecuador's most famous tourist attractions. While building the tracks, the biggest obstacle the constructors had to face was the wall of rock called "Devil's Nose". A harsh zig-zag rock carving began, slowly advancing toward Alausi. When the train reaches Devil's nose, multiple back and forth actions are required for the trains ascent to be possible.

In September 1902, the construction reached Alausi and in July 1905 it finally reached Riobama. By the end of the same year, the highest point of the route was met - Urbina at 3604 m - and three years later the train entered Quito. The event was celebrated with popular festivities that lasted four days. The official inauguration of the complete railroad to Cuenca was on the 6th of March, 1965. The final destination was originally the city of Duran in the Province of Guayas, but El Nino storms destroyed the tracks in 1997-1998.

The tourists can travel on the roof of train as well in order to get a better view, although the trip takes a good five hours. The ride will run through every climate zone in the land, offering spectacular views of Chimurazo, unexpected twists and turns, and a exciting 45-degree descent down the Devil's Nose.

Departure is at 8:30 a.m., so if you're thinking to take this trip, be sure to take with you warm clothing, and sunblock as well!

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

blmurch, Marc Isler, Neil Hinchley

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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