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People of the Train: Darwin Grijalva, Engineer

Darwin Grijalva and the train

Darwin Grijalva and the Train

 

Darwin Grijalva is one of several engineers who work for Tren Ecuador.

When I met him, Darwin was driving the train that runs the Quito-Machachi-El Boliche route. Darwin is a young, thoughtful man who has trained extensively for his job and obviously loves doing what he does.

In Ecuador, there is no specific “driver’s license” needed in order to drive a train, probably because there are so few individuals trained to do so.

I had the chance to catch up with Darwin and ask him a few questions while the train was stopped at one of the stations. He cheerfully answered my questions and it was clear that he enjoyed the rare chance to interact with one of the passengers, something he does not get to do every day. … Continue Reading

Train Quito Machachi

Machachi Festivo 1

Train Route: Machachi Festivo

The Machachi Festivo train is one of the mew mini-routes offered by Tren Ecuador, Ecuador’s new, revamped rail system. The route runs from Quito to the town of Machachi and back. The trip is 40 kilometers long, and if you do the whole-day trip, it will take you about eight hours. This day trip is a popular one with people from Quito, for the obvious reason that it begins and ends at the city’s renovated Chimbacalle station. … Continue Reading

The Devil’s Nose Train Ride – Luxury Trains Ecuador

Tren Crucero 2013 IMG_nariz del diablo panoramicos 001Ecuador’s train system is quite remarkable. For the workers and engineers to have created a viable passage from Quito to Guayaquil over a century ago with the technology available at the time is nothing less than heroic.

nariz del diablo agosto 03

The track goes over rocky ravines, along raging rivers, through dense cloud forests and around mountains. But by far the most impressive section of the railway is the so-called “Devil’s Nose,” a hair-raising trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes through some of Ecuador’s most breathtaking scenery. … Continue Reading

Riding the Liberty Train

Ecuador is revitalizing its once-decrepit train system, and the results are astounding!

camino al boliche

Once, the train went all the way from near the Colombian border in the north to Guayaquil, but with the advent of roads, large sections of track fell into disuse. In recent years, however, Ecuador has been slowly repairing and maintaining key sections of track and railroad cars and opening them up for visitors. Several sections of track have been re-opened: the northernmost one runs from Ibarra to Salinas and is known as “Tren de la Libertad” or “Liberty Train.” … Continue Reading