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People of the Train: Darwin Grijalva, Engineer

June 6, 2014 Ecuador Train, Travel to Ecuador No Comments
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.

Q: How long have you been working here?

A: Four years. Two of those as engineer.

Q: What sort of training do you need to do this job?
A: I trained as a machinist and just worked on the engine for a while.

Tren Crucero 2013

Then I was lucky enough to be one of only seven Ecuadorians chosen by President Correa to go to Spain and learn how to operate trains there. It was a sort of exchange program for engineers. We were there for 35 days and I learned a lot.

Q: What do you think about the newly renovated train system?
A: I think it’s stupendous. It has given new life to the rail system here in Ecuador. I think it shows a whole new side of Ecuador to tourists.

Q: What does the newly renovated train system mean to the people along the routes?
A: It’s an economic benefit for them. When people visit the stations, they buy from locals. It’s great to see how the people from the small towns love the train.

Tren Crucero 2013Q: What’s in the future for Ecuador’s Train?

A: More routes, hopefully.

Q: Do you work with anyone who was here before the renovation? What do they think about it?

A: They’re very happy. I work with one guy who has been an engineer here for 25 years. He’s working on the Cruise Train now. He says things are so much better now. He has some interesting stories.

Q: What do you want people to know about the trains?

A: Just that they’re here, and more people should come and take advantage of them.

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