Saturday, February 8, 2014

The spectacular Andean Ecuador train travels back country mountains. Pics and Video.

WorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesùs.

The sound of the steam whistle of a cherry red locomotive,   makes a group of locals gather on a platform of excitement and acclaim in the town of Duran, Ecuador.
It's a sound that many people in this simple plain people of the tropical Pacific had not heard in years.
Some have never heard.
A restored steam locomotive, a hundred years old, emerges slowly from his shed.
Steam in the  chimney is mixed with moist air around the station Duran.
Within a few days, the steam will crystallize in the freezing temperatures of the Ecuadorian Andes as the Cruise Train makes its way past the giant snow-capped peaks to the kingdom of the condors, Andean volcanoes and legend.
The great steam train is rehabilitated
Trains in Ecuador have been largely in decline since the late nineties.
"The heavy winter rains of El Niño in 1982 destroyed a section of railway between Huigra and Bucay" says Slav Ivanov of Railways of Ecuador, train operators. "The floods of El Niño in the early nineties caused more damage."
By 2008, only about 10% of the rail network was operational Ecuador.
Since then, the Ecuadorian government has spent about $ 280 million to modernize the national railway.
The flagship model of the revival of the railway is the Train Cruise, a steam train luxury renovated operating a new service that crosses the Andes between Guayaquil and the capital of Quito (2,849 meters is the highest capital city in the world) .
The cruise follows a narrow gauge train of 453 kilometers (282 miles) long, originally built between 1897 and 1908 through the section of the Andes of Ecuador.
The railway was built to connect the two major cities of Ecuador: Quito and Guayaquil in the Andes along the Pacific.
Now, as then, it is one of the most exciting trips in the world train.
The luxury travel four days and three nights today focuses on wealthy foreign tourists and Ecuadorians.
Tickets are $ 1,200 per adult ($ 952 per child), and include hotels and tours during the tour.
The newly acquired train cars, built in Madrid, are mobilized by restored steam locomotives.
The oldest dates from 1900 and was designed by the American manufacturer Baldwin Pennsylvania.
One of the engineers of the locomotive is Edgar Garces, 52-year-old, who has worked for the national railway company of Ecuador for 28 years.
"I never thought I'd see the train through the Andes running again," he says.
A few others did.
Tourist trains and renewing communities
Ecuador's government wants the impulse Train Cruise little communities in their economic development through tourism travel.
From Guayaquil to the coastal plain of Guayas, abandoned settlements as Casiguana testify economic malaise.
This ancient town dedicated to the cultivation of oranges was abandoned when the demise of the railroad cut commercial ties with Guayaquil.
Later in the tour, in Yaguachi, Alejandro Díaz López, 75, wait for the Cruise Train beside the tracks, playing his guitar and singing ballads about the train.
"I sing a song for the train, for president, now for tourists who bring money to our community," he says.
The most exciting section of Train Cruiser is a series of zigzags precipitates that let you climb 2945 meters (9,662 feet) in just 56 kilometers (34 miles) around a mountainside called the Devil's Nose.
By 1908, the construction of this dangerous section had taken four years and caused the death of more than 4,000 workers, including 2,730 Jamaican workers.
In Alausí, a town that is largely Quechua indigenous inhabitants, Rosita Logroño, 30 years old, sells beautiful woollens woven by hand in the newly opened Bazaar station called memories.
"Before the railway was rehabilitated, I only had a part time job and could not send my children to school," he says. "Life has improved with the return of the trains."
The Avenue of the Volcanoes is one of the most memorable moments
The trip to Quito passes for 10 volcanoes along the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
The highest point (3,609 feet metros/11.480) is recorded on the third day, Urbina, where it has built a new visitor center.
Here, the last man Chimborazo ice greets passengers.
Balthasar Uscha, 69, has cut ice from Chimborazo volcano flanks for 50 years with a height of 6310 meters (20,100 feet), Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador.
Considering equatorial bulge of the Earth, Chimborazo summit is further from the core of the earth than Everest.
The glacial ice Uscha once cooled drinks coastal inhabitants.
But cooling has left ice cutters jobless.
He said to represent the last surviving member of his profession.
Last stop, but not the end of the line
Cruise Passengers disembark the train every night and stay in local hotels.
The accommodation is the last night in The Swamp, a glorious Spanish hacienda built in 1695.
The great naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt, who stayed here in 1802, coined the term "Avenue of the Volcanoes".
The estate overlooks the snowy Cotopaxi volcano, with a height of 5879 meters (19,300 feet), is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.
The final day begins in Latacunga.
The city has been destroyed three times by eruptions of Cotopaxi, which takes a historical eruption in a century.
This has been delayed since the last eruption was in 1904 destroyed Latacunga.
However, the thoughts of such calamities are far away.
As the train makes its final stop in Quito, only the bright sun illuminates the tracks and restore the faces of the passengers disembarking, delighted to have completed one of the large-and largely unknown part-travel the world.
The journey of 450 kilometers from Quito to Guayaquil takes four days and three nights (with stops and hotel included), crosses the Andes of Ecuador and passes through moors, cloud forests and tropical coastal landscapes; $ 1,270 per adult, $ 952 per child.
For more information, schedules and tickets Train Cruise, visit Ecuadorbytrain and enjoy the video below made by a tourist, which shows just a short time of the journey but it is good:

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