However, the most technically difficult part of the route was a massive rock called » The Devil’s Nose » right in the middle between Alausi and Sibambe.
When the, then President of the Republic of Ecuador, General Eloy Alfaro, became President in 1897, he announced a new train line would be built to unite the coast city of Guayaquil with the capital of Quito. He had to battle a fierce opposition from conservative and liberal forces. Many people at the time thought the Andes shouldn’t be “conquered” by the train.
In spite of the protests, General Alfaro negotiated an agreement with a couple of American contractors and ordered the construction of “the most difficult train line in the world”. This was a joint venture between the government and a leading company from the States named “Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company”. The construction of the historic line began on 1899.
The construction of the line on the highlands was no easy task. Many, frequent quakes, strong rains, jaguars, poisonous snakes, malaria and yellow fever set back the deadline.
In order to climb this 800-meter ravine, the engineers designed a series of very pronounced curves that allowed the train to climb at steep angles moving back and forth using alternating tracks. In lame terms, the train pushes forward up a rail and then goes backward via another one.
Another one of the activities that we as Monstecristi Golf Club recommend is taking one of the train trails.
Legend says the devil’s nose was placed there by the devil himself since he did not want a train route to be built there, and of course, if you act against the devil, you pay with your life; more than 2000 workers died or were severely ill because of the weather and working conditions. Amongst them many workers brought from the English colonies in the Caribbean (mainly Jamaica), hundreds of prisoners that were forced to work to earn their freedom, and John Harman, chief machinist engineer of the project.
The feat was conquered and the first ascent to the devil’s nose in 1902 was one of the most incredible rail engineering works of the time.
The line kept being used, with interruptions, until 1997 when many landslides forced the close of the track.
Today the track has been reopened and turned into one of the most unforgettable train travel you can have.
Departures, apart from Monday, are daily on 8 AM and 11 AM
The price is $32 with discounts for children, senior citizens and people with special needs ($21)
If you are interested about finding out more about ecuador, click here: http://www.montecristigolfclub.com/