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Luxury Andean train offers incredible journey across Ecuador's restored rail network

A restored, century-old steam locomotive has emerged from its shed in the town of Duran in Ecuador to operate a new cross-Andean service between Guayaquil and the capital of Quito. After the Ecuadorean government spent approximately $280 million revamping the national railway, the luxury Tren Crucero will provide a thrilling four-day, three-night journey along a 282 mile narrow-gauge line.

Luxury Andean train offers incredible journey across Ecuador's restored rail network

Rail travel in Ecuador has been virtually non-existent since the late 1990's due to adverse weather over the decades but this is about to change as a century-old steam locomotive gets ready to provide a thrilling experience for travellers.

Available now "Tren Crucero" is a revamped luxury steam train that will be operating a new cross-Andean service between Guayaquil and Ecuador's capital, Quito.

Approximately ten percent of the train network in Ecuador has been operations since 2008 but the government has recently spent $280 million revamping the national railway to link towns and cities once again.

Slav Ivanov of Ferrocariles del Ecuador, the operators of the Tren Crucero, explained:

"Strong winter rains of El Nino in 1982 destroyed a stretch of the railroad between Huigra and Bucay. Further damage occurred during El Nino floods during the 1990s."

Tren Crucero - meaning "cruise train" – will follow a 282-mile narrow-gauge line along Ecuador's Andean spine. The railway was originally built in the late 19th Century to connect Quito in the Andes and Guayaquil along the Pacific.

The new Andean train service provides a thrilling and luxurious four-day, three-night journey in new carriages that will be pulled by restored steam locomotives, the oldest of which comes from Duran and dates back to 1900 after being engineered by American manufacturer Baldwin from Pennsylvania.

Tickets for the journey cost $1,200 for adults and $952 for children and include all hotels and excursions along the way.

During the journey, passengers will be able to see stunning natural wonders such as the "Avenue of Volcanoes" which is home to 10 volcanoes; Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest mountain; the snow-capped Cotopaxi; and cloud forests and tropical coastal plains.

Edgar Garces, a 52-year-old locomotive engineer, has been working for Ecuador's national rail company for 28 years. He said:

"I didn't think I'd see the cross-Andean train running again in my lifetime."

Ecuador a country is located in north-western South America that is home to the an array of stunning natural wonders such as the world's highest active volcano, Cotopaxi; the Galapagos Islands with their diverse wildlife; and the Amazon rainforest which is home to the thriving Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.

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