STEAM IN THE ANDES
AUGUST 8-22, 2020
Ecuador…..last stronghold of rugged mountain railroading using steam in the Andes of South America and the gem of the Equatorial Andes, is a small but spectacular country that encompasses an amazing variety of landscapes, with great biodiversity, not to mention a fascinating cultural and historical lagacy once associated with the great Empire of the Inca.
Also home to the famous Guayaquil & Quito Railroad, one of the world's most famous railway engineering endeavors built on 42-inch gauge. The G&Q has been called by some as the “Most Difficult Train in the World”. has 7 Baldwin steam locomotives in operating condition for the enjoyment of the railfans. Two 2-6-0’s and five 2-8-0’s including the last Baldwin steam locomotive built in the USA. These locomotives are stored serviceable for charter work.
diesel train. This is our 20th tour to Ecuador since 1990. Over the past 30 years we have seen many changes to the railroad including a complete rebuilding of the line between Duran and Quito. But railroad management does not have the funds to keep the 288 mile line in good repair. The entire route is no longer open as the rainy season in Ecuador has taken it's toll on the railroad. Out of 288 miles 30 miles is closed pending repairs. The railroad has told us that they plan to get back in operation then entire mainline but over the past 30 years we have experienced just how long repair work can take so out itinerary below is based on railroad that is open now. As repair work is completed we will add those miles to our tour. We will also have a charter railcar on the San Lorenzo Railroad out of Ibarra for 40 miles.
DAY 1 SATURDAY AUGUST 8: (D)
Individual arrivals at Guayaquil. All tour members will be met and transferred to our hotel. Welcome to Ecuador dinner in the evening.
DAY 2 SUNDAY AUGUST 9: (B-L)
Visit the Duran railroad workshops which is just across the Guayas River. If you look carefully you will see the boiler and tender from one of the railroads long-gone Garratt articulated locomotives. We then board our charter train at the workshops pulled by Baldwin No. 14 a 2-6-0 built in 1901 for the run to Yaguachi and return, a total of 28 miles. Yaguachi was the original starting point of the planned railroad to Quito, with the first tracks laid in 1871. This section of the railroad is in the flatlands running through the farms and rice paddies. There is a wye to turn our steam locomotive at Yaguachi. Photo run-by both directions.
DAY 3 MONDAY AUGUST 10: (B-L-D)
Board our charter train at Duran for the run to Barraganetal, a distance of 43 miles. We will have plenty of time to make a number of photo run-bys. Past this point the railroad is being repaired. Depending upon repairs we will run as far as possible past Barraganetal. Today our train will be pulled by “Andes Class” Baldwin No. 53, a 2-8-0 built in 1953 by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton. We then transfer to our waiting motorcoach for the short trip to a local working cattle ranch which has also been made into a hotel. On our way to this ranch we will stop at Bucay to explore the old steam workshops. Several steam locomotives and boilders are still here and have been used for parts to keep the other engines running. Bucay is located at the base of the Andes and was once a very important terminal where the Andes Class 2-8-0's would take over for the steep 5% climb into the mountains.
DAY 4 TUESDAY AUGUST 11: (B-L-D)
Today we travel on our charter motorcoach for the steep climb into the Andes on the Pan American Highway to Riobamba which is at 9035 feet. The rail line out of Bucay is closed for 17 miles to Huigra and needing repairs. As we make our way northbound towards Riobamba we will stop at an overlook with spectacular views of the famous Devils Nose Switchbacks far below. Then at Alausi we will make a stop at the railroad station to check-out which diesels and railcars are in town. Upon arrival in Riobamba, known as the “Sultan of the Andes” , we will visit the workshops before going to our hotel for check-in.
DAY 5 WEDNESDAY AUGUST 12: (B-L-D)
Charter train southbound Riobamba to Alausi , a distance of 53 miles with steam locomotive No. 58, a 2-8-0 built by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton in 1953. No. 58 was the last steam locomotive built in the USA by Baldwin. Photo run-bys all day. Upon arrival in Alausi, at 8,663 feet and hotel check-in.
DAY 6 THURSDAY AUGUST 13: (B-L-D)
We board our train at Alausi and run it down the Devil's Nose Switchbacks to Sibambe which is at 5,925 feet. We then continue into the Chan Chan River Canyon to Huigra which is at 4,800 feet. Here we will turn our engine on the wye for the return trip up the steep 5.6% grades to the Devil's Nose Switchbacks and then on back to Alausi. 2nd night at Alausi. Today we will cover a total of 32 miles packed with photo run-bys
THE DEVILS NOSE SWITCHBACKS
AS SEEN FROM THE PAN AMERICAN OVERLOOK
DAY 7 FRIDAY AUGUST 14: (B-L-D)
We again board our charter train pulled by steam locomotives No. 58 for the steep climb out of town. We will first run several photo run-bys running down the middle of the Alausi cobblestone streets and over the spectacular Alausi Bridge. Departing northbound from we run over the steepest part of the railroad as our hard working locomotive tackles the 5.7% grade to the top of the Chan chan River Canyon. At Palmira we reach the first summit which is at 10, 623 feet. By time we reach Riobamba we will have traveled 53 miles.
OUR CHARTER ON THE ALAUSI BRIDGE
DAY 8 SATURDAY AUGUST 15: (B-L-D)
We board our charter train with steam locomotive No. 45 a 2-8-0 Baldiwn built in 1944. We head northbound up the spectacular “Avenue of the Volcanoes” to the highest point on the entire G&Q Railroad at Urbina which is at 11,841 feet and is on the slope of the massive 20,689 foot Chimborazo Volcano which is the highest point in Ecuador. Riobamba to Urbina is 27 miles and is all uphill. We will run many photo run-bys on this stretch of railroad. From Urbina Summit to Ambato is 26 miles and almost all downhill. At Ambato which is at 8,435 feet we transfer to our hotel. Ambato is known as the “Garden of Ecuador” and the “City of Flowers”.
AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES BETWEEN RIOBAMBA AND QUITO
DAY 9 SUNDAY AUGUST 16: (B-L)
We reboard our train pulled by steam locomotive No. 45 at Ambato and continue northbound towards Quito. Today we will run to the station of Salcedo, a distance of 21 miles. A few miles north of here there is a wash-out but railroad management said this has high priority in getting repaired so there is a very good chance we will be able to continue northbound past Salcedo. Until we received the information from the railroad we will assume that at Salcedo we will transfer to our charter motorcoach and run around the wash-out to the next station at Latacunga, a distance of 13 miles. Here we will board one or two of the autoferro railcars that are based in Quito for the 71 mile run on into the city. Today we will crest the Cotopaxi Summit at 11,638 feet which is at the base of the Cotopaxi Volcano and the popular Cotopaxi National Park.
We then drop down into the valley and once again start climbing the final hill into Quito. Before we arrive in downtown Quito we stop to explore the workshops which is a few miles outside of the city. Then steam locomotive No. 17 a 2-8-0 Baldwin will take us the final few miles into Quito. Upon arrival at the Quito station we reach our final summit at 9,110 feet.
THE COTOPAXI VOLCANO AS SEEN FROM QUITO
DAY 10 MONDAY AUGUST 17:(B-L)
Today you can sleep in a bit before we take you on a Quito City Tour which will also include the “Center of the World Monument” which is 16 miles north of downtown Quito.
DAY 11 TUESDAY AUGUST 18: (B-L-D)
We depart from our hotel in Quito by charter motorcoach for the 71 mile trip north to Ibarra, at 7218 feet where we visit the workshops of the FC San Lorenzo (Railroad) Steam locomotive No. 18 a inside frame 2-8-0 will be operating in and around the yard for photos. We then board our charter train pulled by a diesel for the 20 mile run to Salinas where we turn our train on the wye and come back to Ibarra. We then transfer to our hotel.
DAY 12 WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19:
A few miles from our hotel is the famous Otavalo Indian Market at 8,307 feet of which is considered one of the best local indian markets in all of South America. The local vendors sell just about everything you could think of, including textiles, handmade blankets, tablecloths, jewelry, musical instruments and a lot more. We then return to Quito and hotel check in. This evening we will have our “Farewell Dinner”.
DAY 13 THURSDAY AUGUST 20:
Free day in Quito to relax and explore the city on your own. This evening we will have our “Farewell Dinner”.
DAY 14 FRIDAY AUGUST 21:
Transfer to the airport for your flights home.
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$5,795
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$895
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE$1,000
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT BOOK BY NOVEMBER 1, 2020 -$300
FINAL PAYMENT DUE MAY 8, 2020
THE GUAUAQUIL AND QUITO TOURIST TRAIN WITH CHIMBORAZO
VOLCANO IN THE BACKGROUND HIGHEST POINT IN ECUADOR AT 20,698 FEET
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2020 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.