The most dangerous railway in the world
Volcanic cones speakers against the background of the rich palette of the cultivated fields and high-mountain pastures located throughout the entire four hundred kilometers of the Central Ecuador Valley. This place very accurately described in 1802th German researcher Alexander von Humboldt, the surroundings of him "Avenue volcanoes". Two hundred years later, modern scientists, and the tourists are not surprised at all with eloquent epithet, this is once Ecuador. There is no question of visiting the question and as to why the Ecuador railway is the most dangerous in the world. While traveling in the old locomotive for cliffs, they are not at all to questions. But it is the train on the train and opens all the colors of this amazing country.
In the mid-nineteenth century, international trade, especially the export of cocoa, has become an important component of Ecuador’s economy. This was the reason for the idea of creating a developed transport infrastructure. In 1861, the government, at the request of President Gabriel Garcia Moreno, decided to build the railway network. According to the plan, the railway line was supposed to connect Quito, the capital, located in the central part of the country and the main Ecuadorian port Guayaquil. This section of the railway system became known as "South Rail". However, not everything was so simple, since the road was supposed to pass through complex rough terrain, its construction was not the lungs. For the development of engineering plan, more than ten years. In the end, it was proceeded only in 1873.
However, this difficulties did not end. After an incomplete three years after the start of the construction of the railway, its chief creator died on the hands of oppositioners, Gabriel Moreno. In 1877, there was an eruption of a volcano Cotopaxi, which also pulled the construction. By 1884, a third rails were also laid and. But ten years did not pass, as construction was again stopped – folk unrest began. It was resumed only when Eloel Alfaro Delgado came to power as a result of the liberal revolution. When in 1901th, the government in Ecuador replaced again, the project of the South Railway was somewhat revised, the North American engineer Sigald Muller was invited to more detailed terrain. After the studies that took two years, they were concluded that the railway in Ecuador will become the most difficult and most dangerous in the world.
Nevertheless, construction did not throw. Above the construction of the line worked like Ecuadorian and Jamaica workers. Building the railway was not easy – mountain rivers were constantly washed by concrete grounds on which rails were lying. In addition, builders had to work in difficult climatic conditions, which were accompanied by outbreaks of tropical diseases and snake bite. As a result, over a few years, the South Railway claimed the lives of two thousand people. Finally, on June 25, 1908, the line was completed, the golden nail was solemnly driven into the last sleeper. For the construction of four hundred and sixty-four kilometers of the way almost thirty-six years. By the time the government has already been ready for a new ambitious plan – the creation of three hundred seventy-three kilometer northern railway line, which would connect Quito and the city of San Lorenzo. Together with her should be built one hundred and a kilometer branch between Sibambe and Cuenca.
It would seem now difficulties will not be, because the builders already have enough experience in order to lay rails in difficult Ecuadorial conditions. But, it was not there, political instability and an increase in external debt again caused construction delay. As a result, on the construction of the northern railway, it took and more – fifty seven years. In 1965, Ecuador finally got a developed railway network. However, it continued not for a long time – in the seventies of the twentieth century, most of the secondary lines were closed due to the fact that their content and repair would be too expensive to the state. In addition, since at the beginning of the last century, the rails were laid in the absence of drainage systems, the railway canvas was not well fixed. In some parts of the tracks, the rails were covered with a large layer of sand and volcanic ash, which also hindered trains to move normally. In addition, as a result of climatic changes that carry heavy rains, landslides constantly happened. The strongest occurred in 1983 and in 1998, as a result, almost all railway canvas were destroyed in Ecuador.
In working condition, only three sections remained: fifty-seven and a half kilometers segment, which connects Quito and Kotopaxi National Park; Forty three and a half kilometers of distillation between Ibarra and Prime Paso, as well as a mountain path, which makes up almost a hundred kilometers, which leads to rioobamba from Sibamba. In the absence of railway tracks, transportation of people and goods has become carried out with the help of trucks and buses. But, of course, it was not so effectively as carriage by rail. Therefore, the question of its recovery was raised already in 2001. Then Ecuadorian Congress adopted the law, providing for the repair of all major rail lines of the country. From the budget of 2002, four and a half million dollars were allocated for these needs. Repair was assumed on the site from Guayaquil to the rioobamba and from Ibarra to San Lorenzo. Unfortunately, even this, it seems that there would be no significant amount for the complete restoration of the aforementioned branches.
Due to insufficient actions on the part of the federal government, railway management rushed his eyes to private enterprises that would be able to deliver the lines they need. Already at the beginning of the two thousandths it became known that the railway is not without a utility private partnership. In some municipalities, they were still able to assemble the money required for the reconstruction of paths and stations. So, private entrepreneurs in Riobamba have invested more than four million dollars in the restoration of the railway station. The updated object included the Museum of Trains, Restaurants, Shops and Theater. I must say that investments were not in vain, Riobambamba branch – Sibambe only from the sale of tickets brings income more than a million dollars annually, and this is not counting millions of cargo. The new Robocci station allowed the region to develop and tourism.
In 2010, the President of Ecuador, Rafael Korraaa called the Railway "National Cultural Heritage" and stressed that its full recovery is the state task of priority importance. Government again allocated several million dollars for these needs. The first open line was the Riobamba branch – urban. In 2009, a railway connecting Cuenc with El Tambo was restored. At the end of 2010, the trains resumed the movement from Quito in Latakung. In 2011, the Riobamba branch was restored – Urban – Ambato. In addition, it is planned to connect the Ecuador railway with the lines of neighboring Columbia and Peru.
Despite this, most of the Ecuadorian railway canvase is still in a deplorable state, and the functioning paths still remain very dangerous. Fortunately, today accidents with human victims occur not so often, but traveling to the Ecuadorian train and today – very extreme lesson. Among other things, the rails still have very old trains, the last of which was put in the country back in the distant 1992 year. Today, there are several locomotives with steam and diesel engines at the disposal of the Ecuador railway service. The overwhelming majority were purchased from Spain and France for very little money, because at the homeland of the train has long been written off. And in Ecuador, these locomotives are still used, though the question of their safety remains open.
However, tourists, apparently, do not care about old trains and ancient rails, most of which were laid back at the beginning of the last century. Moreover, many people like to think that only while traveling around the railway, they can open all the unique color of Ecuador. One of the most popular tourist routes is called "El Naris Del Diablo", which translated from Spanish means "the nose of the devil". It should be noted, such an eloquent name is given to the railway branch not in vain. Thirty kilometer journey passes through a steep mountainside, which is almost a vertical stone wall. Given such difficult conditions, the "nose of the devil" is considered the feat of railway engineering. A group of engineers under the leadership of William Shanka from the United States in which the Archer’s brothers and John Harman were included, invented the original decision – the railway canvas was laid by a sharp zigzag serpentine. As a result, for some hundred and thirty kilometers of the way, the train rose to a height of two thousand eight hundred meters.
Today, as a result of landslides and other natural cataclysms, a line who once-smashed from Quito to Guayaquil, decreased to a small thirty kilometer branch of Riobamba – Sibamb. But this, it seems, a short path takes the whole four hours. After all, the train must be climbed to a height of a thousand meters, so its speed is subjected to strict limitation. Today for such mountain railways, launch special tunnels. Therefore, with complete confidence it can be said that the decision of the engineers who became saving for the Ecuadorian conditions of the beginning of the twentieth century is now obsolete.
However, if most of the path of the "devil’s nose" passed through the tunnel, tourists could not enjoy the magnificent scenery, which are opening while traveling through this railway. But ride the train of this line is not only visiting. In popularity, he also uses the locals, because most of its path passes through the agricultural land, lying away from the motorways, so the train is the only means of movement. In those days, when this line operated in full, local residents due to lack of space often drove directly on the roof of cars. When a part of the branch collapsed the government introduced a limitation not only on the speed of trains, but also on the number of passengers.
But with the development of tourism in Ecuador, the "nose of the devil" attracted the attention of modern backpackers (tourists who trave with "savages" and liking, for very little money). They gladly resumed the tradition of a roof trip. They were not at all embarrassed by the danger of such a way of movement. True after a few people died, having broken into the abyss, the government officially forbidden to ride on the roofs of trains. Moreover, only one car walks on the "nose of the devil". But this did not disgregate tourists at all, because many of them, although they love Extreme, still think about security. And Extreme at the time of traveling by Ecuador’s railway and without a rooftop trip, at least debugs, which is the ancient dilapidated trains and high-mountain distillations.