Saturday, 1 January 2011

Ecuadorean Railways: Part 2 – Introduction (continued)

Continuing from part 1 and after reading up a lot more. The G&Q railroad and possibly the S&C (Sibambe-Cuenca) started life as a private company. The operation of the G&Q has always been complicated by the climate in Ecuador which has often produced heavy rainfall to damage the lines with landslides or washouts. So it was that in 1925 the privately owned railroad company was sold to the Ecuadorian government because, it would seem, they didn’t want to repair the line any more. The climatic problems in fact caused a change in the route of the railway in the first place, the change that resulted in the obstacle of Nariz Del Diablo being encountered with its challenges. I wonder if there is still any trace today of this earlier constructive work of the railway. At any rate, much of the development was done in the private railroad era, and after that it was mostly downhill. The finances of the railway, so I read, were not good except in the 1920s and again during World War II. The main headquarters were developed in Huigra and the workshops in Riobamba, and these still exist in some form today. Efforts have been made to dieselise in stages over the recent decades, but steam still exists as no money could be found to buy spares for the modern locomotives.
A diagram showing the distances, altitudes and gradients is here. I didn’t include it in the post as I suspect the copyright belongs to the website that is displaying it.
Now it is time to finish off with a map… of course, what else do we put on every page in this blog?

View Larger Map
The coverage of Ecuador in Google Earth has improved quite a lot since I first mapped this line three years ago, but of course there are still gaps, the gap sections are shown in green and are for the most part a direct trace from Google Maps. And then there is a part of the San Lorenzo line that is not actually marked in Google Maps at all. We will go into the map in more detail in subsequent articles of the series.