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Saturday, April 1, 2023

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Ferrocarril del Ecuador would roll again in April in the Devil’s Nose, one of the sections to be rehabilitated during 2023

That on April 1, 2023 there will be passengers on the train again is the goal of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works (MTOP).

That State portfolio, together with the Ministry of Tourism, is working on a project to rehabilitate this transport.

The plan, according to the Minister of Transportation, Darío Herrera, contemplates gradually rehabilitating -at least- six sections and in this order: Alausí-Sibambe or Nariz del Diablo of 8 kilometers; Tambo-Coyoctor of 2 kilometers; Ibarra-Salinas of 27 kilometers; Durán-Bucay of 26 kilometers; Quito-Bolívar of 59 kilometers; Riobamba-Urbina of 31 kilometers.

The mayor of Alausí, Rodrigo Rea, recalled that it stopped working in May 2020, and with this the economic life of the town was affected in hotels, food, transportation, work, since he estimated that around 60,000 tourists arrived annually.

In 2020, the product that reported the highest income was Devil’s Nose with $309,653, which operated 6 days a week with 2 daily frequencies. Approximately 50% were foreign passengers and 50% Ecuadorian, according to the MTOP.

The national railway is 965.6 kilometers long and crosses the provinces of Carchi, Esmeraldas, Imbabura, Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Cañar, Azuay and Guayas and the cities of Durán, Yaguachi, Milagro, Naranjito, Bucay, Tambo, Cuenca, Alausí, Guamote, Colta, Guano, Riobamba, Mochas, Cevallos, Latacunga, Ambato, Salcedo, Mejía, Quito, Cayambe, Otavalo, Antonio Ante, Ibarra and San Lorenzo.

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Ferrocarriles del Ecuador EP was one of the companies eliminated due to the economic situation.

The idea, added the minister, is to open each section of the tracks. That work would be done during this year.

Herrera mentioned that the State portfolio will provide the budgets, put together the projects, and the creation of business models.

Regarding the budget, he replied that they did not have it yet.

He indicated that there are at least 30 Decentralized Autonomous Governments (GAD) that wish to contribute to the reactivation. The stations could be transferred on loan to these local administrations.

With them, a management model is prepared, the operation and opening of each of the sections is budgeted.

Rea mentioned that the railway line and the locomotive in Alausí have been undergoing maintenance, so they are in good condition.

“This time we are going to sit down and reach an agreement so that the Alausí canton can benefit somewhere directly,” he said.

The proposal of that Municipality is that at least the local labor of ex-railroad workers from Alause be used, and it hopes that a percentage of the income generated by the railway stays in that territory.

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Will Smith, American actor visited Ecuador to record a documentary for ‘National Geographic’. He was in Alausí, in the province of Chimborazo, in one of the railroad cars. Photo: Courtesy

The government’s approach is that it be sustainable over time and that it does not cost the State and incorporate more sections.

In parallel, the participation of private companies that are dedicated to luxury tourism is sought.

Herrera pointed out that there are two interested firms, one of them with a presence in Peru, to concession the operation of certain products.

“Of these two companies, neither is interested in concessioning and maintaining the railway network (…) they say: give me train sections where I bring my vehicles and rent me the passage, that is, rent me the track,” he explained.

Jorge Carrera, who was manager of the railway, maintained that the plans were always fulfilled in the rehabilitation and operation.

He assured that it was declared the best tourism project in South America for 4 years in a row with more than 239,000 tourists a year, 5,000 direct jobs created, and more than 15,000 indirect ones.

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The State will always have to maintain the railway network, added Herrera.

The official pointed out that something must be done with this infrastructure, since around 4 million a year are allocated to maintain the network, the train cars, payment to guards to take care of the stations and payment to retirees as well as turning on the machines. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso


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