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Published on : Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Jorge Eduardo Carrera, General Manager of Ferrocarriles del Ecuador received this award at a glittering black-tie dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel, saying; “Tren Crucero represents the fulfilment of our company’s mission to improve and recover Ecuador’s world-famous railway infrastructure and then use it to help promote tourism and sustainable economic development.
“The launch of Tren Crucero has been a great success. Major UK tour operators and specialist companies such as Great Rail Journeys have reported exceptionally good sales and are asking us for additional departure dates in 2014 in order to meet growing demand. We targeted the UK for the promotion of Tren Crucero because we knew it was a train-loving country and we have been delighted by this response.”
The Tren Crucero project began with the $250m refurbishment of the world famous, 105 year old, railway line that links Quito with Guayaquil, travelling through a range of breathtaking scenery such as the majestic Avenue of the Volcanoes’, the spectacular Devil’s Nose and the lush Cloud Forests of the Amazon.
More than 5,000 jobs were created by the re-construction and re-opening of this historic railway system, regarded as one of the world’s greatest feats of railway engineering, and it is already making a huge contribution to Ecuador’s tourism economy.
Ferrocarriles del Ecuador then commissioned the creation of the ‘Cruise Train’ itself, based on four lovingly restored railway carriages built in Spanish Baroque style and capable of carrying up to 54 passengers in great comfort. Wherever possible, these carriages are pulled by a similarly reconditioned and historically authentic steam engine.
The final stage of the project was the creation of a four-day, three-night itinerary for the train, (Tren Crucero means ‘Cruise Train’) staying overnight in hacienda-type hotels and visiting local markets and many cultural, historic and tourist attractions en-route. This journey is a wonderful and authentic experience, described by passengers as “a great and beautiful train journey, “a great way to explore Ecuador” and even “a management triumph”!
Passenger feedback also revealed that highlights of the journey included the stretch from Quito to Lasso via the Avenue of Volcanoes’, (containing ten still active volcanoes!), the amazing landscape between Latacunga and Riobamba where the train climbs 3,600 metres to the highest rail station in Ecuador, and daily close contact with the many indigenous native communities en route.