Guayaquil Ecuador: History of Tramways

Posted on August 19, 2017 • Filed under: Culture, Ecuador, Ecuador Trivia

Allen Morrison: Ecuador’s principal port and largest city (2000 population: 2 million) sprawls along the west bank of the Guayas River, about 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean [see area map]. At sea level and latitude 2° S, its climate is quite different from that of the country’s capital, Quito, up in the mountains at 9,350 feet, but is tempered by the icy waters of the Humboldt Current. Guayaquil is the center of Ecuador’s manufacturing and fishing industries.

The Ferrocarril del Sur (later Guayaquil & Quito Railway) started construction in 1871 at Durán, on the other side of the Guayas River, and began carrying passengers to Milagro in 1874 [see area map]. The G&Q never crossed the river into Guayaquil. Another line, Ferrocarril a la Costa, ran west from Guayaquil to Salinas, but didn’t begin operation until 1923. The first rail operation in Guayaquil was a horsecar line that Empresa del Salado opened along Av. 9 de Octubre, from Plaza Rocafuerte to a park on the Estero Salado, on 20 July 1873 [see city map]. Track gauge was 30 inches and the trams were built by John Stephenson Co. in New York [see Brown in BIBLIOGRAPHY].

Tramway development in the 1880s is unclear, but Empresa del Salado seems to have built a branch to the cemetery in 1882 [see map]. The Empresa de Carros Urbanos, founded on 20 November 1883, acquired the Salado lines and ordered an assortment of trams from John Stephenson in New York – both single- and double-deck, and for both 30 inch and 56 1/2 inch (“standard”) gauge track.  Read Full Paper


guayaquil tramway picture

guayaquil tramway map

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