Posts Tagged: transit oddity



Chiva Express – Ecuador’s Own Railbus/Busrail

All board!! Image by Flickr user LR Fox.

In our never ending quest to document and showcase transport oddities, a reader has sent us a link to a rather delightful and fun transport vehicle from Ecuador.

The Chiva Express as it’s called, is a traditional Latin American bus (known as a chiva bus) which was converted into a train. While chiva buses typically function as a form of public transit in rural Ecuador and Colombia, this “rail bus” was merely a tourist attraction which gave visitors an exhilarating ride through some of the country’s most scenic spots. In typical chiva bus fashion, it offered adventurous riders with openair rooftop seats.

Unfortunately, according to the operators of the Chiva Express, this ride is no longer operational as of June 2010 due to “challenges involving rail operations in Ecuador.” A source revealed that legislative changes made in 2009 by the Ecuadorian Railway Company no longer permitted passengers to ride on the roof of trains. After seeing some more photos of this system (see below), I presume (and I could be wrong) that the rule revisions may perhaps be grounded in issues related to safety concerns. Nonetheless, in my opinion, if people can build and safely operate/ride an openair gondola, then somehow riding on a train’s rooftop platform above a gorge somehow fails to sound nearly as frightening.

Anyone still wanna ride on the roof? Image by Flick user MetropolitanTouring.

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