Into the Deep Blue
In 1908, Ecuador completed one of the most audacious engineering marvels of the early 20th century: namely, the completion of the railway from 8000 foot Quito to the lowland coastal city of Guayaquil.
An extensive quote, from the Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture (Encyclopedia.com), is here...
"During the late nineteenth century, Ecuador sought to emulate the success of other nations that had used railroads to create commercial opportunities and to spread modernity. However, railroads are a technology poorly suited to Ecuador's rugged Andean topography."
"The line, completed in 1908, proved an astonishing engineering feat, rising some 10,000 feet in but 50 miles, crossing the Chan Chan River some twenty-six times. The 281-mile line reduced travel time between the coast and the capital from two weeks to about twelve hours."
"Unfortunately, the railway proved as expensive to operate as it had been to build, and the enterprise almost never showed a profit. The high hopes for it proved unrealistic: The sierra remained economically isolated. Worse, servicing the foreign debt incurred in building the railroad became a bitterly contentious issue."