When Ecuador President General Eloy Alfaro took office in 1895, and announced that a new railway line would be built connecting the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital, Quito, in the highlands, a fierce opposition arose starring both conservatives and liberals. Many people at that time thought the Andes could not be conquered by rail. Despite protests and discouragement, General Alfaro hired a couple of US contractors and tasked them to build the "most difficult railway in the world." A partnership between the government and a North American firm was forged leading to the foundation of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company, and construction of the historic line began in 1899.
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