El Trole / Los Trolebuses de
The Trolleybus System of


Allen Morrison

Part 2: Centro, Av. Maldonado

[Go to Part 1: Introduction, Av. 10 de Agosto]
[Go to Part 3: "Trolesur", Quitumbe]
[Go to Part 4: "El Trolebús", El Labrador]

Av. 10 de Agosto ends at the north edge of the Centro Histórico, a hilly part of the city with colonial structures and old churches that UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 1978. The trolleybus lanes separate and begin a roller coaster ride up and down narrow streets. There is no other path, no other way for them to travel between the north and south sides of town. The view in this photograph is south. Trolleybus 37, traveling north, is leaving the Centro Histórico on Calle Montúfar [see map]. Southbound trolleybuses will follow Calle Guayaquil on the right. [Peter Haseldine]

Climbing the hill on Calle Guayaquil [see map]. The doorways on the left reveal the steep grade. View is north, toward the spires of the Basílica del Voto Nacional. Electric trams ran here from 1914 until 1948. No signage or neon is allowed in the Centro Histórico and only trolleybuses may use the lane on the left. Southbound number 24 was following circuito C1, between Estación La "Y" and Estación El Recreo, in October 2007. [Peter Haseldine]

The top of the hill. Calle Guayaquil near Parada Plaza Grande [see map]. Southbound 35 was photographed in October 2007. [Peter Haseldine]

Some streets in the Centro Histórico have been taken over by El Trole completely! No other vehicles allowed. Northbound trolleybus 24 is running east on Calle Manabí, near Parada Plaza del Teatro [see map]. The stately structure with the column in the background is the Teatro Nacional. Until May 2002 northbound trolleybuses turned east on Calle Mejía, two blocks south. This photograph was taken in October 2007. [Peter Haseldine]

Plaza Santo Domingo is a popular gathering place in the Centro Histórico [see map]. Santo Domingo Church, built in the 16th century, divides the city into north and south. Northbound trolleybus 08 hides the parada. The northbound and southbound trolleybus lines rejoin here. The trolleybus, its wires and the taxicab provide the only evidence that this photograph was taken in the 21st century. [Peter Haseldine]

The only word on the street is "Trole"! Northbound and southbound trolleybuses and other road vehicles share the narrow lanes around Plaza Santo Domingo [see map]. The buildings on the left can be seen in the rear of the previous view. Number 65 is one of 59 new trolleybuses acquired in 1999 [see Part 3]. It was photographed in October 2007. [Peter Haseldine]

Santo Domingo Church towers over the north end of Av. Pedro Vicente Maldonado, the principal thoroughfare on the south side of town [see map]. The previous photograph was taken just around the corner in the distance. As on the plaza by the church, trolleybuses must share the pavement here with automobiles and other vehicles. [Peter Haseldine]

Looking south down Av. Maldonado [see map]. This was a favorite spot for postcard views a century ago (see 1914 view with a tram). That's Parada Cumandá at the bottom of the hill [see next picture]. Note pavement wear and the automobiles and vans parked on the sidewalk! [Peter Haseldine]

Parada Cumandá, looking north [see map]. The towers of Santo Domingo Church are visible in the upper left corner. This is one of the busiest paradas on the system because it serves Quito's intercity bus terminal. It also seems to be a popular playground. [El Comercio, Quito, 20 December 1998]

South of Cumandá, Av. Maldonado climbs a hill, then drops steeply down again into the valley of the Machángara River [see map]. The camera is facing south. The unidentified trolleybus has left Parada Recoleta and was traveling north in October 2007. [Peter Haseldine]

There are two places on the Quito trolleybus system where the route has changed since 1995. One was in the Centro Histórico, where a short section of the northbound route was moved from Calle Mejía to Calle Manabí in 2002 [see above]. The other was 1.5 km of line south of the Machángara River [see map]. Originally the line split here and southbound trolleybuses turned west from Av. Maldonado onto Calle Carlos María de la Torre, shown below. Automobiles and other vehicles were allowed to drive only north on this street. This is southbound trolleybus 9 in March 1996. [AM]

Northbound trolleybuses always ran in this area as they run today: down the hill on Av. Maldonado toward the Machángara River [see map]. But in 1996 they were the only vehicles that traveled north here; other road vehicles ran only south. Northbound 6 (later renumbered 06) at Parada Colina in March 1996. [AM]

In 2003 Av. Maldonado was rebuilt, the wires on Calle Carlos María de la Torre were removed, and thereafter trolleybuses ran in both directions on this hill section of Av. Maldonado [see map]. Other vehicles are also allowed to run here. This is trolleybus 65 in October 2007. [Peter Haseldine]

Trolleybus 04 farther south on Av. Maldonado in October 1996, when trolleybuses still ran only north [see map]. The track of the Guayaquil & Quito Railway leads to its terminal behind the photographer. Its isolated location on the top of a hill was the reason that Quito built its first tram line in 1914. Electric trams built by J. G. Brill Co. in Philadelphia were transported over these rails and later ran on this street. [Steve Morgan]

The junction of six streets at Plaza Villaflora was also rebuilt in 2003 and the parada for the trolleybuses was placed underground [see map]. There are long below-street approaches to the plaza, for trolleybuses only, on both sides. Quito has a subway! Green 09 and green 01. [Peter Haseldine]

The underground platforms at Parada Villaflora [see map]. Note the platform's height above the pavement and the folding "bridgeplate" that connects it to the trolleybus floor. The sign on the wall advises passengers to please cross at the "zebra stripes" (crosswalk). See feeder bus above. [Peter Haseldine]

Another view of Parada Villaflora, looking north, around 3 pm [see map]. Passengers use all three doors to board a trolleybus that already looks crowded. [Peter Haseldine]

Estación El Recreo, 4 km south of the Centro Histórico, was the original southern terminus of the trolleybus line. The trolleybus garage and shops are behind it [see map and satellite view below]. Trolleybus 16, shown here in March 1996, will pass the entrance, then turn left off Av. Maldonado into the platform area. [AM]

Trolleybuses 06, 13 and 38 exchanging passengers on the platform at Estación El Recreo in October 1996 [see map]. Since about 2005, trolleybuses have run in both directions through these lanes, with high platform loading on both sides. [Steve Morgan]

The platforms at Estación El Recreo in March 1996 [see map]. Diesel buses stop out of view on the right. The rope kept passengers in line. [AM]


A Google Earth satellite view from about the year 2002: 1 Av. Maldonado – 2 a trolleybus preparing to turn left into Estación El Recreo – 3 Estación El Recreo – 4 Guayaquil & Quito Railway – 5 trolleybus yards, garage and shops – 6 El Recreo Shopping Center. [Also see map.] [Google Earth]


Go to Part 1: Introduction, Av. 10 de Agosto
Go to Part 3: "Trolesur", Quitumbe
Continue to Part 4: "El Trolebús", El Labrador




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