Chimbacalle neighborhood is one of the most emblematic areas of the capital of Ecuador, both for the thousands of day-to-day stories that were forming this working-class neighborhood, as well as for being home of Quito’s train station.
Its original name, in prehispanic times, was Pillcokancha, quichwa name that came from "Kancha", which refers to an open space, and "Pillco", word that designates the colored feathers used as an offering and burnt in the choice of “ Coya”, couple of the Inca King. Thus, in this place was chosen Paico Vello or Tocoto Vello, who was the wife of Atahualpa, last Tawantisuyu Inca.
The name Pillcokancha lasted until the end of XVI century. During the colonial era was renamed San Juan de Machángara. Back then it was home of several indigenous people, especially of caciques Panzaleo, Sigchos and Puruhaes, the heads of several indigenous communities. This served to the Spanish conquerors to centralize power in Quito.
With time the quarter began to take the name of its main road: Chimbacalle. This hybrid between Spanish word (calle) and Kichwa (chimba) denotes the character that this street had. "Chimba" refers to "forward", Chimbacalle means "street in front of” because this street was parallel to the main access route to Quito from the south.
Chimbacalle is the name that has endures for the neighborhood, but not to the main road which took the name of Pedro Vicente Maldonado (or just Maldonado, as people call it). Thus, this area was a rural indigenous parish in Quito until the railroad arrived in 1908.
In 1908 Chimbacalle began to change drastically. Train Station led to the creation of several foods and lodging business, the first factories were installed near the Quito station and therefore, all the workers and employees of these factories change the neighborhood and made it little by little a mixture between industrial and residential neighborhood.
All this commercial activity led to the creation of the tramway, the first urban transport that crossed the entire length of Quito in the early twentieth century. The train started at the north from Colón Avenue and 10 de Agosto (in front of Circasiana, and Caamaño Jijón mansion) to the south train station in Chimbacalle.
Since then, population began to growth in Quito, north was populated by upper class families, the south was inhabited by working class, workers and indigenous.
Today, this area has become the gateway to the historic center of Quito. With several readjustments and several buildings restored, most at the early last century, it seeks to recover its meaning and function. We have the Iglesia Vieja, the Theatre Mexico, the textile factory "La International", one of the first in Quito that now houses the Interactive Museum of Science (MIC), in addition Machángara Linear Park which runs along a good stretch of the emblem Quito River (the river Machángara). But in addition to these attractions, we have the famous and historic Chimbacalle Train Station.
Chimbacalle Railway Station plans to become a railway museum, as well as to continue their historic role. The Ecuadorian Railways Company currently wants to readjust all the railroads of the country to recover the mean of transport, that one’s upon a time was a symbol of national union.
We invite you to travel in train; the only route that runs from Chimbacalle (for now) is which goes to the city of Latacunga (Cotopaxi province). For information about other routes, timetables and fares visit the website of the railway company, besides being able to make reservations.
Phone: (+5932) 295 1400
Besides having the railway station, the Theatre Mexico and the MIC, Chimbacalle neighborhood is distinguished by birth, some years ago, the International Meeting of Urban Art: Al Zur-ich where national and international artists come together to develop art projects in various neighborhoods of southern Quito. Projects are planned and executed usually between June and August to be exhibited to the public throughout the month of September. You'll be surprised to see the results, Al Zur-ich is now in its Seventh Convocation in 2009, and all look forward to its eighth version. More about Al-Zur-ich is in the website of the Colectivo Tranvia Cero, administrators of the event.
The Chimbacalle neighborhood is legendary for hosting the train station in Quito.
The cost of train ticket in Quito, roundtrip in most routes is between $ 5 - $ 10 USD for adults, half for children, adults over 65 and disabled.
The cost of train ticket in Quito depends on the route you choose. For more information visit the website of the Empresa de Ferrocarriles Del Ecuador, Railways of Ecuador, or call 1800 TRENES (873 637).
For direct buying of tickets you can go to Ecuador Railway Company, located in Bolivar Street Oe5-43 and Garcia Moreno, in Quito downtown.