Click below for summary pages for older stories
Rio Turbio Railway
As a development of the news about the Rio Turbio system in the two
paragraphs that follow (7th September 2004),
Locomotives International 71 carried a report - since confirmed by other
correspondents - that the railway is considering reintroducing steam power owing
to the soaring cost of diesel and the poor condition of their locomotives. The
country is in a poor economic state and conventional alternatives like buying
newer, more fuel efficient diesels is not an option. Shaun McMahon is reported
to be working on the project which will see 116 (actually 107) and then 119
returned to service. Shaun has now sent me a news
release detailed ambitious development plans for the Rio Turbio system (2nd
November 2004), including a possible international link to Chile. Hugh Odom's
site has additional
news on developments (5th June 2005). Martyn Bane's site also contains an
August 2006 press
release which confirms that big things are afoot in the south of the country
(added 25th August 2006).
Martyn Bane has visited the Rio Turbio system and an extensive report (1st February 2004) of his visit covering the remaining steam
locomotives was posted on his own site (some of which now appears on http://www.martynbane.co.uk/modernsteam/ldp/rfirt/santafes.htm), similarly a
visit to the FCAF
(2nd February 2004). It seems that tourist steam may start to
operate at Rio Turbio (11th March 2004).
Bernd Seiler reports (23rd February 1999) "Steam on the Rio Gallegos system
finished some time in 1997 following the arrival of diesels." Ian Thomson (18th
October 1999) places it in November 1996 although steam was used with diesels for braking
purposes into 1997. Yard shunting will have lasted rather longer and several enthusiast
groups have since run steam charters on stretches of the line. Reports have appeared
locally that steam may be introduced as part of a plan to develop the area for tourism.
Click here for one such
(Spanish language) report (3rd June 2000). Click here for more information (link added 2nd October
The Train at the End of the World
This is a 500mm gauge (narrow gauge or miniature
according to your point of view) running out of Ushuaia into a national park in
the deep south of the country - it carries large numbers of tourists many of
whom arrive in cruise liners. Check out the
English language version of
their website, some basic information is also available
on this site. For an excellent video clip on the railway see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F60Eta_ao54
(7th January 2009)
Currently it has 3 steam locomotives on the
"Camila" 2-6-2T (Winson Engineering ? / 1995)
"Ing. L. D. Porta" 0-4-0 + 0-4-0 Garratt (Tranex, Carupá, Argentina ? / 1994)
"Engineer Zubieta" 0-4-0 + 0-4-0 Garratt (Barries Engineering, Girdlestone & Associates, Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa ? / 2006)
For some time Shaun McMahon was chief engineer
here and as such was involved in ensuring that the steam locomotives were
modified to reflect best 'modern' practice as far as was practical. Articles on
this have appeared from time to time and are best accessed via the 'Modern
Steam Index Page' on this site, although you can access some of the key ones
directly as follows:
The Esquel Railway
The railway is under threat again as the
provincial government announced a 'temporary closure' following a strike by
railway workers (http://www.argentinaindependent.com/tag/la-trochita/).
While the 'Old Patagoninan Express' is iconic, it has been the opposite of a
cash cow for as long as anyone can remember and news like this is bound to deter
individual and tour group visitors. However, a later Spanish language reports
stated that the dispute had been settled and the railway would resume operation on 2nd February 2013 (http://www.infobae.com/notas/692737-Avanza-el-dialogo-por-La-Trochita-en-Chubut.html)
(1st February 2013).
Fabrice Lanoue spent a week in the country in April 2011,
he has produced a two part illustrated report which includes an eye witness
account of a spectacular derailment on the
Esquel line (updated with a video link, 28th June
2011), click here for the second
part (17th May 2011). Following the
derailment, I understand that trains were suspended pending an enquiry,
Richard Wallace tells me (31st July 2011) that
the management had told him that they expected to be running trains again in
August or maybe September 2011. Certainly it appears that operations have
resumed in 2012 (see below and also Richard
Wallace's November 2012 report, 17th December 2012)
La Trochita's own website is now http://www.patagoniaexpress.com
and the timetable is here http://www.patagoniaexpress.com/el_trochita.htm.
The latter has contact email addresses for operations at both ends of the line.
Thanks to Hans Schaefer for tipping me off on this one (19th
July 2012). David Thornhill points out that the UK's Railway Gazette reported an allocation
of just over GBP 1 million to renovate the line, welcome, but realistically this
is small beer for such a long line (18th October 2007).
There are some earlier
reports available. (last entry 15th February 2005).
Getting up-to-date information on the Esquel operation has never been easy,
but Chris Lewis has emailed me the current (early 2005) schedule. I have made
this available as a
PDF file (15th December 2004). Chris has
now (15th December 2005) send me the
2006 timetable too.
Martin Coombs has his own site covering the 'Railways of the Far South' (2nd December
2002) including information on several present and former narrow gauge railways. Martin wrote a brief report of his
December 2000 but pressure of work meant it was delayed (added 22nd February 2001).
Older Trip Reports
Colin Churcher has sent me an account of his trip
there in 1995. Manfred Schoeler sent me a report of his visit in
August and September 1996 with two of his pictures.See also the TUT report (3rd Dec
1998) for details of then current activity.
Other Preservation Items
Fabrice Lanoue spent a week in the country in April 2011, he
has produced a two part illustrated report the first
of which covers Esquel, the second part
covers other locations (17th May 2011).
Robin Patrick has provided an
illustrated report of the November 2008 RTC trip which included some of the
locations above (9th December 2008), while Bill Longley-Cook somewhat later has
different perspective (16th August 2009). Neil Edwards was here with a tour group in August 2009 and reports
on his brief visit to Posadas for the 'preserved locomotives' (23rd
August 2009). Frank Ludwig reports on preserved
steam at Posadas, Concepción del Uruguay and Tandil (28th
Richard Wallace reported on a
November 2012 RTC trip (17th December 2012).
Marcelo Benoit (28th June 1999) has sent the a large number of pictures covering preserved locomotives in the
country and I have added a
second set of photos (10th May 2000). I have added more pictures of
preserved locomotives (1st November 2001) which includes a preserved narrow gauge
(Luttermöller to me but the owner says Klien Lindner) 0-10-0 shades of Java, Indonesia.
I have since added a
third page - picture left - covering some of the locomotives of the Ferroviario Club del Central Argentino
(http://www.fcca.org.ar) in Perez,
Santa Fe (updated 9th October 2012).
Trevor Heath has sent me this link on the Bermuda Railway - http://www.bermuda-online.org/railway.htm
- a wonderful look at the remains of another 'long forgotten railway' which
includes the remains of an old Baldwin steam locomotive, it is not clear when
this picture was taken (9th May 2008).
John Middleton was in Bolivia in 2008 and again in 2009 and
has made a detailed report of his visit which includes many 'new discoveries'
and seeks to correct reports elsewhere. Click here for the illustrated reports, Part
1 and Part
2 (pictures added to part 1, 11th November 2009).
Chris Lewis was in Bolivia in September 2004 (24th
October 2004) and reports noting six steam locomotives in Guaqui on Lake
Titicaca. Ian Thomson adds "The locomotives at Guaqui are, for the most part, as in "World of South Américan Steam", from some 30 years ago. The saddle tank is a
Peckett. The main changes over the past decades have been: (i) Hunslet 2-8-0 No. 10 was sent to the stillborn Museo at Sucre (although where it is at right now I have no idea), I think bearing the makers' plates from No. 9; (ii) a couple of locomotives have been cut up, Nos. 4 and 6 if I remember correctly, but I'll have to check; (iii) No. 704 was sent to Guaqui from the Uyuni-Villazón line, initially to work tourist trains under an also stillborn arrangement with
Wagon-Lits. No. 704, which was built by
ALCO was operable until some seven years ago, at least, and I rented it a few times for tour groups. Also
operable was No. 9. All the locomotives belong to residual ENFE. I included Nos. 9 and 704 in the list of rolling stock which should be declared national monuments.
No. 704 is the only non F.C. de Guaqui machine at Guaqui. The 1939 diesel No. 1 is dumped at
Viacha, or at least was when I was last there a few years ago."
Ian Thomson reports on his latest visit (11th November 2003): "In Santa Cruz de la
Sierra, Nos. 544 and 796 have been placed in a shed specially constructed for them in the
Ferrocarril Oriental workshop area. They are visible from the street. No. 544 is operable,
and I am told regularly appears on a local TV ad. The Company seems to be investing quite
heavily in refurbishing passenger equipment for tourist charters. All other dumped steam
locomotives have disappeared, presumably for scrap, except the remains of an ex-FCAB
Vulcan Foundry 4-8-2. I am told that the locomotives dumped at Roboré are still there.
Roboré is shortly to become less inaccessible, since a highway is being built, parallel
to the railway, between Santa Cruz and Puerto Suarez/Corumbá. Once opened, the Railway
will withdraw regular passenger services." Marcelo Benoit questions this
last statement (3rd August 2007), "The railway has invested heavily to COMPETE with buses despite the opening of the road (I cannot call it a highway)."
For recent pictures of the steam graveyard at Uyuni, see http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/01/train-graveyard-in-bolivia.html
(thanks to Trevor Heath for this one, 5th March 2008,
this site cannot be accessed from China)
Torsten Schneider saw no live
steam in October 2001 but some interesting relics including the famous
graveyard at Uyuni (24th October
2001). CRJ 104 reported a return to steam at Santa Cruz in August 1995. Ian Thomson reports (14th May 1997)
"The guy in charge of liquidating ENFE's assets, whom I have known personally for
around 20 years, went to look at the Vulcans and the Hitachi in Cochabamba over the
weekend. I am hopeful that at least two of the bunch can be saved and put back into
working order, one of them in Chile. I have been invited by the Ferrocarril Oriental to
work out a project for tourist trains, and hope to do so in the first week of June. Steam
could be used on a part of the runs. No. 544 is no longer working but is being kept nice
and clean in the depot at Santa Cruz, and I presume No. 796 must be available too,
although I did not see it last time I was in Santa Cruz."
Ian Thomson adds (29th Nov 1997): "No. 544 took a train, which I arranged for
Ffestiniog Travel with the Passenger Manager, from Warnes to Santa Cruz via
Saturday 22nd November. The locomotive was not in a very good condition. The trip took
around seven hours instead of the intended four. Injectors of both kinds were mainly to
blame. The train consisted in the ex-FCALP diner and sleeping cars, plus miscellaneous
wagons. We nearly got in late enough to take advantage of the sleeper in nighttime
See the TUT report (3rd Dec
1998) for details of the then current activity.
Brazil is a nightmare country to cover for the steam enthusiast. Apart from
its shear size, 'Inventario das
Locomotivas a Vapor no Brazil' by Regina Perez (9th
December 2006) lists 419 extant steam locomotives. For more information on this
book see http://www.revistaferroviaria.com.br/memoriaferroviaria/index_ing.htm. I can't afford
a copy but I am told it is well worth obtaining. However, the percentage of
locomotives listed which are anything like operable is tiny and the smaller
tourist operations come and go at an alarming rate.
I have spent a day using various sources to put together an
outline guide to tourist railways in the country (21st
October 2008, latest update Marcelo Lordeiro pictures of Bauru, added 17th
October 2012 and information on ABPF Regional Sul de Minas page 24th
October 2012) and would appeal to those who have recent experience of
travelling independently here to let me have comments, reports and some pictures
so it can become a useful ongoing resource. Tom Schultz spent 3 days in November
2009 on the tourist railways in São Paulo and Minas Gerais - read his
illustrated report (17th December 2009), see also Cliff
Schoff's report of his January 2011 visit (12th April
2011). When I culled broken links on this site those for Brazil were among the
The Brazilian Magazine Revista Ferroviaria (http://www.revistaferroviaria.com.br)
has an English language (part) mirror site http://www.revistaferroviaria.com.br/index_ing.asp
from which some information on steam preservation may be found (thanks to Henry Posner III
for this one, updated 21st October 2008).
Steam on the EFDTC
The metre gauge EFDTC has been long dieselised but in its day
provided some spectacular steam activity. James Waite joined a
tour group which sought to recreate the good old days (28th
August 2013). At the same time James has written about the
history of the line and also provided some
evocative pictures from his own visit in 1977 (28th
Surviving Brazilian Steam Locomotives
I know of no list on the web (and the book mentioned above is bound to have
been out of date by the time it was published). Eddie Edmundson provided a long list of surviving steam locomotives in
North East Brazil (29th January 2002) and a survey of steam locomotives spotted outside
the North East of Brazil (originally uploaded 29th January 2002, Martin Murray
added some later observations, 3rd April 2002). Torsten
Schneider updated (17th April 2002) his own summary of steam locomotives/sites
in the country - he knows it is incomplete and we would both welcome help in filling
in the gaps and adding other locations. Torsten's list includes a large number of web site
links (many of which have since died) and valuable access details. (I agree with Torsten it would be difficult to combine
his and Eddie's lists!).
Some of the better known large steam locomotives are covered in Dona
Teresa Cristina Survivors
(latest entry 10th April 2006). For me, the most charismatic locomotives
of this railway were the 'Mallets' - actually they were not true examples as
they were not compounds - and I was very pleased to hear that the restoration of
2-6-6-2 204 by the ABPF at Rio Negrinho had reached the stage where it has been
steamed and moved under its own power as seen in the following YouTube clips http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A81oSh7QLCI,
(15th June 2012).
Sentinel Steam alive and other working steam
What must be the most remarkable story of 2002 was the survival of two active Sentinel locomotives at the
Amsted-Maxion wagon works in Cruzeiro
(SP province). An illustrated article (showing 166, 0-4-0 Sentinel, one of 8398-8400/1931)
appeared in the Brazilian Magazine Revista Ferroviaria in
July 2002. Although these have appeared in various preserved locomotive lists, it seems
that, in the UK at least, no-one seemed to know that they were actually 'working
(4th September 2002). Thanks to Henry Posner III for initially tipping me off on this one.
Bought in 1960, the two survivors work in turn (the remains of a third are derelict)
normally within the 'raw material yard'. Prior arranged visitors are very welcome to observe them....
They were reported to be still at work in September 2008 (7th
October 2008), Neil Smith saw one
at work on the FarRail tour in August 2009 (23rd
August 2009) and James Waite was here in August 2012 and also saw one
of them in steam (2nd September 2012).
A report appeared in the UK Guardian newspaper on 6th March 1999, detailing the
continued use of a 1927 Kerr Stuart at Usina Serra Grande at Sao Jose de Laje, some 250km
south of Recife. This is probably metre gauge 0-6-2T #4 (4193/1927), the system is
reported to still have about 20km of track and bring in 20% of the harvest.
Unfortunately, I do not have a sufficiently good copy of the article to reproduce the
photograph that went with it. The Dorrridge Travel group was here in late 1999 and I
believe they saw active steam at work.
Although (3rd June 2000) Sergio Matire told me about Tubarão (see below),
Torsten Schneider said there is no longer active steam here (17th April 2002):
"By the way since Brazil needs a lot of electric power, the complex
at Capivari near Tubarão is working at full power to burn coal to make steam and generate
electric power. Since this happens all motive power of Ferrovia Tereza Cristina is working
in this, but, yes always we have but - they need more locomotives and also someone
remembered the steam locos, 405 and 410 which have returned to work in the line as
shunting locos, but on steam how long this will work?? The statistics says that Brazil
need electric power at least for one more year, imported from Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia
and Venezuela... "
São João del-Rei
This is perhaps the most famous museum operation in Brazil. Cliff Schoff travelled on the
São João del-Rei preserved railway in
October 1999 and sent me a
report (27th December 1999). Cliff paid a return this to the railway in November 2001,
you can read his report.
(15th Jan 2002) or view the
accompanying pictures (26th January 2002).
Other steam preservation items
Things are stirring at Cajamar, where the very considerable
remains of the 600mm gauge former Perús Pirapora Railroad are being sifted through by
members of the IFPPC (Society for Preservation of Perús Pirapora Railroad) with
a view to a partial restoration and operation. Locomotives are now being moved
off site for restoration and one has been steamed (7th
Check out the Society's blog http://www.efperuspirapora.blogspot.com.br/
(new address, 2nd January 2013) - for regular updates, this site also has many pictures - http://www.thorsteamworld.com
(both added 25th January 2011). Sergio Martire reports that trains are running
every Sunday between 10.00 and 17.00, click
here for a location map. (4th November 2011).
John Kirchner has supplied a nice set of pictures
which well illustrate this "funky, fun place" (28th
December 2011). James Waite was here in August 2012 and sent a brief report (9th
January 2013). James has also supplied some
historical background and a (provisional) locomotive list for the line,
together with some archive pictures taken back
in 1977 (9th January 2013).
For more information check out
these sites which have then recent pictures (4th September 2009):
If this name means little to you then check out this YouTube
clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-uszh5mnSE.
The LCGB had a very successful visit to Brazil in
February/March 2012, but unfortunately an on-line version of the report never
appeared on the club's website. While much of what they saw has previously been
well documented, this delightful 600mm gauge Kerr Stuart Wren (1194/12) was an
unexpected addition to the itinerary. It is at the Army Construction Battalion's Depot at Lages
and had recently been steamed up and down 100 metres of track on a run that is
expected to be extended. Thanks to Ian Wright for the pictures (12th
500mm gauge in my books is about the minimum for a 'real'
steam powered railway. Jung 0-4-2T (#1864) which has been stored for many years at the Barranco scrap yard in Curitiba
has been cosmetically restored and put on a plinth with some wagons in front of the building of the scrap
yard reports Steen Larsen (11th August 2009), at
the same time metre gauge 0-4-0Ts OK # 6589 and Maffei #3874 are both still
present in semi-derelict condition. The Jung and Maffei came from Usina Leão Utinga (Near Rio Largo) in Alagoas
according to Eddie
Edmunson's report. The OK is an amazing geared loco - see http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/org/murray/ok%206589.htm.
See also Steen
Larsen's 2007 pictures of the other two locomotives (12th August 2009).
Neil Edwards has sent pictures
of two metre gauge preserved locomotives at Estacio Ferroviaria, Cruzeiro (23rd
Steve Pratt joined a Brazilian
Steam Safari in September 2008 and has provided a list of active and other
steam locos seen (7th October 2008).
Jose Beraldo has sent me an
update of current preservation news (but this was in 1999!) and for a while
regularly sent me snippets about preserved steam. Sergio Matire later
contributed to this series. Check
it out. (latest picture 24th December 2008). The major preservation site at Campinas has its own web site http://www.abpf.org.br (added 30th November 2001).
Eddie Edmunson's report of a
May 1998 visit to the city of Campos dos Goytacazes in the State of Rio de Janeiro and
a live preserved metre gauge Baldwin has reached me rather late! (additional information,
23rd December 2003) and to this I have added picture of unidentified preserved 0-6-0ST and 0-4-0ST in
Brazil (20th/28th December.1998).
Older reports are now available as follows:
Robin Patrick has provided an
illustrated report of the November 2008 RTC trip which included some of the
locations below (9th December 2008), while Bill Longley-Cook somewhat later has
different perspective (16th August 2009). Richard
Wallace's November 2012 report covers the wine train (suspended), and trips
with 620 (Valdivia) and 820 (Temuco), (17th December 2012).
Colchagua Valley Wine Train
for reports predating the inauguration (last entry 1st April 2004).
The Wine Train has finally gone into service, reports Ian Thomson (5th May
2004) it has its own (Spanish language) website http://www.trendelvinochile.cl/
(link added 8th November 2006):
"The Colchagua Valley Wine Train made its highly successful inaugural run on
Wednesday 14th April. The five year gestation period has been criticized for being
lengthy, but it is not easy getting together a project which involved rebuilding 55 kms of
abandoned track, two abandoned stations and a 2-6-0 which was last steamed in 1982. The
total investment cost came to something like USD 4 millions. Financial support was
received from local municipalities, Chilean State Railways, the Association of local wine
producers, Greenwich S.A., the Cardoen Foundation, the regional government, and others.
Credit is due to all the directors of the Wine Train Corporation, and especially Mr.
Carlos Cardoen, President, Messrs. Luis Ajenjo and Nicolás Flaño, present and previous
Vice Presidents, respectively, (and present and previous Presidents of Chilean State
Railways) as well as to Mr. Jorge Carrasco, Manager of the Project, and his colleagues,
Messrs. Domingo Buscaglia and Carlos Vildósola, who coordinated the restoration of the
locomotive and Mr. Alejandro Mancilla who helped likewise with the carriages.
President Ricardo Lagos joined the train halfway along its journey from San Fernando,
133 km south from Santiago on the main line, and Santa Cruz, an intermediate station but
the one where the main festivities took place. He declared the Wine Train officially
inaugurated at a well orchestrated ceremony held at Santa Cruz. Just about everything went
right on the day. Two weeks before, on the trial run, the 1913 vintage Chilean built but
North British designed 2-6-0 No. 607 had produced a lot of smoke but hardly enough steam
to activate the whistle, but on the 14th it did everything asked of it. It was still coal
burning which at the end of the summer caused concern that the sparks could set on fire
the very vineyards that the Train is meant to promote. But, even though on the day, after
a murky start, the sun shone through, there was overnight rain, which eliminated serious
Services for the public commenced on Sunday 25th April, but for the first couple of
months trains will be diesel hauled, whilst the 2-6-0 is converted to burning oil. Tickets
are available at CLP 35 000 each, which includes, in addition to the ride on the Wine
Train: train travel from and to Santiago; wine tasting; lunch at the Santa Cruz Plaza
hotel; entry to the Colchagua Museum, also at Santa Cruz, and; local transport in Santa
What actually happened to the oil burning conversion is unclear, but Colin
Young saw 607 still as a coal burner in February 2008 (26th
March 2008). In late July 2010, Ian Thomson reported "the Wine Train is currently suspended, as a result of the 27th February earthquake. The quake didn't do too much damage to the track, and none to the Train itself, but it put out of action the places the passengers visited in the destination Santa Cruz area, such as the Colchagua Museum, the Bisquett vineyard installations, the Plaza Hotel, etc.. The hope is to have the Train up and running again come September, but, as it has been loss-making, nothing is absolutely certain. The locomotive and carriages are being kept, under surveillance, in San Fernando."
(Added 13th August 2010)
Temuco heritage locomotive depot
There are signs of life in Temuco (see also below); in late 2006, there will
be steam specials using Baldwin 4-8-2 820 on certain Sundays between Temuco and
Victoria. For more information see www.museoferroviariotemuco.cl
- in Spanish of course but readily comprehensible in your favourite web based
translator. Thanks to Louis Cerny for this one (added 8th
November 2006). On
February 24th 2007, Robert Hedgecock had the pleasure of riding the Temuco railway
museum's Temuco - Victoria excursion behind 4-8-2 # 820 ( Baldwin 1938). The trip went well until Victoria when while the engine was being turned for the return trip it suffered a boiler tube failure and the passengers where forced to return to Temuco by diesel railcar or bus. This being Chile I suspect it will be quite a long time before this engine is returned to service as funding for repairs will not likely be soon in coming. However there are several other Baldwin 4-8-2s in the Temuco museum which appear in quite good condition. Also noted on the trip derelict and heavily stripped in the yard at Pua were
a pair of 2-6-0s these may be Borsig or North British engines. The station agent said they had originally been intended for a museum in the north of Chile. The next day the entire train returned to Temuco being pulled at very slow speed by French built diesel # 7147 the crew frequently stopping to oil bearing and rods
(added 4th March 2007). Trevor Heath tells me that 820 was in action in December
2011 (18th December 2011), Mark Carter points out
that the museum's site http://www.museoferroviariotemuco.cl/
advertises regular steam excursions, Tren de la Araucania, which appear to have
been relaunched in February 2010 (28th December 2011).
Roger Joanes reports (22nd March 2002):
Temuco: There are fourteen steam locos stored in the former roundhouse here, (and one
more at the passenger station). The roundhouse, which also features a steam crane and the
skeletons of a few carriages, has previously been open to the public as a museum. Although
the museum is now closed, on the day we visited the security guard was friendly and access
was no problem.
Valdivia - Antilhué: A steam excursion has run on this freight-only line every Saturday
and Sunday during the summer holiday month of February. Departure from Valdivia was at
15.00, returning from Antilhué at about 17.00. The loco is a 2-6-0 dating from around
1913, Chilean-built to a British design. It carries the number 620 (screwed on at the
front but the cabside plates were attached with velcro!). The loco ran chimney-first both
ways, turning on the loop at Antilhué. Carriages by Linke-Hofmann dated from the
1920s or 30s. It is planned to run this trip every Saturday & Sunday
during January, February, and early March 2003. Further information on website http://www.tren.cl and open the section Viajes
Visiting shipping enthusiasts may also wish to sample the SS Collico, an excursion river
steamer, while in Valdivia.
Puerto Montt: By the bus station are two plinthed 2-6-0s, one no. 606, the other
carries no identification.
Castro (Chiloe island): 0-6-0T no. 5057 from the islands narrow gauge railway
(closed 1960) is plinthed at the site of Castro station.
Following quite a few years best described as mothballed
Ferronor's 2-8-2 3511 was reported in steam for an art and food festival at Baquedano
on 29th July 2009 according to a local newspaper article (11th
Santiago Railway Museum
David Pendlebury tell me that he and Chris Cairns have produced a very
guide to the Santiago railway museum - http://www.lcgb.org.uk/html/santiagomuseum.htm
following their visit in November 2006
(24th January 2007). There are more than 30
pictures together with a map and other information on the museum.
Older reports are now available as follows:
Bogota Steam Specials
Steve Cossey tells me (30th
November 2011): "I purchased a derelict 1921 Baldwin 2-6-0 in Bogota Colombia and am having it restored to running order in the workshops at Estacion de la Sabana in
Bogota. I hope to have it running again in the original Ferrocarril del Norte livery in March 2012, at which time it will be the oldest operation steam locomotive in Colombia. I have set up a blog site to follow the restoration at
picture of the locomotive under restoration appears in James
Waite's report of his visit in December 2011 (16th
Not much mentioned on the web is 4-8-0 70 which
is preserved at La Dorada (17th May 2012),
similarly there is another
locomotive (probably Baldwin 2-8-2 62) at Chiquinquirá, Boyaca (17th
May 2012). there are a number of plinthed locomotives in the country,
does anyone have a list which could be posted on this site (18th
Don't get excited, I know of no live steam here but several visitors have
commented on the current situation in the country which includes a tourist
train and occasional freight operation. Click here for more
information (latest entry 7th November 2005). James Waite was here in
April 2012 and has supplied details and
photographs of all known (7) extant steam locomotives (24th
Until 2002, there was 'real' great American style shortline steam operation during the
annual Zafra (roughly December to April with a peak in February/March). By
2004 it was 98% plastic, I believe 2005 was 99% plastic, there was, if anything
even less in 2006 according to the
various reports received (updated, 17th March 2006). Real steam
during the 2007 was almost non-existent, with just one working steam locomotive
(and possibly one or more unreported firelesses) - see the
Zafra 2007 report (updated 30th May 2007).
How RTC can square that with "there are many steam locomotives, all over
eighty years old, twenty of which are in daily use during the Cuban sugar cane
harvest 'Zafra'" beats me. There were barely 10 real steam locomotives that
turned a wheel at all in 2005, it was certainly wasn't true in 2006 and it was
even less true in 2007. Of course, if you count steam on the tourist trains you
might get a bit nearer the mark. All the previous reports which chart the demise
of one of the last great steam experiences in the world have now been
transferred to a
Roland Beier informs me (3rd
August 2012) that during the summer holidays in July and August there is now a steam train for Cubans
every Saturday from Moron to Ciegeo de Avila and back. The price of 30 Cuban pesos (national money, = 1 GBP) covers the return trip plus a meal and a drink at the recreation park at Ciego de Avila. The loco is 1757 which is kept at Patria mill for the tourist steam excursions. Trains depart at 08:00 from Moron and at 16:00 from
Ciego. Of course, it is not "real" steam but at least it is a train dedicated to locals and not to foreign tourists.
Greenfield has provided a list of ex-Minaz steam locomotives at three
sites in Central Havana (updated 21st May 2013),
there is just one which has not yet been positively identified to my
knowledge. To which I have appended
an explanation of what is supposed to be going on there (3rd
May 2009). Trevor Heath sent a photo report showing restoration
in progress (4th December 2009). Clive Fletcher-Wood has sent me some
pictures (27th February 2011) which shows that the
restoration of 1138 has been completed (left below), 1707 is now present (centre
below) and that 1163 is still at the Aguada service station although why it
carries '457' instead of '4' as it did before is beyond me. Ray Gardiner was in
Cuba in February 2011 and reports on restored
steam next to the harbour in Havana (updated 27th
Keith Smith paid a tourist visit
to José Smith Comas Mill near Varadero which is now officially a 'sugar
museum' in November 2010 (two more pictures, 5th January 2011). At Trinidad,
Marc Enderby found 1590 formerly at Bartolome Maso on
the tourist train (21st May 2011). The number of serviceable locos used for
tourist purposes is quite considerable, the following were seen in steam in
March 2011 on a PTG tour and are shown on the Railway
Herald website (30th December 2011):
Clive Hepworth visited a number of steam tourist
sites in late 2012 and has sent an illustrated
report of what he found (updated 22nd January 2013).
If you want a quick fix of an excellent photographic display of what you
may have missed - check out David
Longman's Cuba Gallery (28th June 2007). Similarly, my own Those were the days - Zafra
Narrow Gauge Steam..., my gallery of Cuban pictures taken
between 1996 and 2001 (6th April 2010).
Minaz placed 55 redundant steam locomotives on sale
back in 2004. I am not sure how many were
ever sold, they didn't include many 'gems' and I believe the price asked did not
reflect the poor condition of most of them. I was later told (30th
March 2010) that the sale has been 'pulled' and that the locomotives are
to stay on the island pending restoration - some have already been moved to
preservation sites and given a paint job. For the record you
can read the original list (4th September 2004).
And then there was one... By 2008, there was very little left as a memory of the good old
days will be the growing museum at Christina Station in Havana and tourist
operations at Trinidad and a number of (closed) mills. Yoshi Matsuo tells me
that a visit to Manalich mill found the line to the shed overgrown and no sign
of 1402 with a Hector Molina reportedly going directly to the loading point (3rd
March 2008). Meanwhile ex- Hermanos Ameijeilas 1431 was serviceable at
Parque Lenin, normally on Saturdays and Sundays only. Tim Murray adds (17th
March 2008): "The 2 standard gauge Manalich locos still in shed but not used this season. Likely to go to museum. They have a diesel (34064) that now goes to the LP.
The Trinidad tourist train loco is laid up until at least the end of April. The PTG group had steam at
Bartholomew Masa mill. The loco still does patio work on a regular basis and the staff claimed that it would work next season.
The 2-8-0 from Venezuela has gone to Patrio o Morte and is working the tourist train.
Ciro Redondo has two 2-8-0s in shed 'under repair' including 1829. Three of the other 2-8-0s are dumped at the back of the mill."
Alan Pearce and Alan Murray-Rust visited the Havana area and recorded
some old friends, some of which stagger on like the Hershey and others
which have literally been put out to grass (18th April
2008). A later report (2nd June 2008)
suggested that 1402 at Manalich worked early in the season pending diesel
repairs, 1204 was active at Prieto near the airport and 1728 at J.M. Perez
both on occasions, with the Brasil firelesses more reliable performers.
There have been some
tours which have run Minaz steam locomotives on the main line, to say that the
results have been mixed would be the politest way of putting it judging from
the informal reports I have had. Does all this herald the
death of communism in Cuba?
For those with a wider (historical) interest, Wayne Weiss
recommends an excellent site on Cuba tramways http://www.tramz.com/cu/tto.html
(22nd May 2003), similarly check out a Central Santa Lucia site (Rafael Freyre
Mill) - updated 3rd October 2001.
Steam Center USA
Salida Roundhouse, 734 West 2nd.St
Salida, Colorado 81201
(719) 539-7184 or (719) 530-1496
Contact Wayne Weiss
for books, videos etc
Wayne Weiss of Roundbell Hobby Products
has some new copies of:
The Atlas of Cuba
(added 5th July 2011)
BOOKS.html or contact him.
If you missed out last
time then you need to get yourself
a copy of the second edition of:
Industrial Steam Locomotives of Cuba
details on the IRS Book Page.
1500 pictures of 20 years of steam in Cuba's Sugar Mills
on CD ROM:
For full details and how to order, click here!
and Quito Railroad is potentially one of the most splendid train journeys in the
world. The days when it could be covered in its entirety by public train are
long gone, but as conditions allow trains operate for visiting tour groups on.
For example, the RTC group in October 2007 as reported by Steve Pratt (30th
November 2007) "We tried to cover as much of the G&Q as possible. Steam:
Duran-Yaguachi-Duran (Baldwin No.11); Railcar: Bucay-Huigra-Alausi; Steam:
Alausi-Devil's Nose-Palmira-Riobambe (Baldwin No.17); Steam: Riobambe-Urbina-Riobambe (Baldwin No. 53); Railcar:
Boliche-Tambillo. Some of the track is in very poor condition, but the tourist railbuses are still running regularly. Next year (2008) is the centenary of the line reaching Quito, so there could be some celebrations, though the practicality of running through the city into the centre of Quito look remote."
Tours - which has subsequently entered
bankruptcy - claimed (12th August 2008) that
rebuilding will be almost complete by mid-2009 and that a significant number
of steam locomotives will be operable by then, but that has not happened.
However, by mid-April 2009, even the railway had
admitted that the repair programme was too optimistic and all the three
tours I knew planned had been cancelled, at least for 2009. Read
more (updated 18th April 2009). This includes
Stephen Lacey's first hand report and recent pictures of what are thought to
be all extant G&Q steam locomotives. The next report from Ecuador from Dr. Michael Grimes
starts "The news from Ecuador for 2010 is not good." - read
it in full (1st June 2010), I have then added a rather more
optimistic assessment from September 2010 (14th
September 2010), but there was still a long haul left before trains could
run throughout. A long period of silence ensued before the
very welcome news that the railway is in sight of complete rebuilding (updated
again with the first train running part way 6th January
2013). It will be some 10 years since the first public plans to
restore it to good order were announced. Another update from Dale Brown
appeared on the Railway Preservation News website http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=33408
which indicates that steam will not return until late 2013 at the earliest (6th
The UK's Guardian newspaper has a
photo feature on the new line - I suspect this may appear elsewhere too as
they are official pictures (20th March 2013). Now
the spotlight is turning to the steam locomotive fleet, 53 is back in action, read
about it (6th April 2013), page includes a
link to an 8 minute YouTube clip. There will even be regular scheduled
(tourist) steam from 4th June 2013 (6th April 2013), the
through tourist train has now been launched (3rd
July 2013). Gerald Peacock points out that the railway now has a 'bells and
whistles' of a website (31st October 2013) - the
English language version is http://www.ferrocarrilesdelecuador.gob.ec/ferrocarriles_en/
and now appears to be updated regularly, look at the
link for news. Apparently #14 is the next in line for restoration and work
has now started on what will be a major rebuild.
One attraction which came as a surprise to me
is the near complete survival of the G&Q steam works at Guayaquil - take a
look at this video, absolutely fascinating (25th August
Click below for reports:
Other information on railways in Ecuador
El Salvador Index
3ft gauge steam survived here on charter operations. You can read a report of the TUT visit in January 2002 (27th March 2002).
Thomas Kautzor has pointed me at an interesting
set of photographs taken here in February 2011 (28th
February 2011) but the link is now dead. Among lots of diesels, this shows Baldwin 8 preserved and steam derelicts at
and most interestingly 12 and 101 inside the roundhouse at San Salvador - these
are said to be 'serviceable'. These two locomotives were used in 2002 on the TUT
tour, referred to above. The line from San Salvador to Apopa is currently the
only operational route in the country with a limited passenger service, there
being no freight.
James Waite was here in April 2012 and was
treated to royal hospitality. Read about what
he found (more loco information 10th May 2012)
French Guyana Index
Chris Hodrien has pointed out to me that this site http://www.revue.inventaire.culture.gouv.fr/insitu/insitu/article.xsp?numero=8&id_article=goergen-1575
has a picture of a derelict 0-4-0T at Tigre. More information would be
appreciated (7th December 2007). James Waite subsequently pointed out that
there is a second locomotive below outside the Guyana Space Centre.
Thomas Kautzor visited the islands in October
2013 and has written a full report of known surviving railways and artefacts on the island
which include two steam locomotives (17th
November 2013). This is completely revised version and replaces
the previous report.
With the railway between Guatemala City and the
Caribbean coast effectively defunct, James Waite's visit in April 2012
necessarily concentrated on preserved (and surviving) steam including
industrial items - read his illustrated report
(more loco information 10th May 2012).
RDC announced suspension of operations in Guatemala (3rd
August 2007) citing the government's failure to honour its contract
with the company and the failure of its legal system to enforce it. The
dispute went to the Central America Free Trade Agreement (Cafta) for
arbitration. Whatever happened there, it was bound to be bad news for the railway, its
steam locomotives and especially the people on it who worked very hard to
restore and operate it in the last few years. And, in turn, it is bound to
have a knock-on effect on any attempts to revitalise other railways in the
here for three articles from US newspapers which include the background to
the case. I have now added (26th September 2009)
more links to this page, updating the sorry story but basically it looks like
the end of the road for railways in this part of the country. RDC has now won
its CAFTA case (17th July 2012) - http://www.rrdc.com/news_RDC_wins_CAFTA_against_Gua_07_05_2012.pdf
- collecting the significant compensation may take as long as the court case.
I was pessimistic, it took less than 18 months - see http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/news/cs-america/single-view/view/full-settlement-for-railroad-development-corp-in-guatemala-dispute.html
(6th December 2013). What will happen to the
residual operational steam stock left behind is unclear. I guess some private
US railroads will be after them.
For some time, RDC (http://www.rrdc.com)
3ft gauge Ferrovias
Guatemala (the private company which restored Fegua, Ferrocarriles de Guatemala, to partial operation after its 1996 abandonment)
and maintained two steam locomotives in operable condition for special trains
for its business customers or tourists. Their operation is described in the
Click below for reports:
The first picture shows 204 doing a bit of real work while on test
before the 2004 event and the second why it was such an attractive operation.
||Thomas Kautzor visited the island in October 2013
and has written a full report
of known surviving railways and artefacts on the island
which include three steam locomotives (17th
November 2013). This is a completely revised version
and replaces the previous report.
Trevor Heath pointed me at a January 2009 report
on http://www.trainorders.com which
stated that the 3 truck shay owned by Compania Maderera de Durango is active and
used to switch cars brought by LFCD into their private spur. They also have a
Heisler. I asked for a first hand report, now Trevor has supplied one himself,
the locomotive is defunct..
Thomas Kautzor spent nearly two weeks in Mexico
in November 2012, he saw a lot of (inactive) preserved
steam locomotives on both narrow and standard gauges (13th
See also my narrow gauge pages for information
on tourist steam.
Plan Center (corrected 30th July 2011) has a series
of pages on the railways of Nicaragua, including FC Muelle de Corinto 0-4-4T No.
1 plinthed in front of the former Puerto Corinto station, now a museum. See also
:A 4-6-0, FC del Pacifico #21, preserved at the old station in
Granada - http://www.manfut.org/granada/AntEstacion.html
There is a third steam loco on the ouskirts of
Chichigalpa, on display on the former trackbed of the railway to Ingenio San Antonio, their former No. 5, see
(added 30th July 2011, thanks to Thomas Kautzor for
The Selva Negra coffee museum at Matagalpa maybe
has an "interesting steam locomotive which was used in the early 1900s to transport coffee from Matagalpa to the ports. ...",
it was said to railless so presumably was some kind of traction engine...
No active steam, but a long submerged steam loco and
train have been recovered from a storage reservoir for the Panama Canal (23rd May
2000), with the prospect of more to come.... Mike Clendining has now provided
some pictures of the restored engine and the
current railway situation in the country (16th May 2007).
Glyn Dawson was here in March/April 2009 and
reports on two
further survivors in the remote Darien region (23rd
This was possibly the only all steam state railway left in the world, although
in its final days it was very much a rump operation with the main line severed.
Interest centred on three features, click on individual links below or here for Neil
Edwards comprehensive report from August 2009 (23rd August 2009). Subsequently, Asunción resident Renaud Olgiati
reported (14th January 2011) - “At the Asunción end, no traffic at all, as the abutment of a bridge 3 km out of town has collapsed, the tourist service to Aregua is stopped until further notice. At the
Encarnación end, I believe that all traffic has now stopped, as the rising waters of Yacyreta dam have flooded a section of the track on the Argentine side.”
Thanks to Trevor Heath for this one.
Renaud Olgiati reports (10th
February 2012) that the works at Sapucay are now rightly considered a
tourist attraction and are in part open to the public. Realistic plans exist to
re-open the whole railway - read his report.
He also reports (27th May 2012) that "the management of Azucarera Paraguaya at Tebicuary have plans to turn what remains of their steam rolling stock en engines, both SG and
MG, into a railway museum in the grounds of the Azucarera". Neil Edwards
was here in August 2009 and you can read
about what was left then. A widely syndicated article by Associated Press
has appeared (search for this phrase "Paraguay breathes new life to its steam train")
which records that short steam hauled journeys are being offered from Sapucay,
although the picture captions say Asunción! (18th
October 2012). Renaud Olgiati has provided a
recent update which show that steam was almost certainly working at
Encarnación earlier in 2012 although it may well have now ceased. Additionally
the steam tourist service has been halted yet again, but hopefully a new service
will run again from Luque in the not too distant future (22nd
Frank Ludwig was in
Encarnación in March 2013 and confirms that steam
is still in use, but very occasionally - you'll need to be lucky or very
patient to see it (updated 30th April 2013).
The magazine Latin Tracks produced a nostalgic
article on the closure of the 'working' railway at the end of November 2010 - it
is available for download http://www.latintracks.net/pdf/pdffile.pdf
(8th November 2011, since when the link has gone dead). The North British Locomotive
Preservation Group is investigating the possibility of repatriating one of the redundant NBL locos
(8th November 2011).
- shunting traffic for the link with Argentina (latest report 28th April
2013), now very occasional
- the original workshop which ought to be a world heritage site with its
ancient machinery and another potential tourist operation (latest report
- which has had a regular tourist train on occasions (last reported
suspended see above)
Click on the links below for more information:
The Ferrocarril del Norte was a metre
gauge railway than ran from Concepción to Horquetá, one of its
locos later worked at a bean mill (0-6-0T OK 3609/1909) and is now preserved in
the main street (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/24722486,
along with two steam cranes and a
steam roller (11th September 2013).
This is Ian Thomson's picture of a small mishap.
Historically there have been a fair few rusty hulks around the country,
several of which have been the subject of speculation about renovation to
operating condition and one or two have actually made it. However, it seems that
realistic steam operation is centred on:
As I am definitely not an expert on steam in this part of the world, I have
tried my best to extract information from the various reports to get a clearer
picture, but mistakes there will be! Click below for other reports and general
who lives part time in Lima
reports on the then current scene
(2nd September 2000).
Puerto Rico Index
Thomas Kautzor (8th September 2009)
has told me about a new website by Roger Aponte dedicated to the railways of
Puerto Rico, http://rogerseducationalpage.com/ferrocarrilespr/
(link amended for new site, still under construction, 1st
June 2012). There is a list of railways here http://ferrocarrilespr.rogerseducationalpage.com/?p=1117.
Courtesy of Roger and Dave Deyo, I have uploaded a
page of information about surviving steam locomotives (7th
South Georgia Index
A short article in Locomotives International included the statement that
there was probably at least one surviving stationary steam engine and steam
locomotive at the
former whaling station of Ocean Harbour. An internet search found pictures of
a single cylinder horizontal engine and a steam winch taken in the 1990s - http://www.railwaysofthefarsouth.co.uk/11cwhaling.html.
Burton of the South
Georgia Association has provided a succinct
summary of the situation including a picture of a steam locomotive (14th
October 2007) - I have yet to see a positive identification
Ton Mulder has sent me some pictures of dumped steam locomotives in this former Dutch
colony. I have now posted these
and added some background information supplied by Chris Walker (more information 1st
May 2000, roster corrected 2nd April 2013, updated 28th
November 2013). Ton now reports (16th May 2001) that a Dutch business has signed a letter of
intent with the Surinam Government to reactivate up to 90km of the line.
Well, that was the theory. In practice, Hans Scherpenhuizen tells me he
visited Onverwacht on 26 January 2005 (report added 21st
March 2005). The situation was more or less the same as depicted in 2000. No restoration
had taken place. The station canopy had collapsed, which means the rolling stock
was left in the open to disintegrate. One engine seems to have moved to a plinth
at the adjacent road to the station: the 0-4-0 tank engine must be 'Dam'. Here
are two of the pictures he sent, the second locomotive is Breda built 'Para'.
Active steam in Uruguay is mainly provided by the locomotives of these
This page naturally concentrates on 'live' steam as opposed to
'preserved/conserved/stored' steam. I added photographs of surviving
steam locomotives in Uruguay courtesy of regular correspondent Marcelo
Benoit (updated 9th May 2006), you can contact
Marcelo on firstname.lastname@example.org. Try
which links to all Uruguayan railway pages. Tabaré Bordach of CEFU
had previously provided information on other
remaining narrow gauge steam locomotives (updated 3rd
A word of explanation about the two preserved Uruguayan N
class 2-6-0s. For some years (1991 to 2005) CEFU's 119 masqueraded as 120. Now
the real 120 has been restored by AUAR it has been given its true number back,
but in some images on this site it will obviously carry '120'. Simple? As a
result, I have tried to describe her as 119 (120), but is possible that some
references have escaped my attention.
On the left is the real 120 recently restored, in steam on 28th April
2007, an absolute charmer at a mere 97 years old (picture by Marcelo Benoit
added 3rd August 2007).
As part of my streamlining of this page to make it more
manageable, I have set up 4 separate pages to cover the more recent news of
the four most significant preserved steam locomotives. Note that sometimes
more than one of them operates on any particular occasion and some duplication
of text (but not pictures) may occur in these pages.
Earlier reports of steam in Uruguay between 1999 and 2003 are covered in
a separate page.
Marcelo Benoit has provided a
pictorial record of steam activities in Uruguay in 2007/8 (6th
Marcelo Benoit reports that 2005's Heritage
celebrations on September 24th and 25th (added 22nd October 2005) included AUAR's steam crane exhibited by ANP on Montevideo Port
Little has been heard from Uruguay for some
time so I was very happy to receive a report of Fabrice
Lanoue's brief stopover in the country (17th May
2011). Following this, Marcelo Benoit has sent me a summary of
steam activity covering 2009, 2010 and the early part of 2011, basically
N120 has been the backbone of the steam programme, sadly CEFU 3 has
still not worked for a while, click the link for the
full illustrated report (9th June 2011).
CEFU's 119 has now steamed, see a short video of a test run in April
2011 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8artIIed0gw
(9th July 2011).
After another long break,
Marcelo has sent further pictures
from 2011 - 12 including some other static preserved items (updated 2nd
The links on this page have been amended to reflect the addition of dedicated
steam crane pages on this website. John A. Taubeneck has sent me his list of surviving
railway steam cranes of South and Central America (updated 5th
November 2013). I don't normally cover North America on these pages, but I
am prepared to make an exception for such an esoteric subject and have now
added John's list of surviving
railway steam cranes of North America (updated 4th