The International Steam Pages

To Iberia for a Little Steam

Keith Chambers reminisces:

Family holidays in the 1960s changed from an annual visit to somewhere in the West Country to package holidays in Spain. That happened twice. Firstly to Palma, Majorca in 1964 followed by a more adventurous tour around southern Spain and Portugal in 1965. I was armed with my 127 camera and accompanied by a father who had instilled in my brother and myself a love of steam locomotives. We first realised that there were steam locomotives in Majorca when we took the electric train from Palma to Soller one day and passed the locomotive sheds of the adjacent F.C. de Majorca. A day or two later we were back there and wandered around the sheds unhindered. Our photographic record of that day is cine film showing almost the entire steam locomotive stock of the system dead and scattered around the shed and yard. There was one exception. In steam was a Naysmyth Wilson 0-6-0T no. 5 built in 1876 which we took a single colour shot of. I didn't know at the time but steam would end very soon after our visit.

Next year we went on a tour of southern Iberia which began in Seville and ended in Lisbon via Granada and Cadiz. There must have been a considerable amount of coach travel and I can remember constantly looking out for the tell-tale signs of railways which I was adept at spotting. Our courier for the coach travel introduced herself as Valerie and announced that if at any time we wanted the coach to stop we should just let her know. Our second night was in Cordoba and we left there for Granada and somewhere close to Jaén I noticed a wisp of smoke on the railway line that we had been following. "Valerie, Valerie" came the cry from the back of the coach. Our driver Miguel duly stopped and I stood by that dusty road and took a shot of a 2-6-0 on a local passenger train. Inspired by seeing this loco my father took us along to Granada railway station the following day where we simply walked across the running lines to the adjacent shed. A few days later we visited a depot at Cadiz not far from our hotel. Then Huelva where once again our patient companions on the coach waited while we rushed around as much of Odiel shed as we could in about twenty minutes. We crossed the border into Portugal and some time later the coach stopped again while I photographed a tank loco on a goods train about to cross the river bridge at Portimão. This was the last straw for my mother. When I next attempted to shout out to the long suffering Valerie to stop the coach (for a rather attractive broad gauge 4-6-0) she clamped her hand over my mouth and told me in no uncertain terms that she was no longer going to sit on a coach feeling embarrassed because it kept stopping so that her twelve year old son could photograph steam engines!

I (RD) am in Penang and all my reference books are in the UK. Any help with IDs would be greatly appreciated.

The 2-6-0 near Jaén:

Granada shed - young Keith on the footplate in the first one.


Huelva (Odiel) shed:

CP tank loco heading towards Lagos at Portimão 

The old Naysmyth Wilson 0-6-0T at Palma. 

Rob Dickinson