The International Steam Pages

Preserved Standard Gauge Diesel Traction in Mexico, 2012

Thomas Kautzor reports on some preserved items recorded during his November 2012 visit. Click here for the index to the other reports which include steam locomotives, stationary steam and railway cranes.

NdeM railcar NM309 (Metro-Cammell) at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE. In the early 1960s NdeM introduced fast railcar service on the FC Mexicano route between Mexico City and Puebla via Apizaco with five railcars built by Fiat (F1-F5). Later the service was extended to Mexico City to San Miguel Allende (49 miles north of Queretaro) and proved so popular that more railcars were needed. Three series of Metro-Cammell were introduced (NM100-110 in 1964, NM200-210 and NM300-310). By 1970 the original Fiat railcars had been withdrawn;

FC Nacionales de Mexico (FNM) 602 (Bo-Bo DE, Fairbanks-Morse H-16-44 16L1188/12-1960, 1600 hp) at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE. This is a former FC de Chihuahua al Pacifico (CH-P). Some locos of the same type had their noses chopped, but 602 retains its high hood containing the steam generator.

FC Coahuila y Zacatecas (CyZ) 802 (B-B DE, EMD GA-8 28356/03-1964, 800 hp) at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE. The CyZ was built by the Mazapil Copper Co. (a British concern) in 1898 from Saltillo, COAHUILA, on the NdeM to Saltillo, ZACATECAS, to serve copper, lead, zinc and iron mines. 3-ft gauge was chosen to connect with the NdeM of the same gauge at Saltillo (the NdeM converted in 1903). In 1959 the Mazapil Copper Co. was sold to Mexican interests and the railway taken over by Mexico’s Secretariat of Communication and Transport (SCT), bringing in three NdeM 2-8-0s. In 1963 two EMD GA-8s were obtained (800-801, originally built in 1960 for the International Railway of Central America and which kept their IRCA numbers), followed by 802 in 1964. Four years later a more powerfull GA-18 N°. 803 arrived on the branch (which eventually taken over by NdeM in 1972 and later replaced by a new standard gauge line) and 802 was sent to the FC Unidos del Sureste (FUS) in Yucatan, which had taken over the narrow gauge network of the FC Unidos del Yucatan (FUY) in 1969. In Yucatan 802 was renumbered FUS 81. In 05-1978 it was sent to Oriental, PUEBLA, to operate over NdeM’s last narrow gauge branch line to Teziutlan. It was later standard gauge to become NdeM 802 before being donated to the Puebla museum in 02-1987.

NdeM 5500 (DE-5 class, Bo-Bo DE, ALCO S-2 09-1944, 1000 hp) at the Museum of Technology (MUTEC), Chapultepec Park, Mexico, DF. This was the first NdeM diesel loco, one of ten delivered in September 1944 and part of a class of 23 delivered until 06-1950 (5500-5522). Also present at MUTEC is the cab of 5601 (Bo-Bo DE, ALCO RS-1 02-1950, 1000 hp), one of 64 locos in its class delivered to NdeM by ALCO and MLW until 03-1960 (5600-5663). Both classes were used for switching and light duties.

NdeM 7020 (Bo-Bo DE, EMD FP-9A 22651/10-1956, 1750 hp) at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE. It is part of a class of 25 locos (7010-7034), the last F units received by NdeM, and has been repainted in its original colors. It is coupled to cables B unit 6328-B (Bo-Bo DE, EMD F-7B 15158/11-1951, 1500 hp). When new these engines were used on NdeM’s flagship trains such as the “Aguila Azteca” (Aztec Eagle) to Laredo and the “El Fronterizo” to Ciudad Juarez, but later in their careers they were relegated to freight service.

NdeM 8941 (Co-Co DE, GE U36CG 39800/04-1974, 3600 hp) at the Complexo Ferroviario Tres Centurias, a hall of the old workshops restored as an exhibition space, in Aguascalientes, AGS. It was one of NdeM’s 104 U36Cs built between 1973 and 75 (8900-8986 & 9300-9316), 20 of which were equipped with steam generators for passenger service (8938-8957). Preserved inside the building is some old machinery as well as FNM caboose 43806. Other parts of the workshops complex have been turned over to the University’s Arts Department.

NdeM DH-17 & DH-19 (A1A-A1A DE, ALCO PA-1u or PA-4u 76537/11-1948 & 75318/05-1947, 2400 hp) at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE. These are among the most famous diesel locomotives in Mexico. Four PA-1us had been obtained from the Delaware & Hudson in 11-1978 (16–19). They had started their lives as Santa Fe 59L/60L/62L/54B and been sold to the D&H in 1967, who had them rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen in 1975, increasing their output from 2000 to 2400 hp. In Mexico they were initially assigned to NdeM at San Luis Potosi, but were soon transferred to FC del Pacifico (FCP) for operation between Guadalajara and Nogales in both freight and passenger service. DH-17 was set aside in 1980, but restored at the FCP’s Empalme shops in 1991 to be exhibited at MUTEC until 1998, when it was transferred to Puebla. DH-19 was withdrawn in 1989 and restored at Empalme for display at the museum since 1991. The other two were returned to the US by the Smithsonian, where one is under restoration by Doyle McCormack of Portland, Oregon, who plans to run it as a Nickel Plate loco.

FC Sonora-Baja California (SBC) 2203 (Bo-Bo DE, EMD FTA 1945, 1350 hp) at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE. The SBC was built by the Ministry of Communications and Public Works (SCOP) between Mexicali and Benjamin Hill (349 miles), where it links with FC del Pacifico. It was opened in 1949 And stayed independent from NdeM until 1986. It started operations with four brand-new F EMD F units, FP-7 2101-02 for passenger service and F-7 2201-02 for freight service. These stayed in service until 1983 (2201 was saved from a scrap line and is preserved at the Yucatan Railway Museum in Merida). 2203 was acquired second-hand from the Northern Pacific, where it was 6010D, together with a B unit. It stayed on the roster through the merger with NdeM and was still listed as operational in the 1990s after having been restored to operating conditions.

Union Pacific (UP) 6911 (Do-Do DE, EMD DDA40X 34537/10-1969, 6600 hp) on display at the Museum of Technology (MUTEC), Chapultepec Park, Mexico City, DF. The 47 DDA40X built for the UP between 1969 and 1971 were the most powerful and longest single-unit diesel locomotives ever built. They were retired between 1984 and 1986 due to rising maintenance costs, and a number have been preserved, including 6936 still active with the UP Heritage Fleet:

Mack maintenance railcar at the National Railway Museum, Puebla, PUE.

Rob Dickinson