The International Steam Pages

News of the Puerto Casado Railway, Paraguay

News from the line has been rather thin since the flurry of reports in 2008-9. However, this special report from Latin Tracks has come to my attention and although it is from that time, it is by far the best source of information on the revival (link dead by July 2020), there is also a well illustrated blog account (added 1st August 2013).

Sadly the FarRail Newsletter of August 2017 reports "The rails there have been stolen, the loco lacks some essential parts and is no longer serviceable – just freshly painted (as shown on a Facebook page)".

A bizarre story from Latin Tracks On Line Digest 13 (24th October 2000): "Argentine owned 'Compańía Carlos Casado' has reputedly sold 240 thousand hectares of land, in the Paraguayan Chaco, to the religious sect headed by multimillionaire Sun Myung Moon. The land sale includes the township of Puerto Casado, 500 kilometres up river from Asunción, at one time "home base" to a 150 kilometer long, 2 foot six inch gauge, forestry railroad and a rather unique 2-8-2 steam loco named "Don Carlos", built in the UK by Manning and Wardle back in 1916." A report of a visit to this railway appeared on the UK Daily Telegraph site (but has since been taken down). The picture below appeared on the site (link added 31st October 2000, thanks to James Hefner for this one):

Derelict locos

The line is described when it was still working by Roy Christian in the classic book, World of South American Steam. One of the locos here was a chain driven Schwartzkopff. Click here for the text and a loco list. A number of Spanish language internet reports have appeared (28th April 2005) concerning the revival of this line after 20 years for tourist purposes by a Korean Company named Victoria SA. A first section has been repaired around Cerro Galván, which is 11 km from Puerto Casado. There is a shed and workshops at Cerro Galván. Puerto Casado is to be developed into a tourist resort and Cerro Galván will be the centre of ecotourism which includes a nature park with wildlife. So far one loco has been repaired (DON CARLOS, Manning Wardle 1901/1916) plus one coach. At first the line from Puerto Casado to Cerro Galván will be completed, later a total of 40 km of railway line to San José is to be rebuilt. For the full reports simply search Google using "Puerto Casado" and tren.... Many thanks to Henry Posner III for drawing my attention to this and Roland Beier for some rapid translation work. 

These pictures apparently dating from 2008 came from this website (link is dead):

A 2009 visitor (added 21st January 2011) reported that "the Puerto Casado Co-Operative is trying to revive the railway. It has restored to working order one of the remaining nine steam locomotives, a Manning Wardle built in 1916 and named after Don Carlos Casado. It has several steamings a year on a short stretch of track by the old works, most notably on 31 August, which is Puerto Casado’s foundation day." The full report includes pictures of the surviving locomotives and a description of their condition." Compulsive reading!

Rob Dickinson