The International Steam Pages

Steam in South America, November 2008

Robin Patrick  was on the RTC “Old Patagonian Express” 14th November to 1st December 2008, he presents a slightly different perspective to Bill Longley-Cross.


Ferroclub Argentina, Escalada Depot, Buenos Aires (5ft 6in) 17/11

In steam was 4116 2-8-0 built in 1913 by Beyer Peacock, although restored more work would be needed if a venture onto main line was possible. Also in steam was a Grafton steam crane built in Bedford.

Ferroclub Argentina, Lynch Depot, Buenos Aires, (Standard Gauge) 17/11

A lot of standard gauge equipment here at this former shed, including at least two narrow gauge locomotives. One working steam locomotive an 0-6-0oc Neilson 3870/90 ‘Monte Caseros’ wood burner which had worked a charter train for us on 16/11 from Pilar to Capilla and return an operation believed to operate occasionally when hired. Seen below, it is about to be turned at Fatima whilst working our return special. One of the locomotives at Lynch was a Kerr Stuart 4-4-0.

La Trochita, Patagonia, 402km (242 mile) long line, operated in two parts

On 19/11 Baldwin 2-8-0 No 3 operated out of Ing Jacobacci, a rather delayed departure after the diesel locomotive on overnight special train from Bariloche to Ing Jacobacci failed with no other rescue diesel locomotive so at dawn rescued by mini buses driving along railway track!

No 3 rattled train along, but could not work all way through as part of route between Cerro Messa to El Maiten is out of use the last train through believed to be Railway Touring Company’s train in Autumn 2007. Henschel built locomotive No 139 was noted plinthed by main street where line crosses in Ing Jacobacci. This is 3 between Ing Jacobacci & Cerro Messa with our special train.

On 20/11 Baldwin No 1 operated a special out of El Maiten to Esquel and on 21/11 Baldwins 1 & 16 double headed special out of Esquel to Nahuel Pan where the tourist train runs to, 16 came off with No 1 proceeding through to El Maiten. Money seems to have been spent on stations at Ing Jacobacci, El Maiten, Nahuel Pan & Esquel, perhaps would have been better spent on locomotives?

Bariloche 22//11

From here there is a tourist operation with North British 2-8-0 of 1912, the locomotive not in the best of health but the train runs in high summer on certain days to Perto Moreno 35km in Patagonian Steppe. Marketed as 'El Historico Tren a Vapor' the line climbs out of Bariloche, a struggle for the locomotive hauling three historic coaches & generator vehicle, regular operation reported as not starting until January 2009.


Valdivia FFCC del Estacion 25/11

At this train terminus a branch off the main line at Antilhue is a preservation set up with about 1km of track, the locomotive in steam was Tipo 57 #620 2-6-0 built in Chile in 1913 until a tube burst putting fire out!

Temuco Railway Museum 26/11

This is the old roundhouse with locomotives inside around the turntable gradually being cosmetically restored. 

Operating out of here is 820 Baldwin 62247/38 a 4-8-2 coal fired. It worked a special train 192km to San Rosende on 26/11, but two hours were lost on the schedule due to poor track conditions and lubrication problems on the locomotive, it is seen below waits to cross a passenger train en-route. It was reported the locomotive had not worked since Railway Touring Company tour in Autumn 2007.

Colchagua Wine Train, San Fernando – Santa Cruz (55km) 28/11

A special operation for train with Tipo 57 #607 2-6-0 built in Chile in 1913 (coal fired), but train reported as running regularly on Saturdays in summer. From San Fernando trains runs along main line for about 2km a short thrash for locomotive to enjoy. Although reported as regular operation, a lot of tree branches were hit en-route and water on way back was taken from a stream pumped out by fire engine with local fire brigade.

Santiago Railway Museum, Quinta, 29/11

Locomotives as listed with photographs on your Museum site, all in good condition, no graffiti and well spaced for photographs.

Rob Dickinson