The International Steam Pages
Steam in Guatemala and El Salvador
Chris Skow, Tour Director, Trains Unlimited, Tours reports on the GREAT CENTRAL AMERICAN RAIL ADVENTURE tour which operated January 12-20, 2002 in Guatemala and El Salvador using 4 Baldwin steam locomotives.
Steam locomotives used were:
No. 204 Baldwin 2-8-2 1948 Guatemala
**January 13 Charter passenger train with No. 204 Guatemala City to El
Note: The mainline in El Salvador between Metapan and San Salvador was damaged during the big earthquake that hit in February 2001. A bridge between Apopa and Soyapango (Distance is 17 KM) was damaged and sunk below the right-of-way grade. Soyapango is only 7 KM out of San Salvador City. So the mainline between Metapan and Apopa (113 KM) is now cut off from the rest of the system. Metapan is only 18 KM from the Guatemala border.
In order to run our steam charter with Baldwin No. 101 between Metapan-Texas Junction and Apopa Trains Unlimited, Tours had No. 101 run up onto a flatbed truck in San Salvador and trucked down the highway to Apopa where she was put back on the rails. The steam locomotive was on one flatbed truck and the tender on a 2nd truck. Then No. 101 ran Apopa to Metapan several days before the group arrived. Then on January 15 when the exursion returned to Apopa upon arrival crews went right to work pulling apart the engine and tender while she was still hot and loaded both engine and tender using a diesel , onto the two flatbed trucks. All this was done and loaded within two hours after No. 101 pulled her train full of railfans into Apopa. The tour group was able to stay at Apopa and watch the entire operation before boarding a bus for the short trip to San Salvador.
No. 101 was then again moved by highway, still hot and still with steam in her boiler, with police escort back to San Salvador where she was put back on the rails and was ready the next morning to run our doubleheader with No. 12 from San Salvador to Sitio Del Nino Junction. Is this a first for a railfan excursion?
Trains Unlimited, Tours will repeat this same operation for their GREAT CENTRAL AMERICAN RAIL ADVENTURE 2003 to run January 12-25, 2003. Again No. 101 will be moved by highway between San Salvador and Apopa. Again No. 101 will pull her mixed excursion train between Metapan-Texas Junction and Apopa. Again, the railfan group will be able to watch No. 101 and her tender be loaded onto two flatbed trucks and moved by highway to San Salvador, which will take place on January 15, 2003. At this time the railroad does not plan on repairing this bridge.
The GREAT CENTRAL AMERICAN RAIL ADVENTURE 2003 will have 13 charter trains using steam, diesel and railcars in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Included will be doubleheaders and photo freights with steam.