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International Railroad Discussion > FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile


Date: 06/28/19 16:09
FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

April 22, 2019, our plan was to chase another train from Calama to Bolivia (we assumed a northbound would be leaving in the morning). When we got to San Salvador however there was nothing in the yard. Although none of us was fluent in Spanish, based on the attempted conversation with an employee in the yard, we were left with the impression that the train wasn't running (and unlike the day before, we had no intel on a Monday train). So, disappointed, we went looking around and spotted a train way out up on the hill, coming down from Conchi. It had a pair of homebuilt GC22UC-3s sandwiching a Newfie. We tried to get ahead of it in Calama, only to have an eastbound tank train leave from there, so we chased that train back to San Salvador. From there we followed the Conchi empties west, from Calama to Cerritos Bayos to Mina Spence to Sierra Gorda, where we got two more trains, including one with a genuine Tunnel Motor (Rio Grande and eSPee fans, woot woot). Finally (for the morning/early afternoon) we caught the copper concentrate train to Antofasta.

Image one is of the Conchi Mine empties comgin into Cere.

Image two is the same train going over a mine pipeline culvert of some kind, between Cere and San Salvador.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/19 16:11 by erielackawanna.






Date: 06/28/19 16:13
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

Image three - we were too late to get shots of the eastbound sulfuric acid train in downtown Calama (small disappointment, but I did want a shot down there). Managed to get it just after it left downtown.

Image four - we chased that train back up to San Salvador only to find the light going bad.






Date: 06/28/19 16:16
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

Image five - we were then on the chase to get the Conchi empties. First we caught it going by the permanent approach semaphore in Calama.

Image six - we blew this shot also. We wanted it at the train station by Cerritos Bayos, but went to look at the culvert to decide on which shot was better. As we reached the culvert we heard a rumble. Too late. Grabbed a quickie side shot of it coming through the culvert.

Image seven is at the station in Sierra Gorda. The train pulled to a stop here, after leaving the station, letting us know something else was coming east.








Date: 06/28/19 16:18
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

Image eight - the eastbound was a sweet surprise. Lead unit was a GT22UC with a tunnel motor radiator. DRGW lives.

Image ninie is a high-sun roster shot of the tunnel motor.






Date: 06/28/19 16:21
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

Image ten - We raced up to Mina Spence to catch the tunnel motor again, but it took a spur out in the middle of nowhere and entered a transload facility we hadn't noticed before. Next train appear, the T242 with a pair of GT42ACs in charge.

Image eleven - we chased the train and beat it to the Sierra Gorda station.

Image twelve - last train in the Sierra Gorda vicinity was the copper concentrate train to Antofagasta. 








Date: 06/28/19 17:54
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: jmt

2501 was built for the Argentinean EMD agent, Tracfer S.A,, in 2001 at the Cordoba Taller, for the then "Tren en la Nubes" tourist train operator (Trenes & Turismo S. A.). Numbered TT01.
New build utilising the recycled frame from wrecked Argentinean built (State owned) 9730. Build was sub-contracted to a backshop (taller) owned by Belgrano Cargas (in turn owned by the Argentinean Government). Ref builders plate photo below.
This frame was not obtained via official channels, and contemporary press reports, including the late Danny Thomas's article in "Latin Tracks", quoted the Tracfer claim of "new frame".
In this period well over a 100 wrecks, or seriously disabled and decrepit metre gauge locos, were stored on the Alto Norte Patio in Cordoba, next to the Taller. It has been suggested that the frame was purloined, to save time, and increase the shops profit margin. The history of this frame has been discussed ad infinitum on multiple Argentinean groups.
Loco was used on the tourist train until the bankruptcy of the operator around 2006. over the next couple of years the unit was hired by the Receiver to Belgrano Cargas for short periods.
Was built with a smaller fuel tank, when compared to the Argentinean State GT22CU-2, so was a couple of tonnes lighter. It could operate over Ferronor rail on the Chilean side of the border, but never did as the mooted international tourist operation did not eventuate.
Purchased from the Receiver by FCAB in Q1 2013.
Trucked in over the Paso de Jama, elevation of 4,200 m (13,800 ft) at the border. On the Chilean side the Pass is accessed via Route 27. Route 27 reaches an altitude of 4,810 m (15,780 ft) 100 km west of the border. So this loco has been dragged along some seriously high roads.
Rebuilt by FCAB as a GT22CU-3

First photo was circulating in Argentina in 2013, Photographer unknown. the overhang to the rear is an advantage, as the road down from the Pass on the Chilean side has multiple hairpins.
TT01 bogie May 2015, Mariano Plaza, Facebook.com
Builders plate, FCAB Maestranza

 








Date: 06/28/19 21:55
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: dwatry

What are the passenger cars to the right in image #5? 



Date: 06/28/19 23:56
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: 86235

dwatry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What are the passenger cars to the right in image
> #5? 

I guess they're the former Brisbane commuter cars that the FCAB acquired for special occasions.



Date: 06/29/19 01:37
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: Hartington

I had a ride on the Tren a las Nubes in 2001. They claimed a brand new engine was on the front ( suspect the one you refer to). We got about two thirds of the way to the viaduct when it failed. We were rescued by a quite impressive coach operation with basic buses taking us to the paved road then a luxury coach back to Salta. I say paved road but the railway and the road go through a gorge and on that section the road was narrow and unpaved and, to make life more interesting, it was getting dark.

The local press the next day had a field day!



Date: 06/29/19 05:41
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: King_Coal

That's a remarkable trip you are on. The railroad is surreal to my North American eyes. Thanks for sharing the engaging crop of photos.



Date: 06/29/19 09:03
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: tomstp

In the first picture, there appears to be signals beyond the end of the train and possibly the end of the passing track.  Is that correct?  I have seen the same thing in a couple more of your pictures.



Date: 06/29/19 09:45
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

tomstp Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the first picture, there appears to be signals
> beyond the end of the train and possibly the end
> of the passing track.  Is that correct?  I have
> seen the same thing in a couple more of your
> pictures.

I suspect those are signs, not signals.



Date: 06/30/19 09:19
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: pedrop

Great photos and valuable information on each post. How did you plan this trip? Did you have a local guide? I imagine the locations are not easy to find and drive in the desert shall be a challenge.

Posted from Android

Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano, MG
Minas Gerais Railways



Date: 06/30/19 09:24
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: erielackawanna

No local guide, but one of our group had railfanned this area twice before. The one thing that makes fanning this area not that difficult is that you see or hear trains way off in the distance and can almost always get to a place to shoot them before they get there. Most of our shooting was driving up and down the highway and getting ahead of trains. That being said, the Cumbre Pass line requires finding dirt roads that are open from the highway (most of the desert is fenced off in that area) and then driving up the dirt roads. I would strongly urge you to study the maps of that area prior to going. You can still easily get ahead of trains in Cumbre Pass, but it can be very frustrating finding access to the dirt roads.



Date: 06/30/19 09:28
Re: FCAB Calama to Sierra Gorda Chile
Author: pedrop

Thanks to the these usefull hints.

Posted from Android

Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano, MG
Minas Gerais Railways



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