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International Railroad Discussion > x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile

Date: 06/23/20 12:40
x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: masterphots

When Canadian National shut down most of their narrow gauge Newfoundland Ry in the 1980s,  a number of  unique GMD NF210s were sold to railways in Nicaragua and Chile.  In Chile, Ferrocarril Antofagasta y Bolivia (FCAB) purchased 18, including seven from Nicaragua.  Chilean phosphate mining company SQM bought one from CNR and later acquired one from Nicaragua and a third from FCAB.  In 2017 the three SQM units were sold to FCAB.  All the FCAB units were rebuilt prior to entering service, fitted with Q-tron microcontrol systems and air conditioning.  All but one were also  fitted with dynamic brakes.  FCAB also bought many  Newfoundland Ry. freight cars, which were used as the basis for home built flat cars.   In addition, they purchased miles of rail and to this day you can find rails marked Algoma Steel with 1920s dates. 

After catastophic damage in August 2015 to its railway due to flash flooding,  SQM shut down the railway,  soon followed by the phosphate processing plants at Pedro de Valdivia and Maria Elena.  The NF210s continued in daily service on FCAB.  Beginning in 2018 with the delivery of new EMD and GE road switchers,  the NF210s are now on borrowed time.  Six have already been put up for sale and at least the three former SQM units have been sold to a company in Durban, South Africa.   A few may survive for a few more years for use on light rail spurs and switching but their days of mainline operations are pretty much history.

Here are roster shots of both SQM and FCAB 'Newfies'    The SQM railroad was 3'6" gauge;  FCAB meter gauge

1.   SQM 901 at Pedro de Valdivia.  11/9/95   The SQM units were confined to the Pedro de Valdivia mine railroad.  They only ventured out when needed shop work at Maria Elena.

2.   SIT 901  same location.  6/20/01    SIT was the transportation subsidiary of SQM

3.   SIT 914   same location  6/20/01


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/20 09:02 by masterphots.

Date: 06/23/20 12:45
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: masterphots

4.   SQM 937 at Maria Elena in the final livery.  11/23/13

5.  FCAB 1420 at Antofagasta shops on 11/10/94.  Not quite ready for service, the paint scheme was modified on later units.  It became know as the toucan livery,  named after the colorful bird.

6.  FCAB 1418 in a heritage livery.  A number of FCAB units have received this paint scheme which was what their original diesels received.  At Sierra Gorda,  8/13/08

Date: 06/23/20 12:50
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: masterphots

7.   FCAB 1426 x-works.  O'Higgins,  3/5/15

8.  FCAB 1422 at Cuevita.  4/24/16   The boxes on top are a not-repeated pollution/noise control device.  And note clouds on the Atacama.....not a usual sight.

9.  FCAB 1420/1446 in the current livery.  Prat  4/5/17   1446 is one of the former SQM units.   This photo also answers the joke question as to whether these units have trucks.  You need low light to really show the trucks on an NF210

Tomorrow I'll post photos of FCAB Newfies in action.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/20 13:56 by masterphots.

Date: 06/23/20 14:39
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: 86235

Excellent set Alan, I love those NF210s

Date: 06/23/20 14:56
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: 1019X

Are the sliding grills on the side windows there to keep out the hot sun or stop thrown rocks?

Date: 06/23/20 15:00
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: masterphots

Sun.  Even though the units have AC,  that sun can cause melanoma in no time.   Track crews all wear caps with the long neck cover in the back for the same reason.   Desert railroading at its best.

Date: 07/04/20 13:10
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: PasadenaSub

Great group of photos highlighting the Newfies.


Date: 07/04/20 17:34
Re: x-Newfoundland GMDs in Chile
Author: pedrop

Very nice and different looking G12s


Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano, MG

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