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Rolling stock, and bus-carrils

It is clear that much of the FCE's narrow gauge rolling stock originated from the Arthur Koppel concern in Germany, with strong influence from their vehicles for the Otavi Railway in German South West Africa. In 1908 the dirección de Obras Públicas invited tenders for stock for the Puente Alto to El Volcán line south east of Santiago. This was the first of the new 60cm gauge branches to be completed and, whilst it was later operated by the army, the initial equipping was by the DOP. The decisions made at this time seem to have led to further contracts being awarded to Koppels for the other narrow gauge lines.

However, some stock was later purchased from W. R. Grace and Co. in the USA.

Coaches
Whilst an early press report talks of a 'carrito pullman', the railways eventually seem to have settled down with a standard if rather strange design of well-framed passenger coach. Four coaches of a similar nature have survived on the Puente Alto to Volcan line in Santiago and one is illustrated here.

 

Chiloe2000coachatPAside

A cropped and enlarged image from one of Señor Provoste's pictures at Ancud station illustrates many of the idiosyncratic details of these vehicles. This one is third class coach number 4. The well frame can clearly be seen, also the double skinned roof, the cerntral buffer and side-chains, the hand-brake wheel in the end vestibule, the roof-mounted oil lamps, and the label 'Frente no. 2' to distinguish one end from the other. The livery is as yet unknown, but the style of lettering is clearly displayed.

Chiloe3rdclasscoachno4

 

Whilst the carriages do not look unusual from the outside, the underframe was a strange design which rose at each end over the bogies (trucks). It is more easily seen in the picture of Butalcura station on the page dealing with the railway's route. A derelict frame remains at the station and the chassis design is clearly visible. The design has similarities to vehicles supplied by Arthur Koppel of Berlin to railways such as the Otavi in German South West Africa (now Namibia).

Some coaches had fore-and aft facing seats in a bays of four, whilst others, possibly those of 3rd class, had inward facing wooden banches.

Additional passenger coaches to the original Koppel design, and other vehicles too, were constructed around 1924 by the Maestranza Concepción.

ChilecoachplateDHsmall

Railcars

Right from the start of the narrow gauge branches around 1909 there were small petrol-engined inspection vehicles, known as auto-vías. Nothing is known about these vehicles unless the photo below, taken on the Chillán - Recinto line, shows one of them supposedly in 1945 (4).

Autoviainstation

In later years, internal combustion engined railcars for public use were introduced, leading to a rapid increase in ticket sales on Chiloé and possibly elsewhere.

The bus-carrils
The railway had several petrol or diesel railcars, known as 'auto-carrils', 'bus-carrils' or 'gondolas'. Photos show two different models. The earlier, seen in the background of the two photos below, had a narrow bonnet (hood) over the engine at the front end and a small open platform possibly for luggage at the rear. The later type (in the foreground below) were much more streamlined, although internally they may have been similar with a four-wheeled front bogie and a single fixed axle at the rear. It appears that they were turned on the turntables at Castro and Ancud in order to run engine end first at all times. Such rail buses, though again of a different model, were used on the Volcan line as well.

It was one of these 'bus-carrils' which was involved in the fatal accident in January 1960 when it hit a fallen tree near Mocopulli.

The first photo below came from the Amigosdeltren website. The location is Castro, with the station building to the right. It may be that scheduled services ran in two parts with a second railcar following close behind the first.

BuscarrilsatCastro

Another photo, similarly showing the two varieties of bus-carril at Castro station, was taken on the occasion of the visit of a Scandinavian visitor to Castro, a Mr. Brattstrom (1). The following picture, presumably showing his wife, is included to ilustrate the lettering along the side and the Ancud destination board carried.

Chiloerailcar

Chiloe2000buscarrilin1949side

A third photo has come to light from the collection of Señor Luis Mardones Ballesteros. This tends to confirm that the vehicle had a two axle bogie at the front but only a single axle at the rear. The identities of the gentlemen in front, and the occasion, are unknown. The rear of the vehicle is standing on a turntable, presumably either at Ancud or Castro (3).

ChiloebuscarrilLMB1

The line also had a Ford car adapted for rail use for inspection purposes.

Wagons
Yet again the Punta Alto line can provide us with a sample of the four-wheeled wagons, shown below. The frames of three very similar wagons, looking as though they were rescued from the harbour, were until recently in Ancud Museum. There were also bogie wagons, only known from the underframe preserved also by Ancud Museum. They seem to have been very short, only about twenty feet long, and were probably on diamond (archbar) bogies like the passenger cars. The photo above showing the accident has a covered van in the train but no close up pictures have come to light so far. In 1912 at the opening, the stock was supposed to total 40 wagons (11).

Certainly some of the stock was bought new from an American manufacturer (2), though other vehicles may have been constructed more locally.

The following photo shows a livestock wagon which until recently survived on the FC Puente Alto to El Volcán (5).

 

CattlewagonfromPuenteAltoDH

 

 

Stock lists
A table listing DOP locos and stock in 1914 makes it possible to give the following numbers of vehicles on each line.

Numbers of vehicles on each 60cm gauge branch in 1914

Type of vehicle

Lináres - Colbun

Chillán - Las Termas

Saboya - Lumaco - Capitán Pastene

Ancud - Castro

FCE ownership, but location unspecified

Puente Alto - El Volcan line run by the Chilean Army

Planos, 4-wheeled
(tare 100kg and capacity 2000kg,
tare 600 and capacity 1000,
or planos cros tare 3500 and capacity 9000)

10

32

Planos, bogie
(tare 3500 and capacity 6000,
or tare 5650/5250/6600 and capacity 12000,
or tare 6000 and capacity 9000,
or tare 3250 and capacity 9000)

27

4

12

4

Lastreros, 4-wheeled
(tare 1700 and capacity 5000)

5

Lastreros, bogie
(tare 5500/6600 and capacity 12000)

19

10

11

9

Cajones, 4-wheeled
(tare 1750 and capacity 5000/4500)

16

Cajones, bogie
(tare 6000/6400/6600 and capacity 12000)

4

4

4

Bodejas, bogie
(tare 5000/6600 and capacity 12000)

6

6

2

Rieleros, bogie
(tare 5400 and capacity 12000)

2

Rejas, bogie
(tare 6000/7000 and capacity 12000)

4

4

2

Furgones, 4-wheeled
(tare 2500 and capacity 4000)

2

2

De mano, 4-wheeled
(tare 200 and capacity 500,
or tare 180 and capacity 400)

2

1

1st class coaches
(tare 9900 and capacity 32,
or tare 10045 and capacity 20)

1

1

1

1

1

2nd class coaches
(tare 9570 and capcity 32)

1

1

3rd class coaches
(tare 9330/9600/9900/10900 and capacity 32)

2

2

1

3

3

Mixto coaches
(1st & 3rd tare 9900/10900 and capacity 32,
or 1st & 2nd tare 10000 and capacity 32)

1

2

1

2

Correo-equipaje
(tare 7000/8000)

1

1

1

2

Source: a DOP Memoria for 1914 in the Archivo Nacional in Santiago, and purchase decrees for Puente Alto - El Volcán in 1908.

 

 

References:
1 Photo from Brattstrom collection in library of Centro Cultural, Castro.
2 El Tren de Chiloé. As above, page 39, quoting from La Cruz del Sur, Ancud, 9th November 1912.
3 Photo from the collection of Señor Luis Mardones Ballesteros kindly forwarded by Señor Luis Alberto Mancilla.
4 Photo displayed in the Chillan Antiguo website by Maximo Beltran.
5 Photo kindly supplied by Señor Derk Byland of Santiago.

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the 1922 75cm gauge lines

 

Main pages

Introduction

Construction

Locomotives

Rolling stock

Operations

Along the route

Photo album

Photos taken on other NG branches

Surviving relics

Quellon distillery

Appendices

1 Itinerary of route

2 Route map and profile

3 Analysis of Chilean 60cm gauge locos

4 Loco diagrams

5 Documents from prior to construction

6 Documents during construction

7 Documents from later years

8 Rolling stock purchase

Chapter 6

The Chiloe Island 60cm gauge railway

Glossary

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