M Y O B

The Life and Times of Bruce Bramson

RETURN TO ECUADOR – I

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In my last page, I mentioned my return to Ecuador in 1994. Referring back to my passport collection, I find it really was 1993:

PASSPORT

I took a room at the Grand Hotel, which was air-conditioned—at least when there was electricity. It was pretty intermittent, and the small room could get really hot and stuffy quickly. However, I did not plan to spend much time there, and the next day after I arrived I was across the River to Durán to see if there was going to be a steam train that day. The only thing going was a railbus excursion, available only to those with tickets. Bummer! So I rented a taxi and headed for Bucay. The road was in terrible shape, barely passable in spots, but the driver got me there in one piece. As soon as I set foot on the ground, I spotted a steam engine at the water tower. It was #53.

#53 gets a drink

Engine 53 taking water

#53 waiting 2

Sinking slowly into the ground at the tower

#53 waiting 1

Engine 53 relaxing before the climb

It was mid-morning, and clearly preparations were under way for a run “up the hill”. Without knowing it, I had a long wait ahead of me, but ANY ride on steam is worth waiting for. I wandered around town, keeping my eye of any movement of #53. The first thing needed was to turn her around:

#53 Heads to Wye 1

Engine 53's front end as she heads for the wye

#53 Heads to Wye 2

Headed for the wye

I had taken with me a number of packets of pictures I had snapped on my stay in 1979: I handed these out to any of the railway workers who seemed interested. They seemed appreciative, and enjoyed the pictures, as there seemed to be plenty of time before anything was to happen.

Back from the Wye

Now turned around, #53 waits for her train

Waiting for the Mixto

More waiting!

Around noon, the  day’s Mixto arrived with diesel power at the head end. These new diesel electrics looked to me to be far too large to get past Bucay, but perhaps they could. In any case, today the mixto was to be pulled onward by steam: yaaay! The mixto must have been made up after I was in Durán: I had seen no part of it earlier. Perhaps it had left early!

Arrival of the Mixto

Here comes the Mixto.

Mixto baggage

Typical baggage on the daily Mixto

The train was spotted at the low end of town, and the Diesel disconnected: it moved into the wye to await Engine 53’s arrival for connection and further movement.

HeadedBack

Engine 53 will back down to connect to the Mixto

Hooked to Mixto

Venerable engine #53 takes her place at the Mixto

After taking this picture I ambled down in time to take a seat on the tender, awaiting the thrilling climb up the Andes  I had experienced so many times previously.

Pulling Up to town

Pulling into the main drag, on a 3.5% gradient and curve

Cab of #53

The mechanista's portion of the cab

We stopped opposite the Railway Restaurant:

Railway restaurant

However, it was closed

Local construction

From my spot on the tender, I could see this fine construction

There was the usual delay as cars were added or removed from the Mixto. Engine 53 waited patiently.

Waiting to depart

Ready to go!

By this time it was well past noon, and I was getting hungry, so I climbed down, took the picture above, and found some hot food. Eventually, everything seemed ready, so I clambered back to my favorite spot on the tender and waited some more. What happened next will be the subject of my next page.

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Written by Editor

October 31st, 2010 at 3:24 pm