On the Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino (FCAF)
"The Train at the End of the World"

This is where Ushuaia is !

In 1999 Shaun moved to southern Argentina to take up the post of 'Technical Manager' with Tranex Turismo S.A. Here he has undertaken a large amount of work on steam development in conjunction with L. D. Porta. Shaun is based on the Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino (FCAF) in Ushuaia. Click here for a technical description of the line and stock. The line is laid to 50cm along the route of a line originally built to service a large prison colony in the area. The single manned steam locos on the new tourist line, as built, were not really up to the job and this became apparent fairly quickly. To address many of the shortcomings modification programmes were drawn up both locomotives. These are Argentinean built 0-4-0+0-4-0 Garratt 'KM' type No.2 'Nora' (now No.2 'Ing L.D.Porta') and Winson (UK) built 2-6-2T No.3 'Camila', based on the standard Winson 'ZB' type. These projects are still on-going and have, to date, revolutionised the performance and reliability of the locos.

This shows the current route of FCAF. Shortly it is hoped to commence work on an extension that will take the line in to the very heart of Ushuaia.

This shows the current route of FCAF. Shortly it is hoped to commence work on an extension that will take the line in to the very heart of Ushuaia.

Winson built 2-6-2T FCAF No.3 Camila (left) stands in No.2 road 'Estacion Fin del Mundo' during a layover between duties. KM Class Garratt 0-4-0+0-4-0 FCAF No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' stands over the pit outside the workshops. See above for a view of No.2 in original condition. No.2 is being given a routine inspection and pressure wash. Both locos sport many modifications, perhaps the most prominent being the Lempor tapered chimneys and on No.2 the curved main steam pipe behind the dome. January 14 2003 © Shaun McMahon

Winson built 2-6-2T FCAF No.3 'Camila' (left) stands in No.2 road 'Estacion Fin del Mundo' during a layover between duties. KM Class Garratt 0-4-0+0-4-0 FCAF No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' stands over the pit outside the workshops. See above for a view of No.2 in original condition. No.2 is being given a routine inspection and pressure wash. Both locos sport many modifications, perhaps the most prominent being the Lempor tapered chimneys and on No.2 the curved main steam pipe behind the dome. January 14 2003 © Shaun McMahon

In 2001 Shaun's job moved up a gear with more responsibility for future developments. Included in the projects that have been undertaken, and in some cases are still in hand, are further developments of FCAF Nos. 2&3, a new carriage design, a new wagon design and work on the 10km extension of FCAF in to Ushuaia proper.

To read more on the locomotive rebuilds and modifications undertaken at FCAF please click below:

No.2 'Nora'/'Ing L.D.Porta'
Stage 1 Rebuild 2001

No.3 'Camila'
Stage 1 Rebuild 1999

No.2 'Nora'/'Ing L.D.Porta'
No.3 'Camila'

In 2006 a new locomotive arrived on FCAF, No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta'. In due course it is intended to present a full article on this locomotive but this is not yet ready. In early 2007 Shaun supplied some photos of No.5 lined up with other members of the FCAF fleet. Click here to view the photos.
In 2006 a new locomotive arrived on FCAF, No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta'. In due course it is intended to present a full article on this locomotive but this is not yet ready. In early 2007 Shaun supplied some photos of No.5 lined up with other members of the FCAF fleet. Click here to view the photos.

In 1999, shortly after Shaun's arrival, FCAF introduced the state of the art boiler water treatment regime, known as 'Porta Treatment'; it was the late L.D.Porta who first developed the system. This treatment allows locomotives to run for six months or more without washouts. Click here to read more - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT !

Click here to read more - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!

In May 2000 Shaun McMahon wrote an interesting and useful article giving a good overview of FCAF. Some of the plans refereed to have now been overtaken by events. However it is a very worthwhile document to read:

A Brief Technical Description of the Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Rep. Argentina.

Also available is my own report on the line resulting from my visit in January 2004:

Visit to the Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino (FCAF) 500mm Gauge Railway, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina January 2004

Click here to view information on the other Tranex Turismo S.A. projects Shaun has been involved with away from FCAF.
Click here to view information on the other Tranex Turismo S.A. projects Shaun has been involved with away from FCAF.

In early November 2004 newly overhauled FCAF No.2 was to be seen out and about on test with some of the new carriages that have arrived on the line.

FCAF No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' on Macarena bank with three of the new carriages. November 9 2004.  FCAF
FCAF No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' on Macarena bank with three of the new carriages. November 9 2004. © FCAF

FCAF No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' tops Macarena bank with three of the new carriages. Note the work in hand to add a loop and second platform at La Mcarena station. November 9 2004.  FCAF
FCAF No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' tops Macarena bank with three of the new carriages. Note the work in hand to add a loop and second platform at La Macarena station. November 9 2004. © FCAF

For more information on FCAF and Shaun's work I recommend you visit these sites:

FCAF
The Ultimate Steam Page
International Working Steam Locomotives
Railways of the Far South
Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino
The Ultimate Steam Page
International Working Steam Locomotives
Railways of the Far South

Further photos of FCAF, and some of the old prison railway, can be found here.

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