• Buenos Aires Pacific Railway

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Jocelyn
 
A letter written 7th October 1913 and on headed paper which reads Ferrocarril de Buenos Aires al Pacifico has recently come into my possession.
The author of the letter left Crystal Palace Engineering School in 1911 with qualifications in Steam & the Steam Engine - Pattern Making & Foundry Work. I presume these are the qualifications that would have taken him to work on the railway.
The address is given as; Dept Via y Obras, F.C.B.A.P. Bahia Blanca, La Argentina. Although the content of the letter is on the whole personal there are references to (Russon?) having to go down to B. Blanca to see Steven’s the Divisional Engineer.
I have to admit, as the families genealogist I have been blessed with no knowledge of railways, so would be grateful for anything anyone can tell me, suggest, or a simple guess, at what my cousin may have been doing out in Argentina.
I am willing to forward an email of the letter should anyone think they can help, or wish to read it, but have to pre-warn you that some of the descriptive comments would today be classified as racially offensive
  by george matthews
 
Jocelyn wrote:A letter written 7th October 1913 and on headed paper which reads Ferrocarril de Buenos Aires al Pacifico has recently come into my possession.
The author of the letter left Crystal Palace Engineering School in 1911 with qualifications in Steam & the Steam Engine - Pattern Making & Foundry Work. I presume these are the qualifications that would have taken him to work on the railway.
The address is given as; Dept Via y Obras, F.C.B.A.P. Bahia Blanca, La Argentina. Although the content of the letter is on the whole personal there are references to (Russon?) having to go down to B. Blanca to see Steven’s the Divisional Engineer.
I have to admit, as the family's genealogist I have been blessed with no knowledge of railways, so would be grateful for anything anyone can tell me, suggest, or a simple guess, at what my cousin may have been doing out in Argentina.
I am willing to forward an email of the letter should anyone think they can help, or wish to read it, but have to pre-warn you that some of the descriptive comments would today be classified as racially offensive
The context is that Argentina was considered an unofficial part of the British Empire. It was British capital that paid for the railways and British engineers who ran them. The companies continued to be British until Peron nationalised them. There is still a large population of of British descended people living there, with the social structure of a British overseas community - although by now they speak Spanish at least as much as English.
I presume that what your letter confirms is that much of the engineering work at the time was still done by people trained in Britain. It sounds like he was going to work in a locomotive works where they maintained, and perhaps even built, steam locomotives - one of the essential types of work in running a large busy rail system. Pattern making is the process of making new engine parts by first making a wooden model for such purposes as casting a new part from molten metal. This is foundry work. It is very skilled work.
I would add that Via y Obras suggests he worked on the track and civil engineering rather than the locomotives. Or at least that the letter was from the department in charge of the permanent way.
Last edited by george matthews on Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.