• Ferrocarril Central Andino

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

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Benny

Apart the sidelined units (most of which fried the prime mover), the running locomotives are not in good health with daily problems mainly to engines, turbochargers, rheostatic braking and control circuits but also simpler things like fallen windscreens or smashed seats.
Hauled stock too has troubles, especially to the rolling parts and the braking system; the worst ones are the acid tankers that, being not so numerous, are intensely used.

Undoubtably the line is a challenge but better maintenance and a lowering of the hauled tonnage with more use of double heading (also because, at high quote engines loose power due to the oxigen rarefaction) could help very much.
But the father of problems is the scantiness of motive power, made worse by the prohibition of transit on the higher part of the line for many locos and the bad fame of the double-cabs as climbers. The two C40-8Ws are the most powerful but (apart the quick failure of 1033) couldn't be used where bigger is the need of heavy haul.
The company is not "poor", the main shareholders are big mining firms, and what is needed is an injection of locomotives, powerful and adapted to the tunnels reduced loading gauge. More, as Conrail is between the shareholders and should have good knowledge about locomotives, possibly a model less troubled than C39-8s, that yet in the USA were badly renowned for turbocharger problems.
The ideal would be wiring but this would imply the enlargement of the loading gauge, the improvement of some stretches and overall the acquisition of new traffic, also in the passengers field, but these are not priorities for the company that, apparently, sees other traffics as disturbs for the ore trains.

And here comes the fundamental question: who pays? The Peruvian state has the (bad) habit of making others pay for project and building of its great works in exchange of a long term concession and in eight years the FCCA thirty years one will expire; logically, without a secured future, the company is not interested in big improvements.
Last but not least, the operator don't build loyalty with the workers; instead pays lower than the average with the result of loose frequently trained personnel and generate vandalism by unhappy people.

In the end lights but also many shadows. It's correct that, at the end of the state management, the railroad was in a more than sorry state and, thanks to the concession, it could survive although regional and national governments put many obstacles but, after a first time of big expansion ("new" stock, acquisition of the cement plant as client, the metro-wanka project, the containers etc.), now the company seems only interested in fulfill with the current contracts.

Hope it has been an interesting reading. Remember that this is only my personal opinion.
As usual, for doubts or questions ask me.

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
I dislike FCCA locomotive 801 (and instead love the original sister 533) but it has an interesting story to tell.
Cerro de Pasco mining company, that operated in the homonym village, at the beginning of the last century built a railroad to connect itself with the Ferrocarril Central at La Oroya to ease sending of the produced ore and, between 1964 and 66, received from GM-EMD seven GR12 locomotives that were numbered 31-37.
In 1974 the company was nationalised by the military government of the time and renamed Centromin and, some years later, the railroad was incorporated into the state-owned Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles (ENAFER) but not all the motive power changed ownership: at least loco 36 remained with Centromin, probably for shunting.
At the end of the 90s, after having killed the Peruvian railways, ENAFER went bankruptcy and the transport ministry re-privatised nearly all of railroads (the Huancayo-Huancavelica and Tacna-Arica, the two ones actually not operating, are the sole still in the hands of the ministry).
The Cerro de Pasco line was
included in the concession for the Ferrocarril Central that was gained by Ferrovias Central Andina (FVCA) and is operated by its subsidiary Ferrocarril Central Andino (FCCA). And this is the reason because the state-owned stock and the operator's one are differently marked.
But the motive power coming from ENAFER was in a pitiful state, to say the least, and FCCA was in need of a testbed for some modifications to do at the "new" locos so bought, direct from Centromin, loco 36, at the time still in original shape like the actual 533 (ex 33).
FCCA 533 chinalcos Puerto Nuevo 011121 BN.jpg
Between the various experiments there was the installation of a new cab similar to the G22CW one with displacement of the air ducts at the back of it and lowering of the front nose.
Although not perfect, this is the sole photo that I know of the short period in which the loco had this appearance. Many thanks to Sergio, a peruvian railfan that sent it me.
Meanwhile born the project of a tourist train that was intended to be hauled, ended tests, by 36. And, to make the journey more attractive, the cab was re-rebuilt creating a sort of "belvedere" with two seats for vip passengers.
FCCA 801 in sosta davanti Patio Centrmal #1 b_n.jpg
After the first runs, someone understood that the 1310 hp of a GR12 were not a great power to hoist about ten coaches from the sea level to 4800 m but the loco was by then modified and so, with its strange appearance, it passed to the more humble shunting and double-heading duties that still makes daily.

Ciao :wink:
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