The International Steam Pages


Preserved Steam in Panama

The story of the recovered steam locomotive was given several years ago. Now Mike Clendining updates it:

One of the locos from the failed French attempt to build a canal in the 1880s/90s has been lifted from the bottom of Gatun lake. This loco, together with two skips has recently gone on display below the visitor centre at Miraflores lock. No leaflets or explanatory plaque are yet available, so any visitor passing by is unaware of the history of this remarkable survivor. The loco (which is 5' gauge) has been sprayed inside and out with a thick black coating which obscures any numbers which may be stamped on the motion.

A tourist train operates in conjunction with cruise ships (one dome car and four 'executive' A/C cars with large open observation areas) the relaid track is very smooth and the 50 mile (approx) trip takes about one hour.

The prime use of the line is to transport containers, which must be off-loaded from some ships before entering the canal and reloaded after transit. These are transported two high, which has necessitated lowering the track through the only tunnel on the line (near Miraflores) by several feet.


Rob Dickinson

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