The International Steam Pages

Steam in Peru 2003

Dale Brown sent me this New Year's message from Lima, Peru

"I just got back from meeting Surco Mayor D'Argent this afternoon. He gave me a good report on the status of the narrow gauge railroad at the City Park. First the park is close to being finished. There is some areas needing finishing and security arrangements must be worked out. However, it is not open to the general public yet. It is open by special arrangement with the Municipality until the full opening. This is due to the fear of having the park overrun by thousands of people wanting to see it on the first day.

The railroad is ready to operate. They have the 0-4-0T 237 "Surcito" ready and three open bench sugar cane cars from near Arequipa. There is also a closed coach on the end of the train. The big news was he has located a second steam locomotive for the park. He had just had the first run of the repaired locomotive at the park two days ago, 29th December 2002. The locomotive did some test runs and now is back in the Surco Municipality Workshops for final adjustments and final paint. The locomotive will be sent back to the park early in the new year.

The locomotive is a 0-4-0T Henschel & Sons, built 1923 and purchased for a small amount. It was essentially abandoned along the northern coast at the Hacienda Buenas Aires, Chepen, Peru. It was paid for and loaded out the same day. Otherwise things get confused as to outsiders robbing them of a historical asset. The historical asset was forgotten and rusting away, yet important to no one. The locomotive was trucked to the Surco Shops and disassembled from the frame, up. It is to be named the Micaela. The shops will have turned a pile of scrap into a working steam locomotive again.

The FCC 0-4-0T 20 is another story. Mayor D'Argent has been trying to get this locomotive for three years. After a lot of meetings with Government Officials it was sold to another party that provided it to the Park in Surco. The Mayor hopes to send the locomotive to a real railroad museum. This brings up the next development.

Both the Mayor and Henry Posner III of RDC, have been discussing the development of a small train museum on the Central of Peru (Ferrovia Central Andina) in Huancayo. Mr Posner would like to acquire some of the Puerto Eten locomotives and move the best one, a Rogers 1878, to Huancayo. D'Argent would like to exchange one of the older Puerto Eten locomotives for the narrow gauge 2-8-2 at Battery Reducto Park in Miraflores for one of the standard gauge locomotives. The 2-8-2 would go to Huancayo for display on the H&H. There is many political red tape hurdles to overcome in Peru before this can happen. The National Institute of Culture holds some kind of control over the fate or ownership of these locomotives.

There are many other locomotives on display along the Pan American Highway or stored behind gates somewhere. Overall in Peru, many historical railroad sites and equipment has disappeared forever.

A somewhat related historical preservation question is the fate of Peruvian 1870's steam warship "Huascar" captured by Chile in the Battle of Angamos. The Chileans want to sink the ship rather than return it to Peru from whom it was captured. Chile cannot afford to maintain it anymore. A symbol of a war long ago, but its effects are still felt by Peru and Chile today.

Rob Dickinson