The International Steam Pages

Preserved Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives around Girona

This is one of a series of pages on this area of Spain, see also:

James Waite reports on a trip with Neil Edwards and Thomas Kautzor in September 2011 which follows Thomas Kautzor's update from July 2015 (8th August 2015):

"Of the SFG locos we missed a few years ago, after a repaint 0-6-2T No. 2, formerly on display at Plaça de Espanya in front of the railway station in Girona, but under restoration at the time of our last visit, was placed on display in front of ‘Antic Hospital de Santa Caterina at Plaça de l’Hospital’ in the centre of town in 03/2012. In 04/2015 it was however removed and put back into storage until it is again put on display on Plaça de Espanya.

At San Feliu de Guixols (0-6-2T No. 4 and 0-6-0DM No. 20) are stored in a shed near the port. I wrote to the municipality’s tourist office and got the reply that it was not possible to photograph them at the moment because some other stuff had been placed in front of them.

At Girona, the station building of the metre gauge ‘Ferrocarril Olot – Girona’ is now an office building."

We started at Girona airport courtesy of a cheap Ryanair flight from Stansted. The first 7 photos are of 4 preserved Sant Feliu - Girona Ry (750mm gauge) locos around Girona and Sant Feliu. The first of these is of no. 7 (Krauss Munich 2392/1890) a 2-cylinder compound loco which came to the line second hand from the Onda-Grau-Castellon north of Valencia after it closed in 1965. It's on display outside Fornells de la Selva station, the first stop south of Girona on the main line towards Barcelona. It's looked after by the Girona enthusiasts club. They also have an Olot-Girona (metre gauge) coach there and quite an elaborate miniature railway.

Then there's no. 5 (KM 2826/1893), one of the line's original locos which is now preserved by an enthusiasts group at the old Castell d'Aro station near near Sant Feliu. It was freshly painted and I got the distinct impression that the paint had been applied in readiness for our visit! Very friendly and helpful people there. I'd seen no. 5 in action when I visited the area in 1968, the year before the line closed, and to say that my photos of it which I'd brought with me were welcomed would be a distinct understatement! There's a small museum inside the station building and another miniature railway outside. This museum isn't yet normally open to the public.

The photo of no. 1 (KM 2355/1890) shows it in the new museum at Sant Feliu run by the local council, opened only last July in an old warehouse at the port. There's also one of the line's coaches there. The staff at the council were most accommodating and treated us to a tour of their underground archives store where all the railway's engineering drawings and records were deposited after the line's closure by order of a local judge - a huge archive. As a result it must be one of the best documented narrow gauge lines anywhere I should think! They also took us through their photo records, now digitized, and have since sent me copies of the ones that were especially interesting and also gave us a beautifully produced book published in 1996 to mark the railway's centenary.

Next we moved on to Cassa de la Selva, another village along the old line's route where Sr. Bregante, a businessman involved in manufacturing copper wire, has preserved no. 6 (KM 5267/1905), a coach and a van in his garden. The loco was purchased by his late father in 1975. This loco still carries its old SFG paint and as you can see the interior of the coach is delightful. He is starting to restore the loco to working order, something he hopes will not be too difficult as it was believed to be in working order when his father bought it. Sr. Bregante also owns a large and quite magnificent collection of vintage cars housed in a purpose-built museum building. He gave me a poster which his father had commissioned in 1975 to mark his purchase of the loco and train which now has pride of place in my office!

For the sake of completeness SFG no. 2, which used to be on display outside the Renfe station in Girona, is now in a store run by the council there as it was damaged in a fire, probably started by vagrants who were squatting in it. SFG no. 4, together with the line's elderly diesel and two coaches, are in a council store at Sant Feliu, close to the new museum, awaiting restoration. The curator hadn't appreciated that we would have liked to see them and had left the key behind.

Finally the rusty loco in the last photo is an Olot-Girona (metre gauge) 2-6-0T no. 8 (St. Leonard 1679/1911) preserved at a factory in the northern outskirts of Girona run by Bigas y Alsinas SA. They make boilers for the food rendering industry and had also restored SFG no. 2 for the Girona council to put on display at the station. Sr. Bigas, who showed me around, was very upset by the subsequent fire damage to SFG no. 2. This is the only survivor of five of these locos, nos 6-10, which were built between 1910 and 1912 and which were a distinct improvement on the line's early 0-6-2T's which had been built by Falcon, Brush and Kerr Stuart between 1893 and 1900. They were the line's most modern motive power until the four MTM 2-6-2T's which arrived in 1926 - two of these are shown in James' report of a steam special on the FGC.

Rob Dickinson