Saturday, June 14, 2014

Today's Train of Thought- We're Not in Kansas Anymore, June 14, 2014

In honor of the 2014 World Cup, today's Train of Thought takes us not just South of the Border, but south of a couple of borders all the way down to Brazil.

Between 1957 and 1999, most of the rail network in Brazil was operated under the authority of the state controlled RFFSA. The size and scope of railroading in Brazil range from antique streetcars in Rio to some of the world's heaviest trains operating in the northeastern part of the country. Starting in the late 1990s, various lines were privatized and sold off to outfits such as MRS Logistica, Ferronorte, Ferrovia Centro Atlantica, ALL Logistica and VALE SA mining [the lions share of the lines in northern Brazil have been incorporated as part of VALE's considerable mining operations- NANESB!].

Brazil's economic growth in recent years has been so rapid that the various private operators- who have a taste of GE and EMD power- couldn't wait for new power to be built and purchased hundreds of secondhand EMD and GE locomotives from US Class 1's such as CSX, BNSF, Conrail, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific. Many of these locomotives were pressed into service so rapidly that a number of them were still painted in the colors of their former owners, despite being a hemisphere away.

Some of the power now in Brazil included models and rebuilds that were unique to their previous owner- such as the SFC30, which were Santa Fe U36Cs rebuilt using components from C30-7s and C39-8s in the 1980s. The SF30Cs soldiered on with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe through the time of the merger with BNSF where they were traded into GE for newer Dash Nines or returned to lessor. Sensing the trade-ins still had some mileage on them, the leasing companies began shopping the SF30C and other GE trade-ins to shortline and regional lines- the Minnesota Commercial purchased a few, but the majority ended up in South America on any number of the privatized lines.

Here, contributor Lucas MR caught FCA [Ferrovia Centro Atlantica- NANESB!] SF30C #4718 smoking it up along with other heavy-duty, 6-axle GEs as it leads FCA train U57 out of the yard at Canguera, Sao Paolo state on January 19, 2013. The tracks in and out of Canguera are dual gauge, meaning that both standard gauge and narrow gauge trains can operate into the yard.

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