The little engine that could, but had to try twice

I’ve been busy at Cuarto de Pulgada this morning and had a play with the layout while waiting for glue to dry. #5 is seriously underpowered for use on a mountainous line like the FCPyF but I like the little engine and allocated it to work a tourist special from Centrales to Cuarto, it didn’t get very far!

The train stalled shortly after crossing Jones River, with no spare loco available at Centrales, #5 was going to have to “double the hill” and reversed slowly back down to the station.

The train was split and #5 took the coaches one by one up to Rio Paleta.

The first coach was left on the mine siding at Rio …

… then #5 returned light engine to Centrales …

… to pick up the second coach …

… and head back up the hill again.

On arrival at Rio Paleta the train was re-assembled …

… and they set off for Cuarto, running about two hours late.

More time was lost as the train stalled again just short of Cumbre. After a stop to build up steam pressure (OK, after getting an unprototypical shove from a large hand in the sky) #5 finally reached the summit and started the gentle descent into Cuarto de Pulgada.

As #5 arrived at CdP railcar 20 was waiting to depart, a mere three hours late. Nothing by FCPyF standards, life moves at a slower pace in Sierra Oculta.

Anyway, back to the land of reality! In addition to the new platform at CdP, and ground cover between the hotel and the goods siding, there’s a now a backdrop to hide the brickwork of the garage wall behind the layout.

I’ll get round to painting some scenery on it eventually but even as a plain white (misty?) background it is a major improvement.


Railcar 20 still hadn’t reached Grande by its return working departure time. Passengers from Grande travelled on the San Fernandez train as far as Centrales where they changed onto a dispatcher’s extra for onwards travel to Rio and Cuarto. Forney #4 was pressed into service with the old Ferrocarril San Pedro saloon, not as comfortable as #20’s trailer coach but nobody was complaining because it’s a very rare occurrence that the FCPyF looks after its passengers in this manner. Quite apart from which, nobody had a clue what time the railcar would be returning from Grande!

After its surprise appearance at Cuarto the Forney returned to Centrales as an empty stock train.

The real reason for the Forney being given a round trip between Centrales and Cuarto was as a test run following the addition of some ballast weight on the loco’s rear bogie to improve its tracking. A trailing load was required for the test because the loco’s rear coupler is mounted on the bogie and the coach was as good as anything else for the job



About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food.
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