FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Double disaster

Posted in Brazil, Tubarão by folkestonejack on July 6, 2013

The wonderful start to the day, combined with the good weather, left me buoyant with optimism for the tour. I should have known that nothing can be quite that smooth, and that trouble was lurking just around the corner…

The first disaster of the day occurred when the grate of Alco no. 153 collapsed into the ashpan while it was on its way back. As it is expected that it will take two days to repair this, the ex-Argentinian Santa-Fe 2-10-2 (no. 205) was brought into steam earlier than originally intended, though we were warned that it would not be ready until late afternoon. A long lunch beckoned…

EMD GL8 diesel-electric locomotive 4008 comes to the rescue

Veteran EMD GL8 diesel-electric locomotive 4008 (built in 1961) comes to the rescue

In the afternoon we set off for the loop where Alco no. 153 had dropped her fire. An EMD GL8 diesel-electric locomotive (no. 4008) was on the scene already and soon began the work of separating the wagons, box-car and steam locomotive. After this process was completed the diesel dragged Alco no. 153 back to the museum. Worryingly though, there was no sign of the Santa Fe which should have arrived at 3.30pm.

News soon filtered through that the Santa Fe had also failed with everything pointing to a problem with the steam pipe (although this later appeared to be something of a mistranslation, with the actual problem identified as a leaking boiler tube). Although this should be fixable the locomotive will have to cool down before this can happen. The suggestion that the locomotive would be in steam by tomorrow afternoon seemed a little optimistic to us!

I always try my hardest to look for a glimmer of hope, even on a bad day like this, but there is no doubt that the outlook is pretty grim for the next few days (at least).

One small positive in the day was that our unexpected long lunch stop gave us a chance to try the traditional Brazilian Feijoada (a stew of black beans with beef, pork trimmings and sausage) and a rather incredible dessert made up of a milk mousse with a coconut layer and white chocolate crust. It’s not much to grasp at, but I’ll take anything right now!


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