FolkestoneJack's Tracks

A slow day in Tubarão

Posted in Brazil, Tubarão by folkestonejack on July 7, 2013

The sight of our tour guide in flip-flops told us all we needed to know about our prospects for the morning… though it really was no great surprise to any of us. Even the most optimistic souls amongst us had struggled with the idea that either of our two locomotives would be ready today.

The news from the workshop was that the Sante Fe (no. 205) was still too hot inside (65 degrees celsius) to work on but that repairs were underway on Alco no. 153 which they expected to be ready later today. It still sounds a little too optimistic, but there is no doubting the tireless work of the engineers here. Maybe miracles are possible!? I would like to believe so…

Igreja da Guarda

Igreja da Guarda

In the absence of a plan for the morning I headed off for a walk around our hotel at Termas da Guarda, five miles north-west of Tubarão. The village includes a church, school and three small clothes shops centred around a green public park. It would be hard to put a date on any of this but some historic photographs in the hotel suggest that many of the buildings (including the hotel) date to the early twentieth century. It certainly felt fairly timeless, with just the occasional satellite dish to remind you of the 21st century world.

Around midday we headed in to town to take a look at a plinthed loco (a 2-6-6-2 Baldwin constructed in 1948) and the Museu Ferroviaro de Tubarão, home to an impressive collection of locomotives from the Ferrovia Dona Teresa Cristina. In stark contrast, the yard opposite contains a line of dumped steam locomotives that make a particularly sad sight with vegetation growing unchallenged through their rusting panels.

Under repair: Alco no. 153

Out of action: Alco no. 153

On our visit to the museum workshops it was quite clear that Alco no. 153 was not in steam yet, nor was there any sign of any repair work taking place. We soon learnt that this was because one of the fire bars had been lost when the loco was dragged back to the museum (it had been resting on the front of the loco) and nothing more could be done until it was found. A speeder had been sent out to search for it on the trackside, so we could only hope and pray!

I can only imagine the rocketing stress levels of any tour leader at times like these but we all appreciated Bernd’s efforts to try and deliver a tour in the most difficult of circumstances. Bernd pulled out the only rabbit left in the hat, asking for the museum’s third locomotive – the red liveried 2-8-2 Jung (no. 5) – to be brought into steam. It wasn’t entirely clear how long this would take, but there was now a glimmer of hope that we would see a steam locomotive out on the line before the day was out…


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