Ferrosur - Orizaba to Veracruz


Two C30-7's ease a train of Ferrosur and Ferromex automaxes toward the mainline at Orizaba yard.

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Orizaba

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Although the city of Orizaba is on the valley floor, the line toward Veracruz is still very steep as the the foothills of the Sierra Madre lean toward the Gulf Coast. Many rivers wind out of the mountains creating the steep valleys that eventually open to the coastal plains. Through this region, Ferrosur's Linea S is an interesting mix of historic and modern railroading. Much of the original FC Mexicano right of way is still used, undulating over ridges and crossing the many rivers on old steel trestles. It is common to find old catenary poles still standing along the mainline, remnants of the 1920's electrification from Paso de Macho to Esperanza. However, many parts of the line were rebuilt as part of the 1980's public work projects, featuring some impressive concrete bridges.

Orizaba yard sits on a 2% grade, sloping southward toward Veracruz. Here, a southbound train is slowly starting toward the mainline as it begins its trip to Tierra Blanca (via Linea G). Meanwhile double stacked containers (as well as some in gondolas) sit in the yard while a switcher approaches on the mainline.




Distributed power is now very commonly used in many different arrangements on Ferrosur. This heavy northbound train from Veracruz is using two sets of DPU's while only one locomotive is on the head-end. A work train is stopped in the distance on one main track while this train approaches Orizaba Yard.




Before the use of distributed power, manned helpers were very common throughout Ferrosur's mountainous territory. This northbound is about to cross over into Orizaba Yard with a set of mid-train helpers visible in the distance.




South from Orizaba, Linea S immediately starts to pass through sugar cane fields that cover the valley floors in southern Veracruz. A leased TFM AC44CW is leading this southbound through the fields as it approaches Sumidero.




Approaching Sumidero on the double track that extends from Encinar to Fortin (through Orizaba), this empty grain train is coasting through one of the many sags.


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Puente Metlac

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Between Sumidero and Fortin, Linea S crosses the Metlac Ravine on a high concrete bridge. The original right of way wound down the side of the ravine and crossed the river on a sharply curving bridge only to climb up a stiff grade on the other side. The new double-tracked bridge crosses directly over the ravine.

Led by a leases Feromex AC44CW, a southbound intermodal train is crossing Puente Metlac.




A southbound empty grain train crossing the bridge on a typical foggy morning.




On sunny days, Pico de Orizaba dominates the skyline above the Orizaba Valley. This southbound train is bound for Coatzacoalcos via Linea G.




A southbound manifest train is curving through Fortin moments after sunrise.




A northbound grain train is diverging at the beginning of double track at Fortin.





Although the coastal valleys of Veracruz are covered in lush tropical vegetation, the land is still very rugged. This northbound train is digging into the steep grades and sags that extend above Córdoba. Notice the catenary poles that still line the tracks through this area, reminders that this line was once electrified.





At Paraje Nueva, this northbound grain train struggles to climb away from the Rio Atoyac.




A northbound train curving through the village of Paraje, a small sugar cane town.


The town of Portrero was once the center of the large sugar cane industry in this region. There was a large sugar mill that was served by a shortline railroad and large yard. While the yard is still used for storage, and the shortline's engines sit dormant, most of the areas sugar cane is now trucked to larger mills throughout the region. This northbound is passing through Potrero while kids walk home from school.



A northbound approaches the old yard at Potrero. The tracks to the left were a yard lead while the foreground is the current siding. This train will meet a southbound that is taking the siding at the north end.





At Atoyac, Linea S winds into a narrow canyon above Rio Atoyac. This part of the line was rebuilt on the opposite side of the canyon. The tracks now pass through Túnel Pensil and a concrete rock-shed before crossing over Rio Atoyac. This northbound can be seen winding though the tunnel.




A southbound exiting Túnel Pensil in early morning light.




Northbound trains from Veracruz leave the coastal plains and encounter the first of the mountains at Atoyac. This northbound grain train is crossing Rio Atoyac on the impressive series of concrete bridges. In the distance the coastal plains stretch toward the Gulf of Mexico.



A northbound manifest crossing Rio Atoyac.




A short work train is on the same bridge as it heads north. Its caboose is pictured below.





A southbound is leaving the mountains behind as it enters the plains near Atoyac.




This northbound grain train is winding through sugar cane fields as it approaches the canyon at Atoyac.





A short work train is leaving Paso del Macho to pick up used concrete ties around Portero.





On clear mornings, Pico de Orizaba is visible to ships in the Gulf of Mexico. On this day, it is looming over a southbound train that is leaving Camarón siding after meeting a northbound intermodal train.




A southbound intermodal train below Pico de Orizaba. Notice that many of the containers are simply loaded into gondola cars; a common practice on Ferrosur.




Pico de Orizaba is mostly hidden by the coastal haze that is beginning to form into clouds as a southbound baretable passes through Mata de Agua.




At Soledad de Doblado, Linea S crosses over this interesting steel tresstle. The top level carries the tracks over Rio Jamapa, while the bottom level carries a narrow wood-planked roadway.





A view of the wood-planked roadway underneath the tracks.





A southbound manifest train is entering the town of Soledad de Doblado as it crosses the Rio Jamapa.





At Manlio Fabio Altamirano, the southbound baretable train (with two hoppers on the head-end) is entering the suburbs of Veracruz. The abandoned station here is being enveloped by the dense tropical vegitation.

4 comments:

Antonio said...

Hey I used to live in Soledad de Doblado...gsaud@msn.com

gil said...

MAGNIFICO TRABAJO. te felicito yo soy de soledad de Doblado , y conozco todos estos lugares¡¡¡y tu lente capto las imagenes mas maravillosas que haya visto de ellas¡¡¡ espero subas mas de estos trabajos

gil said...

Great job. I congratulate you I'm Soledad de Doblado, and I know all these places and your lens captures the most wonderful pictures I've seen of them I hope you upload more of these jobs¡¡¡ please send me more photos at my e-mail: dibgil_23@hotmail.com

RandJ-Photo said...

I beautiful images.

I discovered your blog while searching for information about the Metlac park and the old railroad bridge. I am working out an itinerary for a photo group(s) later this year.

I would appreciate if you could direct me to more information about the area.

Robert Swinson