British-built steam plinthed in Colombia

DESPITE its recent turbulent history, there are around 40 surviving steam locos in Colombia. The majority surviving are American-built, along with a selection from various European builders, but two British-built locos survive.

Colombia’s railways were built from the 1860s onwards by a variety of private companies and only unified as a national operation in the 1950s but have since been split into several private concessions again.

Ex-Dorada Railway Company 0-6-0T No. 4 (Hudswell, Clarke 725/1904), now named Colombia, plinthed in the grounds of the Estación Montoya museum in Barranquilla on September 27, 2017. STUART HICKS

Around 571 steam locos were used on the various lines before dieselisation or closure, of these 15.2% (87 locos) were made in the UK; the third biggest contingent the US supplied 50.4% of all the locos (288) and Germany slightly more than the UK (16.6% or 95 locos).

Outside the now disused passenger station in Cali in the south-west of the country, Fowler built 0-4-2T Number 1 dating back to 1879 is plinthed (Fowler 3815/1879).

In Barranquilla, the capital of Colombia’s Atlántico Department on the Caribbean coast, the other surviving British-built loco is a Hudswell, Clarke 0-6-0T built as No. 4 for the Dorada Railway Company – as its name suggests, a British owned line!

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