Old locomotives in the Ande

Locomotive, musée ferroviaire de Tacna, Pérou

Today a subject slightly different from music, as this is your chance to learn more about railways in South America through the railway museum of Tacna.

The history of railways in also a sign about eh history of this continent!
First of all, this is a bloody and swety history, s it’s very difficult to build railway trough the Andes, at high altitude, piercing trough mountains, without anything around.

But even more, building railway was requiring machines imported parts by parts, but also a workshop to make all the pieces for the trains and the road. And except the big components, everything was made in the workshop, thus using woodsmen to make moulds, minerals and furnaces to obtain metals, and lot’s of smiths to finish the objects.

Moules pour la construction ferroviaire, Tacna, Pérou

And this workshops aren’t at all like the modern ones. The walls still smells smoke and oil, and when an actual factory use a lot of independent small machines, this old modern workshop were using a single subhuman steam engine, alimented all the time, which powered trough timing belt hanging from the roof all the other machines.

Engrenage, Tacna, Pérou

It is already really impressive to see the remains of this old workshop, but just imagine it when it was alive, workers should have been overwhelmed by the noise and the power of the machines.

You can intellectually understand The Modern Time or Metropolis, but you cannot feel this ambiguous connection with the machines without seeing this deserted workshop, with its bench curved by the work.

Railways are all over South America but sadly nowadays most is abandoned, or privatised and used only for tourism. But let’s hope than in the future South American states will realise how intelligent, economic and magic the railways are!

2 comments for “Old locomotives in the Ande”

  1. Chouette article !

  2. Merci =)
    Les vieilles locos sont étrangement fascinantes.

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