Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 162,539 pages of information and 244,522 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Taltal Railway

From Graces Guide

The Taltal Railway, Chile (1944)[1]

"IN common with a large number of lines in South and Central America, the Taltal Railway of Chile is owned and operated by a British company. It is located within the so-called “ rainless belt ” and serves the department from which it takes its name in the southern part of the province of Antofagasta, which is situated in the north of the country. Its principal source of revenue is the traffic provided by the nitrate industry, for which Chile is well known, and, as may be seen from the accompanying sketch map, it is the only railway connecting the territory through which it runs with the port of Taltal, on the Pacific Ocean. It connects with the Northern Longitudinal Railway at Catalina. The line was opened for traffic on October 20, 1882, and the company now owns 160 miles of single track (including 68 miles of branch lines); the gauge throughout is 3 ft. 6 in. According to figures supplied recently to our associated weekly contemporary, The Railway Gazette, rolling stock comprises 40 locomotives, 18 carriages, 1,056 goods vehicles, one motor railcar, and one ambulance car. All-steel 18-ton medium-sided double-bogie wagons, of which there are 635 in service, are used for the transport of coal, nitrate, and mineral ore; and for the conveyance of fuel oil there are 35 hint wagons of 13 tons capacity each.

Apart from nitrate, the Taltal Railway concerned with the carriage of coal, mineral ore, and fuel oil, as already indicated, and of foodstuffs and gold, the latter from a mm about 80 miles from Taltal. Trains loaded with coal, fuel oil, and foodstuffs constitute the main traffic in the inland direction, and the chief commodities conveyed down to the port are nitrate, gold, and mineral ore. The company owns two moles at Taltal, from which the shipping capacity is 3,000 tons a day outwards, and 700 tons a day wards. Nitrate and mineral ore are gravity-loaded into lighters by means of chutes. Discharge from the lighters is performed by four gantry cranes, each of 30 cwt. capacity. The Taltal Railway has two tanks for the storage of fuel oil, which hold together 4,000 tons; it owns also a water pipe-line, 112 miles in length, leading from the foothills of the Andes down to the port.

Readers may recall that, in our January-February, 1943, issue, we published an illustration of a locomotive delivered to the Taltal Railway in 1881 which is still in service as a docks shunter. Six others which arrived as part of the same batch are also in operation. They were built by Nasmyth, Wilson and Co, and cost £1,200 each. Nearly 62 years of useful working is a tribute to the manufacturers, and to the railway's locomotive department for its care and maintenance. The company has several Vulcan Foundry locomotives, built in 1890, on main-line service."


Class Wheel Arr Dr. Dia. Cylinders Dia x Str Boiler Press Ad. Wt. EW WO Grate Area Evap. Surface Sup. Surface Remarks
Some of the Taltal Railway Steam Locomotives[2]
1 0-6-0T 36in 13x20in 150psi 25t 25t 8sq.ft. 570sq.ft. None NW
23 0-6-4T 39in 16x20in 150psi 33t 45t 17sq.ft. 1005sq.ft. None Dübs
25 2-6-0T 39in 14.5x20in 150psi 33t 38t 13sq.ft. 690sq.ft. None NB
27 2-6-0T 40in 14.5x20in 150psi 34t 39t 13sq.ft. 685sq.ft. None BP
50 0-6-6-0T 34in 14x18in(4) 160psi 61t 61t 25sq.ft. 1150sq.ft. None Kitson-Meyer


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Railway Magazine, Vol. 90. No. 551, May-June, 1944, pp.158—159.
  2. J.D.H. Smith’s website called “Standard steam locomotives - Taltal Railway steam locomotives” - http://orion.math.iastate.edu/