1 January 2007 – Conexión Sur And Paredón

by Jim on 2012/01/01

[Jimbaux wants to break away.]

Día del Año Nuevo

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!  How are you doing?  Did you enjoy your societally-obligated participation in staying up past midnight?  In the wee hours of 2007, I did, even though I was ready to get up early when the sun rose to foam.  It’s funny that for the post of the previous day’s article on the Facebook fan page, Blair Kooistra posted a question about if I ever got out to García to the west of Monterrey.  Today, 1 January 2007, was the day that I’d head west (as opposed to north like the last few days) to places heretofore unexplored, and it would also be the first time I ever photograph a Ferromex train.  I had to wait awhile for my pals to show up.  Not only had they (like I) been up late the night before, but this is Mexico; people don’t get up early and are generally not in a hurry.  The be-trackside-at-dawn mentality isn’t really found here.

The Mexican Army Confrontation

I’ve written plenty about rights and rights to photography in general on this site.  Perhaps the most benign and professional questioning I’ve ever gotten came from the Mexican Army.  I was getting gasoline in Monterrey before my ferroaficionado pals met me on this New Year’s Day when I grabbed the below two photos.

Several of the soldiers on the base saw me photographing them, and an armed soldier then came out of the base, approached me, and directed me to drive my rental car to the base entrance for questioning.  Oh, boy.

“¿Cual es tu motiva?” the soldier (if memory serves me correctly, the one smiling and walking towards me in the above picture) asked me.  I was then surrounded by armed men, all of whom were very professional.  I showed them my KCS calendar pictures, was told “Por favor, no tome fotos de un campo de militar,” and went on my way to pick up my ferroaficionado pals for some holiday foaming in the desert!

So, why, then, is the USA so scary? and why do our leaders and enforcers try to keep us scared?  I think that the second questioned answered the first!

Foam Supply

Our first order of business was to stock up on foam supply stuff, including gasoline.  Hello, PEMEX.

And, while we are here, let’s get a different kind of fuel.  Hello, Super Siete.

Now, we’re heading west.  Sweet!

Conexión Sur

A few days ago, you saw Conexión Norte, where the new bypass track joins the old mainline into Monterrey north of town at Escobedo.  Today, you will see Conexión Sur, out past the city of García in the community of Nacatáz in the western part of the state of Nuevo León.  The first thing we noticed is that there was a grain train moving south through the connection.  The second thing we noticed was that MofW workers were out on this holiday working on the switch because a southbound train had derailed here the night before.  The third thing we noticed after, apparently, the grain train got to the next siding (Soledad) was an approaching train.

This is train A-SANL-01, an auto train from Saltillo to Nuevo Laredo (presumably for forwarding to the USA) loaded with Daimler-Chrysler products.


Keep in mind that I had written permission from KCSM to be in or on places where a non-employee would normally not go.

Below, as his talkative conductor steps out to inspect the work and chat with the workers at the switch, we see KCSM engineer Federico López Castellanos at the controls.  Do you the conexión with the MofW workers in the distance?

Yeah, I didn’t do the best job with that lasso tool.

Extra West Is Outed

Yeah, but who else would have pictures of the KCSM, the KCS on Rich Mountain, the TFM, the L&D, NOGC, and the NOPB?

Below, wearing the dark jacket, the A-SANL-01’s conductor Pablo Pérez Espinoza, a veteran of the TFM and FNM, stands front and center with his back to his train (and the camera) as he watches MofW workers repair the switch at Conexión Sur.  Instead of me telling him about my photos in the new year’s KCS calendar, Pérez had a copy of an old TFM calendar in which he showed me some of his pictures!

About 15 minutes later, Pérez took his train, the A-SANL-01 through on the relatively new conexión track (the Monterrey bypass) seen to the left. The track to the right is the mainline into Monterrey (the original mainline) and ultimatley to Matamoros.

In the above photo, you may see some rolling stock off in the distance.  That’s the Monterrey-Saltillo Local, the L-MYSA-01, and, look, as the end of the A-SANL-01 clears the switch, the head end of the local appears through the cut!

Does that give you a better idea of the significance of Conexión Sur?

Another Primer Belle

The KCSM 4657 – and, keep in mind, please, that on this date, locomotives with KCSM reporting marks were something very new, and none had yet received Heritage (“Southern Belle”) colors – is the sole lead power on this train from Pantaco, and he is stopped here too for the MofW work.

I’m trying to keep this post short, save some shots to publish some other time, and enjoy my New Year’s Holiday (2012) on which this is being written, and therefore the above shot is the only shot I’ll show of the PANL train.

The Monterrey-Saltillo Local is seen in the distance, still waiting on both the MofW workers and the PANL.

After the PANL passes, the local proceeds.  The TFM 1107, the high-nosed GP you saw a few days ago, is the third locomotive on this train.

That’s great, but now what?

Paredón, Coahuila, and Ferromex

My friends got the bright idea to take me a few dozen miles west-northwest to Paredón, Coahuila, where exists a junction between two Ferromex lines.  This would be the first Ferromex train I ever photograph, and it would also be my first train photographs in Coahuila, where I had been before, but not for train-hunting.  Here’s the old estación at Paredón.

This is a place that I would love to visit more.  The mountain scenes here are incredible.

Paredón is the location of the crossing of two lines.  So, tracks leave town in four directions.  The R Line from Ramos Arizpe (near Saltillo) to Piedras Negras crosses the M Line from Tampico to Torreón and ultimately to Juárez.

Here comes a train, the only Ferromex train that I have ever photographed.

Yes, the locomotives weren’t even in the Ferromex paint scheme.  It’s ironic, since I’ve photographed plenty of mostly-very-new Ferromex locomotives in Louisiana since the above picture was taken, though when it was taken, many Ferromex locomotives still wore FNM two-tone blue, probably even moreso than on TFM-KCSM.

Mexican railway enthusiasts call locomotives in the FNM two-tone blue paint scheme Pitufos, which are “Smurfs” in Spanish!

Paredón is full of old equipment and such.

After that, we went to this great family restaurant in García and then back to Monterrey.

That’s all for this installment.  I hope that you have enjoyed this one and have been enjoying all of these Mexico posts from December 2006 and January 2007.  Remember that we have six more of these to come, and you can keep up by joining the Facebook fan page.

Thanks for all of the readership and kind comments.

Happy New Year!



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dan January 1, 2012 at 13:35

Man, I’d love to go down there, in better times of course. It’s easy to see why you enjoyed it so much. Smurf’s … LOL


2 PAT COUGHLIN January 2, 2012 at 11:05



Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: