South of Monterrey, the line climbs into the northern reaches of the Sierra Madre Oriental to the colonial city of Saltillo. Designated by N de M as Linea B, the line now continues southward as the grade gets steeper while climbing to a summit at Benjamin Mendez.
A southbound unit grain train is passing through Encantada, the south end of double track from Saltillo.
A southbound train of Archer Daniels Midland tank cars climbing the grade on the double tracked portion south of Saltillo. From Saltillo to Encantada, the two tracks use the grade of both the former Coahuila y Zacatecas and Mexican Nacional Railroads.
South of Encantada, the same train is curving into the valley that leads toward the summit of the climb at Benjamin Mendez.
Panned against the sierra, two KCSdeM SD70 Ace's lead a southbound grain train up the grade approaching Agua Nueva siding. There are two additional DPU's pushing on the rear of this train.
A southbound TFM manifest train is slowly grinding around the curve at North Benjamin Mendez. (low resolution scan from B&W negative)
Benjamin Mendez is located at the summit of the Sierra Madre Oriental. Actually located in the town of Carneros, Coahuila, at some point NdeM renamed the station after a local railroad official.
A Northbound double stack train is eases into dynamic brakes as it begins the descent from Benjamin Mendez.
Security guards are stationed at most of the control points on this portion of the KCSdeM mainline. At the north switch of Benjamin Mendez, Leno is working through his 24 hour shift watching over each train that passes by.
Benjamin Mendez is a crew change point for all trains between Nuevo Laredo/Monterrey and San Luis Potosi. Quite often, trains will be tied down here, waiting for an outbound crew. Distributed power units will also be removed from southbound trains here, and wait for use on another northbound trip. The locomotives on the right are from a southbound vehicle train that was destined to the Chrysler plant at Encantada. After setting out the train, the crew continues to "Ben" to tie down their power.
South of Benjamin Mendez, the line crosses several high desert valleys as it slowly descends toward the city of San Luis Potosi.
San Luis Potosi
In the 1970's, N de M rebuilt most of Linea B south of San Luis Potosi. From SLP, the new Linea B travels through a low valley until reaching Villa de Reyes. From here, the tracks begin to climb through a mountain range into a neighboring valley in the state of Guanajuato. Many tunnels and high concrete bridges were used to construct this new line. Once reaching Buchanan Lopez, the line splits. Linea BC continues south east toward Mexico City (bypassing Queretaro) while Linea BD diverges south west toward Celaya and Morelia.At Villa Reyes, a southbound TFM train of automobile parts destined for Toluca is about to begin the climb through the Sierra El Cubo, and into the neighboring state of Guanajuato. This new allignment created a short cut between San Luis Potosi, and Mexico City, allowing trains to bypass Celaya and Queretaro. (low resolution scan from B&W negative)
The new allignment of Linea B crosses into Guanajuato through a series of long tunnels and high bridges in order to cross though the mountain range that separates two long valleys. Here a southbound train is emerging into Guanajuato.
Buchanan Lopez is the junction of Linea BC and Line BD. Linea BC continues south east to a connection with Linea A at Ahorcado, creating a shortcut to Mexico City and bypassing the city of Queretaro. Linea BD turns southwest, toward Celaya, Morelia and eventually the expanding port of Lazaro Cardenas.
A long northbound manifest train approaches Buchanan Lopez on Linea BC from Mexico City. The distant track diverging to the right is the begining of Line BD to Celaya.
At San Diego, Guanajuato, a local switcher returns to Ahorcado, Queretaro after working the industries near San Jose Inturbide. Located on Linea BC, the short tunnel passes under the Guanajuato-Queretaro state line.
On Linea BD, Escobedo is a terminal near Celaya that is the base of KCSM's business in the Bajio. Through freight trains change crews here, and a small yard switches the local business. Above. a local southbound train prepares to leave Escobedo.
The same train as above is leaving town, pulling through the large station and toward the mainline to Acambaro.