Ferromex - Mazatlán to Guadalajara

Mazatlán is currently Ferromex's division point between the Hermosillo and Guadalajara Divions. Here most trains change locomotives here. South of Mazatlán, large consists of new ES44AC and SD70Ace's are the norm, including DPU's for the steep climb from Roseta to Tepic.South of Mazatlán, the line travels inland in order to avoid the miles of wide lagoons that cover the coast. Also traveling along the foot of the rugged Sierra Madres, the line crosses many wide rivers as they flow into the coastal plains. It is not until reaching the Rio Grande de Santiago that the line turn inland.
After crossing the Rio San Pedro, this southbound unit grain train is climbing the short grade into Estacion Ruiz.

At Yago, the line reaches the Rio Grande de Santiago. The tracks then turn inland, following the river as they climb toward the highlands of Tepic. Approaching Pani, this southbound is winding along the river as it encounters the first of the long steep grade to Tepic. The stone retaining walls along the right of way are common in this region, a trademark of SPdeM and FCP construction.

After meeting a northbound train at Mango, the brakeman on this southbound manifest train is lining the south switch for the mainline. On the 2.4% grade, this is all done while the train continues to slowly pull in order to keep from stopping on the grade.
Underway again, the southbound digs back into the grade at Mango.

Approaching the former station onf Ignacio Borrego, the same southbound is baout half way up the 2.4% grade from Roseta to Mora.

Notice the security guards riding the cars.

Distibuted power consists have put an end to to the use of manned helpers from Roseta to Tepic. Here the 3 unit mid-train consist is pushing up the southbound grade.

Near Atonalisco, this northbound manifest is descending toward the Rio Grande de Santiago.

Sugar cane, citrus and avacado groves cover the slopes of this regions. This northbound is passing through sugar cane as it approaches Mango.

A work train is in the siding at Aguirre as a southbound manifest train pulls by.

The valley is echoing with the sound of dynamic brakes as this northbound train is approaching the Highway 115.

Approaching the summit of the grade, this northbound is gaining speed as the grade begins to let up at Mora.

Lago Mora provides some level right of way near the summit.

Although Tepic is just a flat spot on the grade from the coast to Guadalajara, it is at summit of the heavy 2.4% grade from Roseta. Southbound trains remove their DPU's here, and continue to Guadalajara unassited. Northbound trains usually add locomotives at Tepic, either for additional dynamic braking or to reposition locomotives at Mazatlán. Here, a northbound is adding two locomotives to the head-end of their train, taking them down the grade to Mazatlán.

A southbound train has removed their mid-train DPU's, and is pulling into the depot at Tepic for a crew change.

After an afternoon thunderstorm, a maintainence of way crew is tying up at the Tepic Depot. The locomotives are waiting to assist a northbound trian down the grade to Mazatlán.
Distrito Tepic
South of the city of Tepic, Ferromex's Distrito Tepic continues to climb through the Sierra Madres toward Guadalajara. This segment was the last segment of the Nogales-Guadalajara line to be comleted by the Southern Pacific of Mexico in 1927. Famous for its impressive engineering through "the Barrancas", this is a mountainous line, but with maximum grades of only 1.7%.
At Tetitlán, a maintainence of way crew reairs tracks the old way.

A Form B is in effect at the derailment site. The foreman of the gang is talking with the crew of a northbound train as it passes through his limits.

A northbound train is winding through the volcanic valley between Tetitlán and Ixtlán.

Between Ixtlán and Tetitlán, the tracks wind along the foot of Volcán Ceboruco as ell as many other small craters. Near Ixtlán, this northbound is passing in front of one of the many smaller craters.

The same northbound train is pulling into Ixtlán del Rio. They will make a brief stop here to pick up a meal at the maintainence of way beanery that is kept here.

Although speeders are rearely found in use in the US, they are still commonly used by Mexican railraods. Ferromex keeps a maintainence facility for their autoarmones in Ixtlán del Rio.

The Barrancas
The mountain grade between Ixtlán del Rio and La Quemada is known by railfans as "the Barrancas." A difficult stretch to build, the tracks cling to the side of the valley as they wind up through 25 tunnels and many high trestles. Unfortunately though, much of the line in this area is very inaccessible and I have few pictures to offer.
The former FC Pacifico station sign at Barrancas is still hanging, 137KM from Guadalajara and 1708 KM from Nogales.

Presumably still standing from the SPdeM days, the water tank at Barrancas waits indefinitely. Little at Barrancas has changed since SPdeM owned the line; just compare to pictures in the Signor/Kirchner book.

A switchstand at Barrancas. The depot in the background.

Once in the highlands of Jalisco, the hillsides are covered with blue and green fields of agave. This is the Tequila region. In the photo above, the Ferromex right of way can be seen winding through the agave fields above the town of Tequila.

Ferromex runs a weekly train from Guadalajara to Amatitlan, carrying tourists to the region for a day of Tequila tasting. Known as the Tequila Express, it runs with a few Japanese Kinki cars painted in a bright scheme. Above, the brakeman is retoring the siding switch to normal after the train backs into the staion spur at Amatitlán. The train lays over on the spur until ready to leave in the evening.


bloglogger said...

Your page does the same effect as giving drug to the adict. Your photographs make my skin tickle. I'm 61, but my first impressions of traveling on a train, more than 55 years ago(!)are still vivid.

I hope you can upload at least a short video at Youtube. That'll be great!

foster said...

I took the guadalajara to tepic in 1989 and loved every minute of it. am planning on a nogales to tepic this winter and hope i find passanger train still running.

bloglogger said...

Wow! It really took you a while the return your comment. There are no more passenger trains from Nogales to Tepic. The only passenger train still going pretty well is the Copper Canyon Express, from Texas to Los Mochis, in Sinaloa State. There have been several intentions to bring back passenger trains but Ferromex, the company that owns this line is not interested. They're making money with cargo and that won't change very soon unless there's a foreign company interested on investing a few million dollars to restore the service.