Ferrosur - Distrito Acultzingo

Beginning its run over Ferrosur's Linea SC, this empty grain train from Tehuacán, Puebla curves under Pico de Orizaba. The train entered the main track from Linea VB at Cañada Morelos, and is climbing the last grade before beginning the long descent to Orizaba.
For a map of Distrito Acultzingo and Lineas S/SC, click here:
Crossing Puente Vaqueria, a northbound train is climbing out of the Valle del Rio Blanco. The tracks in the foreground were passed over approximately 10 minutes earlier.

At Vaqueria siding, a southbound empty grain train is taking the siding to meet a northbound loaded train.

A southbound manifest train is passing over the north switch of Vaqueria siding.

At Vaqueria, a northbound grain train is slowly grinding up the grade. If you look closely, the tracks below are visible at three different level. A short following train can be seen on the loop above the town of Acultzingo.

The top of Pico de Orizaba is barely visible through the haze above this southbound train winding down the grade below Vaqueria.

In the afternoon, a southbound train is approaching the small village of Vaqueria.

As viewed from Vaqueria siding, three trains are visible in this picture; a grain train in the foreground, and two trains meeting at Huixtlitla in the valley below.

A northbound unit grain train is winding around the village of Vaqueria as it leaves Huixlitla siding.

The same train is seen at Huixlitla. Notice that the north end of the siding is currently being extended.

Looking down at Huixlitla, the tracks ahead can be seen above this train.

Above the town of Acultzingo, a Mexico to Veracruz intermodal train is exiting a tunnel as it winds down the grade.

Marigold flowers cover many farmers' fields in October and November. Being the flower used to commemorate dead relatives on Dia de los Muertos, orange covered plots scatter the valley all throughout Mexico. A week after the holiday, a stand of marigolds remain in this field above the town of Acultzingo as a southbound exits a tunnel.

The town of Acultzingo is a quiet village that lays off the old highway through the region. Many times a day, the chatter of roosters, mules, goats, cows and distant banda music is broken by the howling of dynamic brakes or the thunder of uphill trains in run 8. The sounds of one train can be heard for nearly 30 minutes as it winds through the hill above the town. The main street through the village was quiet until a local delivery truck pulled up to a store moments before a southbound train entered town.

A MOW crew prepares to begin working as a southbound enters the town of Acultzingo. The tracks above the loop at Acultzingo are visible above the train.

A guard checks off the passing trains at the Acultzingo station.

Below Acultzingo, the line passes through a chain of tunnels and another loop at Mezquite. This southbound unit cement train is exiting Tunnel Nuevó Leon and about to enter another before entering the loop. Notice the tracks below. Above the locomotives in the distance, a northbound intermodal train is passing through the loop at Acultzingo.

The same train on the lower portion of the Mezquite loop.

After reaching the summit of Distrito Acultzingo, northbound trains set-out their DPU's at Jesus de Nazareno. An extra crew will then gather all the units and run light back down the hill. Here, a light engine consist is passing through the loop as Mezquite as a local walks through with his burro.

A long cement train descents through the loop at Mezquite.

A northbound VIP train climbing through the valley between Tecamalucan and Mezquite.

At Tecamalucan, a southbound is exiting tunnel San Luis Potosi. If you haven't noticed, the tunnels here are named after the states of Mexico.

At Encinar, Distrito Acultzingo (Linea SC) diverges from the original Linea S. The original line climbed up through a different valley, encountering 4.7% grades and very sharp curves. Distrito Acultzingo was built in the 1980's to bypass this line. A former FC Mexicano/NdeM GE box cab is put on display here as a monument to the new line. The last rail of the old line is still poking out of the dirt.

Moments away from a crew change in Orizaba, the whistle is howling as this southbound quickly rolls through Ciudad Mendoza's centro at dusk.

A morning view of Orizaba Yard. While not at the bottom of the grade, this is the base for operations throughout Ferrosur's southern end.
For more information and pictures from Distrito Acultzingo, click here:


Scott Lothes said...

Nate, I heard about your blog from Alex Ramos. Are you familiar with the Center for Railroad Photograph & Art? We'd like to feature some of your work on our railroadheritage.org site. If you're interested, drop me a line.

Best regards,

Scott Lothes

Unknown said...

I just discovered this website after reading the latest Trains magazine (October2018) about the Kansas City Southern. Seems to me with all the material you have on Mexico, and the great photography, you need to do a book! Your blog has opened my eyes to what is happening in Mexico on the railroad scene down there. Sure hope I will have the opportunity to see more of your work in future. Sincerely, John Garden (Canada)