Mexico's Last Alco - A Side Trip to Alzada

On this trip through Mexico, I decided to make a sidetrip to Alzada, Colima. Hylsamex runs an ore pelleting plant here in the coastal mountains of Colima state. Raw ore that is delivered by Ferromex is processed into pellets, then shipped in unit trains to steel plants around Mexico. The real attraction is a well-kept Alco RS-2 that has been used as the plant switcher for many years.
After driving around the perimiter of the plant, I finally located the RS-2 at Hylsamex's smalll engine facility. Unfortunately the unit was down for some shop work. The good news is that it looks like some heavy maintainence is being performed in order to keep the historic unit running.
Referencing these pictures, a well-versed former Alco mechanic in California said "it looks like they are going to replace some cylinder heads,under the plastic in the foreground, valve covers with rocker arms on the running board to the left of the mechanics. The old girl may get a chance to continue working."
Now just lettered "Hylsa," number 801 is sitting in the small engine shop on Hylsamex's property at Alzada.

While the RS-2 was not running on this visit, the other plant switcher was busy shuffling loaded gondolas between the Ferromex transfer and the plant. Here, the GE engine is seen shoving one last gondola of raw ore into the rotary dumper.

After unloading raw ore, the plant switcher is seen shoving processed ore pellets back to the Ferromex transfer yard.

The small yard along the Ferromex mainline originates some of the "metalero's" that can be seen shipping ore to steel plants around Mexico. Raw ore is delivered to the plant for proccessing. Ferromex then picks up the processed ore pellets inunit trains.

After dropping off the pellets, the switcher then pulls a cut of raw ore back into the plant.

A trainman rides the end of the cut back to the rotary dumper.

At near by Atenquique, the Atenquique Paper Company has a large plant that sits in the bottom of a deep ravine. The plant has a small but impressive rail line that crosses two rivers to connect to the Ferromex mainline. Although it seems that rail operations are rare (or suspended) the plant's Porter switch engine sits at the entrance.

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