|This train pulled into the yard behind the Estacion de la Sabana - and hasn't moved since.|
|Steve and friend in front of his locomotive.|
Growing up in England, Steve, like many boys, yearned to be a railroad engineer. Today, he works in the petroleum industry here in Colombia - but he's preserved his dream. So, what could make more sense than buying and refurbishing his own steam train? He bought one of the old locomotives rusting away behind Estacion de la Sabana, on the north side of 13th St. in central Bogotá.
The owner of the locomotives estimates that putting one back into operation costs about $150,000. Steve's locomotive will be restored in another six months - or maybe a bit longer. Workers are readying the wells for new wheels, which will make the machine seem alive once again. Steve also plans to repair a metal passenger car, and perhaps also a wooden passenger car. Today, that car looks like a skeleton, but it's a historical jewel - unique in Colombia, says Steve. When all are ready, Steve aims to use his private train for outings near Bogotá.
|The Baldwin Locomotive Co.|
|Weeds grow out of a rusting locomotive.|
Trains symbolized - and even created - a whole era in world history, representing power, industrial progress and travel - but also colonialism, pollution and even environmental and cultural destruction.
Today, trains are coming back across much of the world, particularly the high-speed passenger trains popular in Europe and now China. In contrast to their historical image, today's trains can be much cleaner and environmentally sound than their competitors such as cars, buses and planes. In Latin America, new roads often open up jungle areas to hunting and slash and burn agriculture. Trains, with their limited access, do not. Trains are generally also much less expensive and fuel efficient to operate than cars or trucks.
|Andres and a locomotive.|
Update: As of early July 2012, the newspapers report that Steve's got his steam train rolling!
|The Sabana Station is in a grand old building...|
|...But it's mostly vacant.|
|A potential city park?|
More pics below. Or, see a slide show of pictures here.
|Drunks sleep the day away in front of La Estacion de la Sabana.|
|An ancient-looking anvil and hearth.|
|Berliner, from 1915.|
|A coal chute.|
|Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Colombia,.|
|Old locomotives and cars.|
|Monserrate viewed from the yard.|
|A cemetery scene.|
|I've been working on the railroad all the live-long day...|
|A sculptural appearing part and el Niño Jesus|
|Old wheels still roll.|