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elminero67
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Didn't want to abuse Woodie's patience by hijacking his Silver City Narrow Gauge thread, so I thought I'd start a new one for the Boleo Copper Co.

I should note that it will be a while before I start building any Boleo models. Part of the hope for this thread is to gather information as there really isn't that much info out there. John Kirchner's book "Baja California Railroads" is the best source of info on the line, and one of my favorite books. Since then much information has became available. Heck, even research I did a few years ago is obsolete due to the tools we have at our disposal that weren't available a few years ago.

W C Greene
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Howdy Duane...check out the latest entry in RAILROAD BOOKS. And no, I don't mind hijacking...the rubes who inhabit the Gila Rim area view it as "borrowing". No problemo.

Woodie

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Please do post any reference material you find. I likes my NG lines.

elminero67
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For better or worse, much of the info/photographs available about the Compagnie Boleo are found in special collections libraries in California. There are a lot of them as the railroad operated for such a long time. I can only post links to those due to copyright issues:

Whenever I've researched a railroad or mining district I kept a folder on my computer, so this approach is a little different. Perhaps I should keep a bibliography/links and update it as we go?

W C Greene
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Duane, read the first & only post from Herb about copyrights...the first forum on the main home page. Maybe that will help, but then you probably know what the laws are. Yes, keep links, etc. as needed.

WCG

elminero67
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The University of California San Diego has the Crosby Collection, which includes a number of photos of the little Baldwins under steam in 1967:


https://library.ucsd.edu/dc/search?f%5Bobject_type_sim%5D%5B%5D=image&f%5Bsubject_topic_sim%5D%5B%5D=Baja+California+Sur+(Mexico)--Pictorial+works&f%5Bsubject_topic_sim%5D%5B%5D=Compagnie+du+Boleo--Mexico

This one was the basis for the cover watercolor on Kirchner's Baja California Railroads:
http://library.ucsd.edu/dc/object/bb6110476n/zoom/0

This is my favorite:
http://library.ucsd.edu/dc/object/bb76121985/zoom/0

JawboneFlats
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Great photos. My first impression was something like, "Couplers? We don't need no stinkin' couplers." Then, of course, I realized my provincialism was kicking in again, and I saw that they used a plate buffer and chains instead. http://library.ucsd.edu/dc/object/bb8875008w

Dennis aka JawboneFlats

vamodeler
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Simply amazing. That is some really, really ancient equipment!

Thanks for sharing this stuff. I never knew it existed. Great find!

Brian


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That loco No. 1 is interesting.  Mechanical X head boiler feed pump instead of steam injector - due to dirty &/or saline water supply perhaps ?.

Also what look like 4 bolt buffer blanking plates exactly where European/UK style buffers might have once been mounted, complete with the buffer beam side chains. Riveted, non-welded saddle tank. I don't recognise the make/model of loco - vaguely 1880's - 1890's French manufacture, maybe ?.

Regards,      Michael

Salada
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Just done a spot of Internet mining. Guess what ?  Compagnie Boleo was French owned.

The mine has recently been reopened by a Korean outfit.

Bon soir,   Michael 

elminero67
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Your correct-the Compagnie dy Boleo was a French company-something that is uncommon in Mexico as France and Mexico had a mixed relationship after that whole France-invading-Mexico thing. But-during the "Porfiriato"-or what Mexican historians refer to the 35-year period Porfirio Diaz ruled Mexico, Diaz encouraged foreign investment. In a nutshell Porfirio Diaz was the ultimate laissez faire president-If you had money you could do whatever you wanted to in Mexico. Since no one in Mexico had money in Mexico following 300 years of rule (read plundering) by Spain and France, this meant foreign capital-like the Compagnie du Boleo.

But, while the Compagnie du Boleo was a French company- it is accurate to describe them an early international company. The locomotives were mostly Baldwin (American) locomotives. The rolling stock and couplers were European, the employees were from all over the globe-much of the labor was either Asian and native American.

Wolfgang C
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Hi guys,

thanks for posting these interesting links. These copycats in California not only copied the engine I am just building for my Sonora Mining Company. They als took advantage of the name (Santa Rosalia) because my layout is called Santa Rosa N.M., it was named after my wife.

Keep the good things coming.

Wolfgang C.

elminero67
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Wolfgang-feel free to post pics of your loco. Sounds interesting.

A little basic geography: The Compagnie du Boleo railroad and mines were located in the small port town of Santa Rosalia, which is located about 500 miles south and east of San Diego on the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez. Despite the fact my map shows a bigger font for "Santa Rosalia" than it does for San Diego, Santa Rosalia is a small town of +/-10,000 folks:



And a quick (read not field checked for accuracy) view of the Compagnie du Boleo railroad. The 3' narrow gauge operated approximately 30 miles of track from several mines to the mill and smelter at Santa Rosalia, not to mention the trackage around town and onto the docks of the port:


Last edited on Fri Mar 4th, 2016 05:39 am by elminero67

NevadaBlue
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Oh... that rusty carcass has a place on my layout I think.

elminero67
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The "rusty carcass" is one of four of the little Baldwin 0-6-0 tank locos around town in various stages of preservation. Iirc, the Surviving Steam Locomotives site only lists three, but anyway, here is the Baldwin Builders photo of one of them when she was brand, spankin new in 1899:

https://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/rwy/id/380/rec/1


This is the first loco most visitors to Santa Rosalia see when the pull into town-it is located in the plaze and appears to be the best preserved. According to Kirchner, this is locomotive #7 and was the last operating locomotive, operating to approx 1970 or so when the smelter shut down:


This is the same locomotive I posted in the earlier photo-it is located behind a fence atop the ore bins of the smelter:



will post photos of the other two in a seperate post....

Last edited on Fri Mar 4th, 2016 11:30 pm by elminero67

elminero67
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The remaining two locomotives are found in a median on a boulevard in the French part of town (note the architecture-will touch on that later), which is on a Mesa overlooking to Gulf of California. Other than #7 (in the plaza), I don't know the numbers/names of the locomotives



And this one is located on the same boulevard across the street from the museum:



Does anyone have a theory of why the Boleo locomotives have a small "window" on the lower part of the cab? I believe they are found on both the engineers and firemans side of the loco.

Last edited on Fri Mar 4th, 2016 11:54 pm by elminero67

Salada
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Excellent photos & map, thanks Duane. I cannot find much info on C. Bolero by searching from a UK internet address.

I have a vague theory about the cab side sheet "window".

The original, ex-works Baldwin photo has no window. The mechanical injector pump has a normal (automatic) type clack-valve (the valve that admits feed water into the boiler).

But the Boleo locos all have what seems to be a manually controlled clack valve, operated from a handwheel down beside the base of the reverser (quadrant), which must have been damn awkward to operate. The "window" gives direct access to this handwheel from outside.

The only purpose I can think of is that by altering the pipework they were using the clack-valve also as a boiler blowdown valve ??

I have never seen a similar arrangement before so the above is just a semi-educated guess.

Regards,           Michael

elminero67
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Michael-you clearly have a better understanding of steam locos than I do!

Here area couple of closer pics of #7:





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Thanks Duane, but now I'm not so sure !.

Correction: I made a silly mistake in haste. It is the feed pipe TO the X head pump that has a manual control valve on the C.B. locos, NOT the pipe to the clack. Otherwise my comments above are correct about the difference between ex-works plumbing & as running in service.

I've never driven/fired or rode on a Baldwin so I'm not familiar with their cab layout as regards the position of the minor hand-wheel controls.

Regards,    Michael

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Fascinating discussion guys, please keep it up!

Salada
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End of discussion at the moment Ken, until any further info/photos come to light. By coincidence all of the intact pipework photos, incl the UC San Diego source, are of the RHS driver's (engineer's) side only. The "window" has been cut into both cab sides, so I'm still inclined to think it has something to do with manual control of the boiler feed-water.

Another oddity is none of the photos show a brake operating cylinder, neither vacuum nor Westinghouse, though the leading & centre axle drivers have brake shoes.  

Regards,               Michael   

elminero67
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My initial impression was that the small windows on the cabs had something to do with the conversion to oil burners-perhaps access to a valve or sight window?

My second theory was that the windows would allow employees to place their burritos (wrapped in foil) next to the boiler so they would be hot for lunch. I only say that because that is how I use to keep my lunch burrito warm, albeit on an internal combustion motor...

Herb Kephart
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Driver steam brake?

Herb

Salada
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Herb Kephart wrote: Driver steam brake?

Herb


Herb: All steam loco brakes require an operating cylinder*, whether steam, air pressure or vacuum. *Usually, but not always, situated near the trailing (rear) of the frames (chassis) where the cylinder piston rods can act directly, or via a crank lever, onto the brake rigging rod ends.

Regards,             Michael

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Yes Duane, obvious really, the 'windows' gave access to a tortilla toaster - probably a better flavour than anything from Taco Bell - but not as good as egg & bacon directly off a clean shovel on a coal burner.

I've never repaired nor crewed an oil burner but as I understand it the fuel is fed centrally into a modified grate design so access from either side wouldn't be required ?.

Regards,            Michael

Herb Kephart
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Yeah, yeah,yeah---but are you sure that there isn't a cylinder behind the valve gear?  Or one that was taken off, and the shoes and their hangers left behind?

Herb

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Only an idiot would mount the brake cylinder behind the valve gear .......mind you !!??.

To remove one brake cylinder is possible, but ALL the photos of the C.B.'s in service locos lack brake cylinders.

E' un mistero messicano.

Ole',    Miguel

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Hi all
May have been handbrake only? We have one locomotive where the braking effort is directly proportional to the size of the fireman you can fit into a small cab :P

Ray Dunakin
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Very interesting stuff. I don't think I've ever seen a headlight bracket so tall as that before!

elminero67
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Until someone comes up with a more plausible explanation for the little cab windows, I'm sticking with burrito warming windows.

Something that I find fascinating is the cab on this locomotive, which sits on the median of a boulevard near the museum:.



I'm really glad that they haven't restored this one, as then I couldn't see some of the details of the cab construction:





When you look at a steam locomotive, they look substantial and sturdy. But the cab infrastructure itself is fairly delicate-the frame is clear grain, quarter sawn (pine?) attached with mortise and tenon joints with a few square nails. The corners are secured with wrought iron angle pieces. Since it has square nails, I'm reasonable certain that this is the original cab. I haven't spent much time researching them, but this loco is either #2, 4 or 5, built in 1886 or 1887 respectively. I suspect that loco #7, the well maintained one in the town park (1899) would have wire nails as that is about the time folks switched. Now I wished I'd taken more pics...seems like as good a reason as any to go back!

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This is getting seriously esoteric ! - square nails, round nails; fascinating detail but a burrito warmer looks to be the current front-runner.

Any more photos Duane ?

Regards,          Michael


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