Related 75cm. gauge lines
As early as 1925, Dr. E. Pérez, the FCE's Administrator General, had suggested that the vast amount of surplus 75cm gauge stock could be usefully used elsewhere in Argentina, such as in the rapidly-growing Chaco region (6). Over the next few decades this did occur, with locos, rolling stock and rails spread from the Chaco in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south.
Lapachito to El Zapallar
The line purchased its own Henschel 0-8-0 tender engines, eventually having three of them (Henschel nos. 19628-9 of 1922, and 20603 of 1925 (1)). Whilst at this time there was no connection with the Patagonian lines, it is interesting to see that their tenders, of typical Henschel style, were almost identical to those provided for the Patagonian Henschels. They were a great deal better suited to the wood fuel up in the Chaco than they were to use in barren Patagonia.
The line became part of the FCE system in 1944 and seems to have developed close links with its 75cm gauge counterparts in the south. The three Henschels were renumbered 160-2, which follow fairly logically on from the other Henschels finishing at 150, though no-one seems to have noticed that the Patagonian number series started on '1' rather than '0'.
At some point a small number of Patagonian Henschels were sent north to help out in the Chaco. At this point reports start to get confusing. Jorge Menendez suggested that 137, 138, and 140 went north and this is confirmed by the FCE working timetable appendix stocklist for 1945. Gunter Koch however, reported that the numbers were 134, 146, and 149 (1). The latter three were later recorded in a Ferroclub Argentino stocklist as having gone to the FC General Belgrano (by which the El Zapallar branch was presumably later run). I think it is at least possible that two batches went to the Chaco at different times, perhaps replacing engines which needed repair or overhaul. However, there were seven mixed-traffic tender engines recorded on this line in 1952, 1956, and 1957/8 (2). Their weights do at least correspond with published weights for the Henschel 2-8-2s.
It is worth noting that loco no. 146 later returned to El Maiten, whilst no. 134 was reported plinthed at Villa Maria near Cordoba by the early 1970s. It still remains there.
Rio Grande to Tolhuin, Tierra del Fuego
This line would have been about 60 miles long, and presumably would have served the sawmills around Tolhuin as well as the estancias further north. A certain amount of rail was stockpiled at the Rio Grande frigorifico before plans changed and all effort was directed to the building of the Rio Turbio coal railway (3).
The Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino
The strategic railway was a broad gauge line from the Pto. Belgrano naval base near Bahia Blanca, south east for a few kms. to gun emplacements on a promontory which protected the base. Quite how a short broad gauge line could have made sensible use of 50km. worth of lightweight 37 lb (17kg/m) rails is not clear. It is unlikely that any locos or stock were sent there from Pto. Madryn.
Dolores - Ajo, in Buenos Aires Province
The 1922 75cm gauge empire