Port operations at Comodoro Rivadavia
Whilst the 75cm gauge has been dealt with in Chapter 7, the 1928 harbour construction works also used 60cm gauge temporary tracks. Little has been recorded about them, but the photos which follow do show some aspects of the work.
This photo shows the land reclamation works south-west of the new breakwater. Whilst the 75cm gauge brought in the landfill material, it looks as though 60cm gauge was used for more local works such as distributing concrete along the sea wall (2).
Below are skips wagons being used to bring in concrete during the late 1920s construction of the initial 'dique viaducto' which would eventually carry the hammerhead or 'Titan' crane for the new Comodoro Rivadavia port (12).
A rather later view showing the complete 'dique viaducto' and taken from the Skoda 'titan' crane that it was built to support (12).
An interesting shot showing reclamation works adjacent to the new port jetty. The French-built Pinguely crane is lifting three skip wagons at once, one above the other (12).
A photo of broad rather than narrow gauge interest, but most appropriately displayed here. Whilst a number of steam cranes were employed upon the port works, this Pinguely crane built in France, was the largest. Here it is seen as its new longer jib is being fitted (12). This enabled it to stretch further out over the construction works, though clearly the maximum load would have been reduced at large radii. The crane seems later to have been transferred - with its original jib - to work in a fixed location on the YPF muelle at Km. 3.
An unusual steam-worked device - a concrete mixer - with a 60cm gauge skip wagon waiting to be loaded.
Comodoro Rivadavia port shunters
Several broad gauge tank engines were purchased second-hand from the Port of Buenos Aires. They belonged to the Agencia General de los Puertos At least six tank engines were derelict here in 1975. The broad gauge locos included the following:
One of the Henschel 0-6-0Ts ex Puerto de Buenos Aires (11). The loco is bringing a string of wagons off the main pier towards the land.
A similar view, possible taken on the same occasion (11).
One of the FCE Batignolles 0-6-0Ts, no. 16 or 17, ex Beltran Cavalry Depot ex NW Argentine Railway, clearly in the port area and with the Pinguely crane on the left (11). These locos were removed from FCE stock by 1934 but might possibly have been transferred to port ownership.
The lines of derelict locos after the end of steam in the port (11).
One of the ex Buenos Aires Henschel lies derelict (11).
An 0-6-0ST lies derelict (11). Whilst the identity of this loco is unknown, a large number of Manning Wardle saddle tanks were employed on construction works in the port of Buenos Aires and elsewhere and this loco may have come from such a source.
Manning Wardle 0-6-0 side tank no. 10, with Henschel 0-6-0T 8060 (Puerto de la Capital no. 20) behind (11).
These photos were taken in 1975. Henschel no. 24 is in the foreground, whilst Manning Wardle no. 8 is behind.
The picture below, also taken in 1975, shows four other tank engines. The one on the far right appears to be similar to Manning Wardle no. 8 and may be another of the many of this design originally at the Pto. de Buenos Aires. The loco immediately beyond the crane is Henschel no. 8060, Puerto de la Capital no. 20.
One of the Manning Wardle side-tanks, ex Puerto de Buenos Aires no. 8.
The various pier railways
1 The early 'Maciel' pier serving Comodoro Rivadavia town centre. This muelle was probably dismantled after the construction of the new Comodoro Rivadavia port in the 1920s.
The Maciel muelle, just north of the site later chosen for Comodoro Rivadavia's port.
The muelle appears to carry broad gauge track, though how it was linked to the adjacent mainline running at right angles to it is unclear (10). There may have been a wagon turntable. Two small steam cranes are visible (10).
A view from the south during a storm. One steam crane is visible far left, and the mainline track or an adjacent siding.
The Maciel muelle is seen being dismantled in the early 1930s. The big hammerhead crane can be seen in the distance on the new port works.
2 The enormously long YPF pier at Km. 3. See the section below on the YPF 60cm gauge systems.
3 A shorter pier at Km. 5. This was near the FCE railway workshops.
These two photos appear to have been taken at around the same date (10). A bogie wagon is seen at the end of the pier, suggesting that there must have been a curving link from the mainline at this point, rather than a turntable as mentioned above.
This time there are two bogie 'plataformas' with a small steam crane sandwiched between them (10).
4 A short YPF pier at Caleta Cordova. This has since been replaced by a long steel fishing boat pier with a curving concrete breakwater and jetty at the far end. Caleta Cordova is a sheltered bay north east of Comodoro Rivadavia and it is easy to see why port facilities here might have seemed attractive.
Early days at Caleta Cordova, showing the pier in the distance and the few buildings at that stage (10).
A relatively large steam crane is seen on the usual single track, presumably of normal broad gauge (10).
Two steam cranes are shown here, just inland from the pier itself. As far as is known therewas never any broad gauge trackage on the land at this location, so presumably the pier line stopped at the left of the picture (10).
An old muelle steam crane now preserved at the Museo de Petroleo in Barrio Gral. Mosconi at Km. 3. It is not clear which of the above locations this machine came from.
Anyone interested in old photos of Comodoro Rivadavia should also visit Miguel Fiordelli's website. A number of his photos are of railway interest and almost all can be viewed in larger sizes by clicking on the thumbnail pictures.
A variety of industrial railways