item7 AlanCrottypic3
item7 Patagonia, item7
AlanCrottypic3 Home page Central of Chubut FCS to Neuquén FCE broad gauge EFE broad gauge Chiloe Island FCE 75cm gauge AlanCrottypic3
Estancia railways Coal  railways Ushuaia old & new The South Atlantic Salt railways Industrial lines Resources

Main pages

An overview

Construction of mainline

Broad gauge steam locos

Broad gauge diesels

Broad gauge rolling stock

Building the branch lines

Broad gauge operations

The 1960 earthquake

Decline & closures

The Riñihue metre gauge

Later years on Riñihue line


1 Map of 'Red Sur' •

2 Itinerary of locations

3 Chilean steam loco lists

4 Pichi-Ropulli Osorno report

5 Bridges

6 Station photos 1

7 Station photos 2

8 Branchline station photos

9 Branchline station photos 2

10 Lonquimay survey

11 Barros Jarpa Noel agreement

12 Mallin Chileno pass

13 Lonquimay tunnel survey •

14 N&SACCo. fiasco

15 Technical specs


Chapter 5

The south end of the Chilean broad gauge


Site map


Appendix 15

Technical Specifications

In the Spanish text there appear to be inconsistencies in the ways of expressing the requirements, suggesting that there were a number of authors preparing their contributions, without significant co-ordination as to style and terminology.

This is particularly true when it comes to injeniero (19th century Chilean spelling!) – engineer and it would appear that there are two distinct types implied, for which the following terms have been applied and a value judgement made as to which one was intended –

Engineer-in-Chief – The engineer in charge of all railway construction in Chile for the Ministry of Industry and Public Works, who among other things set the standards.

Engineer – The engineer in charge of the particular railway project, who was supervising its construction, and issuing instructions as to what was required at particular points within the site.

In some places, text is in grey, as the translation is uncertain, and may well not accurately express the intent of the original.











Santiago, 19 April 1899

Today it was decreed
Section 3rd № 759 – Considering.
1st That in the technical specifications for the construction of railways which have been in effect up till now and are generally consulted, require the use of Oregon pine: and
2nd That in this country there are first class woods which may be used with advantage over the foreign ones in the said works.

I decree
In future, the wood used in the construction of railways shall be native to this country.

In those cases where local circumstances make the use of Oregon pine, or other foreign wood of whatever type, necessary, the approval of the Government shall be sought, and the circumstances shall at once be made known in the specifications for carrying out works.

Take note, communicate and publicise.

Federico Errázuriz Echaurren

Arturo Fortunato Alessandri Palma
Minister of Industry and Public Works



Santiago 6 April 1899

Section 3rd №609
That it is of self-evident convenience for Contractors to consult a collection of the various requirements for the carrying out of works for the construction of railways.
I am in agreement and decree the following


The works specifically consist in embankments, cuttings, ballasting, railing, tunnels, brickwork, carpentry, painting, etc., for the construction of the line, bridges, buildings for stations, houses for surfacemen and lengthmen, as also for the incidental works in stations, and platforms for loading and unloading, drains, wells, etc.. Also comprising the embankments for yards up to the height of the rails and opening the roads which lead to them.

Method of carrying out the tasks

The Engineer-in-Chief of the Government Department shall give the Contractor the requirements of the longitudinal and cross sections, of the engineering works, buildings, etc.. Likewise he shall give the bench marks for the levelling, whose preservation, as with the setting-out stakes, shall be the responsibility of the Contractor from their handing-over to him.

The staking of the longitudinal section shall consist in numbered stakes located along the centre-line of the formation, at not more than 40 metres intervals on straights, and 20 metres on curves, together with stakes at the intersection-points, starting and end points of curves.

Cuttings and embankments

Cuttings and embankments shall be carried out exactly according to the longitudinal sections, which shall be given to the Contractor along with the general plans.
The material resulting from the cuttings shall be employed in embankments according to the general requirements of the longitudinal section of the centre-line and the specific instructions which the Contractor shall receive during the carrying-out of the works.

All large stones, suitable for use in the making of rock-fill, revetments or retaining walls or whatever other masonry for the works, shall be set to one side for later use and carried to the locations where they are needed.
In the case of finding material in cuttings suitable for use as ballast, such as gravel or decomposed granite, it shall be carefully set aside to be used in accordance with the instructions of the Engineer-in-Chief which shall be given to the Contractor in the course of the carrying-out the works.

All the surfaces of the slopes of cuttings shall be perfectly flat according to the requirements and the sections sent to the Contractor.
The general and unforeseen costs for carrying-out the tasks which the preceding articles require are part of the contract, and shall not be subject to any additional payment.
Before starting, all trunks, roots, and ultimately, all vegetable matter which may decay shall be removed from the area of the embankments.
When embankments are to be placed on ground with a slope of more than two degrees, horizontal steps of more or less one metre in height shall be made.
In the course of carrying-out the works the Engineer-in-Chief shall have the right to alter the dimensions of the embankments when in his judgement special circumstances require it.
The Contractor shall conform exactly to the sections, site orders, requirements or instructions which shall be given in writing by the Engineer.

The embankments shall be made over the whole width of the formation by successive horizontal layers, of 25 centimetres in thickness when wheel-barrows are used, of 50 centimetres when carts are used and of the whole height when using wagons on rails. The use of scaffolding is prohibited.

Trunks, tree roots and vegetable matter shall not be left in embankments. All lumps more than 20 centimetres in thickness shall be broken up and the voids infilled with care.
In order to compensate for the settling of the embankments, they shall be given an excess in height which shall be fixed in each case by the Engineer.
The Contractor shall raise the embankments to the height indicated without any increase on the price arising from the volume computed from the sections.

Having completed the embankments, the centre-line of the formation shall again be set out, and the levels shall be set so that the embankments are completely finished in accordance with the sections and site orders without prejudice to any increase noted in the previous article.
No irregularity will be accepted in any in line or level.
The slopes of the embankments shall be made whenever possible of top soil which is found in the lateral ditches, principally at the ends of them. The slopes shall, when completed, present a perfectly flat surface, well compacted with a flat-faced rammer.
In places where the embankments are made of sand, and are exposed to the flow of rivers, they shall be protected by revetments of dry-stone or walls, with clayey earth or gravel from quarries, of at least one metre 50 centimetres in thickness, measured horizontally, and perfectly rammed in horizontal layers of 20 centimetres in height between the sand and the protective surface.
All labour necessary for complying with the previous requirements, for which no special price has been fixed in the contract, shall be explicitly included in the series of prices for excavating, shovelling, loading, unloading, levelling, mounding, etc..
In the parts which may be submerged, after the slopes of the embankments have been formed, if they are made entirely of sand, a layer of top soil 10 centimetres thick shall be put on them, or turves placed secured with cords. In the case of placing top soil, alfalfa, or whatever other plant as instructed by the Engineer-in-Chief, shall be sown on it at the appropriate time during the cou rse of carrying-out the work.
The Contractor shall have the right to use the material from the cuttings in embankments at distances greater than those indicated in the sections, or place it outwith the lateral ditches or the rims of the cuttings, as is most convenient for him. However, in all cases, stock-piles placed at the side of the rims shall be at least three metres from the edge of the ditch or the crest of the slope of the cutting and have a side slope of 1 in 1½.
All the embankments around masonry works, whether dry-stone or built with mortar, shall be formed, over a width at least twice times its height, in layers 20 centimetres thick, perfectly compacted and all precautions necessary required by the Engineer to avoid damage to the work shall be observed.

Drainage ditches

In flat land, the line shall have borrow pits, or drainage ditches on each side, and in cuttings, at the top of the side-slopes.
All borrow pits or drainage ditches between the embankments or cuttings and the
fences, whether for the extraction of material, or for drainage, shall have at each side a slope at 1 in 1 or 45°, for at least the distance between the upper edge of the slope of the ditch and the foot of the embankment or upper part of the slope of the cutting which shall be at least 1 metre.
The floor and sides of the lateral ditches shall be arranged to allow the flow of water and to avoid the ground slipping. The depth of the excavation shall de fixed by the Engineer.
In the case of finding material suitable for ballasting in the borrow pits for embankments, it shall be set aside to be later used and the Contractor shall continue the excavation in accordance with the instructions of the Engineer.

Stone in mortar masonry

The solid stones which will be used in the masonry shall be placed in a bath of mortar and securely held in place.
They shall be placed by hand on their widest and most homogeneous face, sliding them one on top of the other, so the mortar is squeezed to the surface at all the joints. The stones shall be seated and struck with the handle of the hammer; those that break shall be replaced. Having removed the pieces, new mortar shall be laid in the space. The joints, well filled with mortar, shall be decorated with wedges of hard stone, placed and pushed in so that each ordinary stone or wedge is always coated with mortar.

The biggest stones, and the ones with the most uniform faces, shall be used in the exposed faces. The exposed faces shall be worked with the wide face of the hammer. The joints and the lower and upper beds shall be straight. If the work does not exceed 2 metres in height, all the stones shall be used without forming pre-arranged courses, that is to say, with broken joints; in other cases a levelled course shall be a well-made every 2 metres.

The quality and the dimensions shall in all cases be approved by the Engineer, as all materials.

Following the completion of each part of the work, the joints shall be made anew, removing the exterior mortar and placing new according to the precautions which are observed in this type of work so the work offers the most satisfactory appearance.

Only the mortar necessary for the day's work shall be made-up. Under no pretext whatsoever shall old or re-wetted mortar be used.

Before placing the stones they shall be well wetted with clean water.
Each time work is re-started on a part which has had time to dry, the mortar of the joints shall be scraped with the trowel; it shall be well swept with a brush, and after having removed all the dust, it shall be well wetted to facilitate the adhesion of the new layer of mortar.

The stones which are used, shall come from the cuttings, or open quarries opened for this purpose, and in no case shall round or rounded stones be used without having been previously broken to offer angles and arrises. In the event of using stone of the prohibited types, the Contractor shall undo the work at his own expense.

Worked stone or ashlar

The stones shall be taken from the quarries designated by the Engineer and from the best beds. They shall be hard and ultimately have the properties required for this type of material.
Worked stone masonry shall be made of courses of roughly equal height and following the detailed plans which shall be sent by the Engineer-in-Chief, in the course of carrying-out the work.
In all cases, the difference between two consecutive intermediate courses shall not exceed one seventh part of the height of the smaller. In the courses, the stones shall be arranged with pins and string line, and be of a length at least equal to one and a half times its height, and with vertical joints of at least 20 centimetres.

The exposed faces of the stones shall remain rough. The most outstanding part shall stick out by no more than 10 centimetres from the plane of the arrises; the excess shall be reduced with the point of the hammer without leaving any chips. They shall be surrounded with well-formed right-angled arrises which shall be made with chiselled surfaces 2 centimetres in width. No stone shall be placed with mortar on its exposed face.
The beds, as well as the joints, shall have no cavity over a width of 15 centimetres from the face. They shall have a chiselled edge around them and the rest shall be worked with the fine point of the hammer on all parts where the dressed stones should be to the contrary. In no case shall joints shall be accepted which are less than 5 centimetres long for re-entrant arrises and 25 centimetres long for salient arrises.
The worked stones shall always be laid on their quarry bed, without recourse to wedges, on a bed of fine mortar of 2 centimetres, and then tapped with a wooden mallet of from 10 to 15 kilogrammes in weight so as to reduce the horizontal joints to between 8 and 10 millimetres in thickness, and make the mortar extrude as much as possible in the vertical joints, which shall be finished by re-filling using mortar with sifted sand, worked with a toothed comb, and not by squeezing-out, which is specifically prohibited.
The vertical joints shall de 5 millimetres wide. Each course shall be brought perfectly to level, before placing the next. Before placing the next course, the lower one shall always be well swept and wetted when adding-to the top layer of mortar.

The worked stones for fixing, such as cornices, clay-ware cappings for platforms and turntables shall be worked by chisel over the visible part and by hammer elsewhere.

The beds and joints shall be raked-out after completion to 3 centimetres in depth as the masonry is raised and be cleaned with water and wire brush in order to receive the hydraulic cement which shall always be raised with respect to the exposed face of the worked stone.
The worked faces shall be smoothed-down or polished, and rendered with care. All the defects in working, blobs of mortar, water stains, or numbering for locating bonds, etc., shall be cleaned in such a way that the exposed faces are left perfectly smooth.

Rough-hewn stones

Rough-hewn stones used in the foundations or infill shall be worked entirely with the coarse point of the hammer on the exposed face. The beds and joints shall be worked in exactly the same way as for worked stone. They shall be placed in the same way as worked stone with the sole difference that the vertical joints may be up to 1 centimetre wide, and the horizontal up to 1½ centimetres.
The pointing shall be made as the masonry is raised with the trowel pressing the mortar strongly against the stone, removing all the blobs, and smoothing the mortar until there is not a single parting and the mortar takes on a decidedly dark colour.
The pointing shall always project beyond the worked face of the stonework.


Bricks shall be well burnt, ring true, and be perfectly rectangular in shape, or cut according to the radius of the curves for which they are intended each time that they are so required by the Engineer-in-Chief, who shall give instructions about the laying of the bricks in all particular circumstances.
The bricks shall be bathed in water before use. They shall be slipped on to the mortar, pushed by hand and hammered with the handle of the trowel until the mortar is squeezed out of the joints. They shall be laid using pins and line so as to be secured on all sides. Bricks shall be laid when ordered as headers to tie the brickwork in to the rest of the walls. All broken bricks shall be removed from site.
The joints or beds shall be not more than 1 centimetre wide.
The centering shall be removed, once the arch-rings have been closed, in accordance with the orders which shall be given in each particular case by the Engineer-in-Chief to the Contractor before proceeding with the brickwork resting on the arches.
The external faces shall be cleaned and firmly pointed with hydraulic cement mortar. Before placing the cement mortar, the bricks shall be well washed and cleaned to take them back to their original colour; if necessary they shall be scraped with pieces of brick.

Dry stone for wall revetments, rock facing, etc.

Dry stone masonry for the construction of retaining walls, as for revetments for protecting embankments at the side of rivers from flooding, shall be made in the same way and with the same care as brickwork. Stones for the exposed faces shall be the largest and prettiest. The face shall be worked with the point of the hammer and the beds and joints with the head. They shall always be laid so that the biggest dimension shall be placed as a header, and perpendicular to the wall or bevelled edge. In big walls, and in every square metre of surface of the exposed face, at least one stone shall be placed as a header, whose tail will not be less than 75 centimetres. There shall be no regular courses, but the stones shall be laid at random. Every 2 metres in height, measured according to the edge, the course shall be levelled. The hollows between the main stones of these walls or revetments shall be filled with small long flat pieces hammered in with the hammer. No hollow shall exceed 2 centimetres in its smallest dimension and these requirements shall be observed as much for the interior of the masonry and for its exposed face.
In revetments, the tails of the stones shall be perfectly wedged on the edge which receives them.
After completing the walls and revetments they shall present curves without elbows, and flat surfaces without depressions and raised parts, with truly straight arrises. The Contractor is absolutely prohibited from placing earth on the surface of the revetments before they have been received* by the Engineer responsible for the supervision of the work.
* ie inspected, found satisfactory, and the Contractor so advised.

The rock facing of the edge above low water shall be arranged and set by hand, and shall present externally the appearance of a wall. For its immersion the Contractor shall follow the instructions given by the Engineer-in-Chief during the course of the carrying-out of the work.
The thickness of the revetments, as also the dimensions of the rock-fill, shall be shown on the cross sections.
The stones of the edge of the rock-fill in rivers shall not be less than 40 cubic centimetres in volume.
The walls for rock-fill shall be made of un-worked or rough stones placed upright. These stones shall be at least 30 centimetres high, and shall be well placed one against the next. They shall rest on a layer of sand at least 10 centimetres thick.
All the joints and hollows shall be filled with sand and the surface shall be well rammed as is done with ordinary rock-fill.

Masonry of clay-ware or asphalt for floors

The masonry for floors of clay-ware shall be carried out according to the same rules as dressed stone. The tiles shall be of good quality without scratches or chips and shall have at least an average thickness of 8 centimetres. Their faces shall be worked with the fine point of the hammer, and they shall have a chiselled edge of 2 centimetres in width. They shall always be laid so that they break joint. The joints shall not exceed 5 millimetres in width. The joints having been completed, they shall be pointed with hydraulic cement mortar, and the surface shall present the forms indicated by the plans issued, or which are sent to the Contractor in the course of carrying-out the work.
The bricks for floors shall be placed on edge or on the flat. On edge, they are considered as brick masonry. The paviors, or bricks placed on the flat, shall be hard and well-burnt, the joints set square and the faces flat. They shall always be laid on a layer of sand, or weak concrete, 10 centimetres in thickness, filling the joints with mortar. They shall later be cut with a chisel so as to leave the surface perfectly flat. The joints shall be no more than 2 millimetres in width. The courses of the bricks shall be perfectly straight; for this a straight-edge shall be used at the time of laying.
The same precautions shall be taken for the laying of coloured bricks. A little gypsum shall be added to the mortar, and special care shall be taken to leave the surface of the bricks perfectly flat, as coloured bricks shall never be re-cut after laying.
Asphalt shall be of first quality and shall be 3 centimetres in thickness on a bed of sand concrete with thick lime well compacted and perfectly flat. The asphalt shall be used boiling. Afterwards the joints shall be passed-over with a hot iron to leave the surface perfectly flat.

Coatings of hydraulic mortar, cement and asphalt

The arch rings shall be covered with coatings of hydraulic lime mortar, Portland cement or asphalt. All shall be placed after striking the centering.
The coatings of hydraulic lime shall be formed of a single layer, which shall be beaten gradually to present a hard smooth surface, without raised chips, against the internal exposed surfaces of the head walls.
The coatings of Portland cement shall also be of a single layer 5 centimetres in thickness. They shall be started at the head walls above the level of the arch rings. But before placing them, the arch rings shall be roughened, swept and perfectly cleaned.

The coating made of asphalt shall be 3 centimetres in thickness. The arch rings shall be roughened, swept and perfectly cleaned before placing the asphalt, which shall be used boiling, passing-over the joints with a hot iron, principally on the layer on the head wall at a level above the arch ring and, when it is placed on the interior of the arch rings, it shall be started at the upper level of the ballast.


Concrete shall be composed of the quantities of mortar and crushed stone as indicated by the Engineer. The stone shall be very well washed before use.
The Contractor shall conform to the way of using it which shall be laid down by the Engineer-in-Chief during the carrying-out of the works.
The crushed stone shall be perfectly clean, that is to say, the detritus shall be removed, and it shall be washed, if necessary.

It shall be made, and kept, in an area under cover, capable of protecting it from the rain in winter, or beneath a closely woven canopy of branches to protect it from the sun in summer.

The mortar shall be first made as indicated above. Successive layers of crushed stone shall be added, and the mixture shall be mixed with three-pronged rakes until it is thoroughly mixed, that is to say, until all the stones are completely coated in mortar. In the case of having to make a large quantity, machinery may be used.
The making of concrete shall be done without the addition of water, but when the stones are heated by the sun, the mixing floor, or the wheelbarrows, may have water sprinkled on them to assist the adhesion of the mortar.
The Contractor shall carry out the task of making the concrete in such a way that supervision is easy and convenient, and as a guarantee of good preparation, the maximum daily amount that a mixer may work shall be fixed at 85 hundredths of a cubic metre, not compacted, nor as measured in the workshops.
The employees engaged in the making of concrete shall keep an exact daily note of the number of workmen and the amount mixed.
The concrete shall be used a soon as possible after its mixing. It shall be worked, if necessary, before its use. Concrete that is too dry shall be rejected, and removed from the works, to avoid its being mixed with fresh concrete.
Only the quantity which can be used that day shall be made, and the following day good care shall be taken to dispose of the grout and the lime before re-starting the work. The same operation shall be carried out during the day each time the Engineer considers it appropriate.


The amount of ballast which has to be placed shall be that which the typical sections show.
Ballast may be coarse sand, small gravel, decomposed granite, gravel or broken stone.

If materials suitable for use as ballast be found in borrow pits or in cuttings, and the Engineer considers it appropriate, they shall be reserved for later use.

Materials for use as ballast shall be approved by the Engineer before use.
Ballast shall not be placed on any embankment or cutting without their being completely finished with their edges, width and exact level as indicated in the longitudinal section, and previously received by the Engineer.
In the case of the ballast being made of broken stone, these shall be broken so they pass in every direction through a ring of 6 centimetres diameter, and be hard and free of earth or soft parts.
For the moving of the ballast the Contractor may use the material for the permanent way, being the track laid with all the conditions stipulated later for the laying of the track. The Contractor shall make use of sprung flat wagons, if these have to be pulled by engines.

All rails damaged, or sleepers broken, during the carrying-out of the ballasting, shall be replaced at the expense of the Contractor.

Placing of the permanent way

Before starting the placing of the rails, the Engineer shall fix precisely the exact centre line of the railway by means of stakes at not more than 40 metre centres on straights, and not more than 20 metre centres on curves, as also at the changes of gradients, ascents and levels. The Contractor shall remain responsible for maintaining the alignment.
The gauge of the railway on straights measured between the inside edges of the rails, shall be exactly that shown on the typical plans, and on curves as indicated by the Engineer, with a tolerance of 2 millimetres.

On curves, to counteract centrifugal force, the outer rail shall be raised according to the special instructions which shall be given by the Engineer-in-Chief to the Contractor, always keeping the inner rail at formation level.
On straight lines, the rails shall be perfectly straight, and on curves, the rails shall be curved to suit the radius.
Nowhere shall the upper and side faces of consecutive rails present angles or inequalities at joints.

For a temperature of 15°, the gap between consecutive rails shall be 4 millimetres, which shall be increased or decreased, according to temperature, in accordance with the instructions of the Engineer-in-Chief.
In curves, the difference in length between the two lines of rails shall be compensated by placing short rails on the inside, according to the instructions of the Engineer-in-Chief.

The rails which need to be cut to join lines, be it at the approach to bridges, level crossings, turnouts, shall be at the expense of the Contractor. The cut ends shall be the same as those of complete rails.
The sleepers shall be placed at right angles to the rails on straight lines, and on curves according the the radius.
All rails shall be secured to each sleepers, by means of two spikes on straight lines, and by three on curves, distributed according to the instructions which the Contractor shall receive from the Engineer-in-Chief.
At level crossings, the placing of rails shall follow the same spacing for the sleepers, and without cutting any rails. Guard rails shall be used on the inside of the track, which shall be the same as those in the track, curved at the ends with a well made curve of one metre radius, and at least 30 centimetres long. The length of the guard rails, and their position, shall be determined by special instructions sent by the Engineer-in-Chief to the Contractor.
The guard rails shall be laid so the joints don't coincide with those in the rails.

On the outside, the guard rails shall be of wood, made so as to be exactly the height of the rail, and shall be fixed to the sleepers by means of nails 15 centimetres long.

In the event of the permanent way's being used by the Contractor for the placing of ballast, or the transport of materials, the responsibility for all the deterioration caused to the embankments or engineering works shall remain with the Contractor. He shall also remain responsible for the damage to rails arising from the use of worn or ill-adjusted wheels on the wagons which have been used on his works. While the line is used by the Contractor, he shall remain responsible for maintaining it at the level fixed at all times and in perfect condition.


Wood shall always be of first quality, and shall have the dimensions given on the construction drawings, or which shall be sent to the Contractor during the carrying-out of the works. It shall be free of soft rings, tears, woodworm, loose knots, shakes, etc.
All wood shall be worked in accordance with good practice, with assemblies, chisel work, tenons, mortices, joints, finials, joint keys, all according to the requirements which shall be given to the Contractor by the Engineer-in-Chief.
All the assembled work shall be correct and well fitted, each tenon or bolt shall exactly fill the mortice or hole prepared to receive it.

All pieces, which at the time of their use have defects, which had passed un-noticed in the workshops, shall be removed and replaced at the expense of the Contractor.

Wood for centering shall be worked on its four sides only by axe [adze?]. The sides shall not have any concave or convex curves. No centering shall be removed without the previous authorization of the Engineer.
The posts and plank stakes shall be in accordance with the details given and shall be hammered in to the depth specified for each particular site. In this operation, all care necessary shall be taken to ensure that the posts remain in exactly their correct locations and, if due to difficulties in this operation, they move out of position, they shall be returned by means of props or guy ropes, and they shall be maintained by means of ropes which shall be fixed by turn-buckles on the well-straightened posts. The distance between the posts shall be filled with temporary ropes and shall be lifted with care one after the other to obtain over the whole distance between two posts a flat surface. After nailing the posts and plank stakes shall be cut to the level indicated by the plans.
The wood for grillages shall be wood of very good quality, sawn into planks of 10 centimetres in thickness. Each point shall be held on the ropes by big nails of 16 centimetres. The joints shall be properly straight, so as to leave no space between the planks, which shall be very close to each other.
Building work – For bridges the wood shall be accepted straight from the saw. Beams shall be properly squared, straight and the assemblies, chisel-work for slots and other recesses for locating pieces of iron shall be carried out with care.
Wood for platforms and posts shall be square with true arrises and well-straightened with a plane without any defects.
All floors on joists shall be assembled with tongues and grooves. The boards shall be fixed on each joist by one nail of length twice the thickness of the board for narrow boards, and with two for the full width boards.
All wood for bridges, beams, floors of superstructures, and all parts of woodwork which is built into, or is in contact with, brickwork shall be creosoted with two coats of the best vegetable creosote. All wood which will remain visible shall be worked in conformity with the said requirements.
Wood for doors, windows, etc. shall be Oregon pine, selected from the best sources, without foreign intrusions, infill pieces, putty, soft rings, bad knots, or tears. They shall be sufficiently long and wide to form the tenons, tongues and other features according to the height of each piece of work, perfectly straightened to line and brushed with a soft brush so as to leave no trace of sawdust.
The work shall then be solidly assembled, one piece to another, with tenons, mortices, keys, wedges and tongues. They shall be placed according to the nature of the work with the necessary pegs. Mouldings and sections shall be perfectly formed. In short all the rules of good practice shall be scrupulously followed, and all the carpentry work on completion shall present a perfect finish.

Iron roofs

All roofs shall be of galvanised corrugated iron of the best quality obtainable in the trade.
Each sheet of iron shall be screwed to the rafters with nine 2 inch galvanised iron screws. Each screw shall have a washer which shall have a small roll of burlap in paint paste between it and the sheet.
The sheets shall overlap three channels across their width, and 6 inches in their length.
The ridge shall be of galvanised iron and shall carry two lines of rivets in the joints of the sheets, covering a least 4 inches and shall be soldered on both sides.
The rainwater gutters shall be of galvanised iron 4 inches in diameter. They shall have two lines of rivets and shall be perfectly soldered.

Painting, glazing and papering

Painting shall be prepared with oil. For white paint, zinc white shall be used and for black, ivory black. All other materials shall be of first quality and approved by the Engineer.
Knots in pine shall be burnt with an iron heated to red heat and well-filled with infill pieces and putty. The various coats of paint shall be applied with care, in turn, following drying. The various colours shall be well separated one from the other. The outlines shall be true and perfectly accurate.

Solid iron sections on the inside of walls shall receive one coat of red lead; other visible ironwork shall be first painted with red lead, and then two coats of bronze or black shellac, according to the instructions which the Contractor shall receive. These various coats shall be extended over the decorations and mouldings in such a way that there are no accumulations of paint anywhere.
The glass panes shall have the dimensions and thicknesses ordered. They shall be perfectly colourless, truly transparent and without scratches or defects. The panes of glass shall be placed in the prepared frames, and immediately fixed very firmly with pins, then the putty shall be placed.
Papering – For the main locations in first and second class stations the price per roll of wallpaper shall not exceed 50 centavos, and in other locations and stations paper or dado strips at 25 centavos the roll shall be used.
Various samples shall be presented to the Engineer from which he shall select the ones to be used.

Cast and wrought iron

Ironwork – All cast iron shall be made according to the drawings which shall be sent to the Contractor. All the patterns shall be at his expense, and shall be presented to the Engineer for his verification.
Cast iron shall be of first quality, and the cast pieces shall be well moulded; the arrises shall be sharp, and the whole without defects such as blisters, blow holes, scores etc. The use of putty prior to the acceptance of the pieces by the Engineer is prohibited.
All wrought iron shall be of first quality, sweet, flexible, without scale, blisters or flakes, fine-grained, well forged, and worked with all fixing points according to the nature of the works.


The line shall be enclosed on both sides over its whole length by means of post and wire fences, with the exception of the beds of rivers and marshes, or roads at which the fence shall join with the wings of the bridges or the posts of the gates.
This type of fencing shall be modified by the Engineer where it is essential to build walls or dry-stane dykes, due to the special conditions of the land occupied by the railway.
The Contractor shall not start work on any part of the fencing before the embankment or cutting which forms the right-of-way has been completed.
The fencing shall be carried out in straight lengths, as far as is possible, in accordance with the requirements of the Engineer, and the typical cross sections and plans for the area of land expropriated. A plan indicating the nature and dimensions of the type of fence to be provided shall be sent to the Contractor. The erection of these shall be done by means of templates indicating exactly the section specified on the plan.
Fencing for stations shall be of wire, wood, galvanized iron, or brickwork, according to the location and the importance of the stations. In each case the detailed plans of these works shall be sent to the Contractor.

Gates for public and private roads

1st – All gates for public roads shall conform to the drawing which shall be sent to the Contractor by the Engineer-in-Chief. Wood for these gates shall be Oregon pine of the first quality, worked with the plane and perfectly assembled.
Posts shall be of cypress, equally worked with the plane.
2 nd – Gates for private roads shall be of the type and dimensions in accordance with the drawing which shall be sent by the Engineer.
Wood for these gates shall be of the highest quality of the country.
Posts will be of pellín [Chilean oak; Nothofagus obliqua].
The specifications relating to carpentry, ironwork and painting shall apply equally to the making of gates for public and private roads.

Workshops – Turntables

All the works shall be of the form and dimensions indicated in the detailed drawings which shall be sent to the Contractor by the Engineer-in-Chief.
Cast iron shall be of the best quality and shall present a leaden coloured grain, close and equal in section, it shall not have tears, scores, blow holes, cold drops, or other defects likely to alter its strength. It shall be smooth and easy to cut by chisel or by file. It's tensile strength, proved by cast test pieces, shall exceed 15 kilogrammes per square millimetre of section. It shall not fail in compression under a load of 80 kilogrammes per square millimetre of section, and shall support without permanent deformation a load of 20 kilogrammes per square millimetre of section.

All wrought iron shall be soft, malleable, either hot or cold, its section shall present a fine homogeneous grain. It shall be perfectly forged or rolled, without skelfs, blisters or flakes, scores, or other defects, and shall resist, in tension without breaking, a load of 36 kilogrammes per square millimetre of section without the least permanent deformation.
Sheets of wrought iron shall be of at least the same quality as that used for steam engine boilers. They shall be perfectly formed, welded without skelfs, scores or lack of metal. They shall be easy to work by hole punch, by forging machines, and planed or cut without permanent deformation.
Angle or double-T sections, or sections of any other form, shall be of first quality, capable of being doubled cold, as well as hot, according to the shapes necessary for the works. They shall be easy to work by forging, and by punch, without permanent deformation. They shall be rolled perfectly straight and shall be flattened, if necessary, in the way of cast iron in the shape of the sections.
Axles, gears, transmission shafts and driving axles for the rotation wheels, shall be of first quality fine grain iron.

The rivets shall be of iron of the same quality as that used for locomotive boilers, ductile and strong. They shall be of the strongest and of the best quality. On riveting they shall elongate uniformly without snapping or tearing. Iron for rivets or bolts shall be capable of being bent cold to 45°, and straightened, without any permanent deformation.
The axle and gear steel shall be of the best quality, called German steel, conveniently tough.
Brass shall be homogeneous, and without any extraneous materials, in the proportion of 82 percent copper and 18 percent tin.

Lead used for sealing shall not be earthy or sandy. Wood shall be entirely first class pellín. It shall have been cut at protected by a layer of turves, placed on edge, according to the requirements of the Engineer-in-Chief.
These turves shall be removed as much as possible from the sites occupied for embankments or borrow pits.
The turves shall be at least 10 centimetres in thickness. After their laying, they shall be well compacted with a flat nosed rammer and cut to form well-made arrises.


Paved surfaces – Passages

For paved areas or ramps, the bed having been appropriately prepared, a layer of sand 25 centimetres thick, well watered and compacted shall be laid according to the curvature and cross-falls fixed. The placing of the string courses, or master stones, shall be started immediately according to the lines and slopes, consolidating them with the hammer and filling the joints with sand.
The stones for the straight courses of a uniform width, at right angles to the line of the road, shall then be laid, breaking joint with the contiguous courses, and carefully filling the joints with sand. The laying of the stones and the string courses having been completed, they shall be rammed with a rammer of 20 kilogrammes until they do not sink any further on striking.
The Contractor shall have to replace without delay any stones which break during this operation, and shall also make good any depressions which are formed. Finally, after having inspected the paved surface, and on the instructions of the Engineer, a layer of 3 centimetres of sand shall be spread over the paved surface.

Surfacing of broken stone for yards and roads

The Contractor shall not start the surfacing until the Engineer has established the descents and rises, and has ensured that the shuttering or bed is prepared over the whole area to the total depth, and according to the form required.
In the parts on embankment of more than one metre in height along the centre line, no surfacing shall be made until at least two months after the completion of the embankment, or according to the special order of the Engineer.
To regulate and verify the formation, the descents and ascents, the sections of the slopes, and of the cuttings, of both the railway and the altered roads, as well as the crossfall of the paved areas, gauges shall be made according to the drawings given by the Engineer.
The dimensions of broken stone shall be verified by rings of the diameter prescribed by the Engineer.

All materials for forming paved areas shall be examined and received prior to being employed.

After having been received in accordance with instructions, these materials shall be spread without any mixing-in of earth and sand They shall be spread on the shuttering or bed, which shall previously have been cleared of all water and clayey earth, which it might contain. The subsoil shall have been previously brought to level and compacted.

Provisional reception of materials for engineering works

All the materials shall be inspected and received before being used. This shall be done according to the instructions of the Engineer.
Wood and iron rejected shall be immediately removed from the stores and the works. Sand or broken stone not accepted shall, without loss of time, be placed in the embankments, other rejected material shall be removed far from the work within 24 hours. The expense of transport and compensation for deposits shall be at the expense and responsibility of the Contractor. Nevertheless, the provisional receipt of these materials, which having been used, and within the time fixed by the guarantee, are considered defective shall be removed, and replaced at the expense of the Contractor.

Composition of and mixing mortar

Two types of mortar shall be employed.
The first type of mortar shall be composed of one part of lime, and two or three parts of sand, according to the quality of the lime.
The second type of mortar shall be composed of one part of cement, one of lime and five or six of sand, in accordance with the circumstances, and the instructions which the Engineer gives. This mortar is obligatory for use in arches, foundations for abutments and bridge buttresses.

In all cases, the mortar shall be mixed on a wooden-floored area and without the addition of water to the
lime quenched in paste, and the mortar shall present a good clayey consistency.
The quantities of materials shall be determined with metric measuring containers, of a capacity determined by, and in the presence of, an agent of the Government.
The employment of machinery for the mixing is recommended and is required for all works of some importance. On conclusion of the contract, the Contractor shall leave each signal complete and in perfect working order.

Water storage

The planks, pipes, bolts and bars shall be of the best quality of material and manufacture.
The tanks shall be assembled by mechanical workmen, and shall be left in a perfect state, with no leaks, or other defects.
The joints of the planks shall be caulked with mastic of iron filings when the Contractor prefers not to plane them.
All the iron shall be painted in the factory with two coats of red paint and two of oil after having been assembled.
Stone, brick or wood work shall conform with that specified in the previous paragraphs for the same materials.


The Contractor shall provide one or two brass pumps of the best quality, and of the dimensions indicated by the Engineer for each water tank.
Each pump shall be solidly secured through its base to a wooden beam. It shall have a heavy fly-wheel, with a two-man crank-handle, a strong frame of cast iron and valves of easy-access.

All the handwork shall be very carefully carried out and equal to fine engineering work.
In the event of the judgement of the Engineer that the pump does not work completely satisfactorily, the Contractor shall be obliged to exchange it until the Engineer is satisfied.

Cranes and water columns

Cranes, as much in their material as their manufacture, shall be in conformity with the masonry specifications.
The cranes shall be well-assembled without leaks, slewing easily, and with its valves functioning satisfactorily.
[The implication here is that the cranes are fixed and hydraulically operated.]
All cranes shall be painted with four coats of oil paint, the first two in the factory with red paint [red lead?], and the other two after assembly.
Polished parts shall be painted in the factory with a mixture of white paint and tallow.

Iron pipework

Most of the pipework shall be spigot and socket. Each pipe shall be 9 feet long, excluding the joint.
Joints shall be made with lead.

Each pipe shall be of uniform thickness over its whole length, of exactly circular section, truly smooth, inside and outside, without blisters, cracks, pin holes, sprains, or other defects.
All the pipework shall receive two coats of well-cooked creosote inside and outside.
In the laying of the pipework, care shall be taken to follow a uniform gradient, with straight alignments joined by gentle curves.

Take note, communicate and publicise.

Federico Errázuriz Echaurren

Arturo Fortunato Alessandri Palma
Minister of Industry and Public Works


to home page

to top of page

The Chiloe Island railway

Home page Central of Chubut FCS to Neuquén FCE broad gauge EFE broad gauge Chiloe Island FCE 75cm gauge Estancia railways Coal  railways Ushuaia old & new The South Atlantic Salt railways Industrial lines Resources