Steam Train With No Brakes

Casey Jones Method Of Stopping

When I was young, I used to watch “Casey Jones” on TV. Something I remember was the way they used to stop the train – by putting the engine into reverse!

Rogers 4-6-0 Woodburner. Similar to Casey Jones Engine

On the show, Casey would throw the reversing lever and the wheels would spin backwards, eventually slowing the train.

I never really thought this would happen in real life, but I was wrong!

This is the international train that ran from Asuncion in Paraguay to Buenos Aires in Argentina. Like the Casey Jones train from the TV series, it is a wood burner.

I cab rode this train out of Asuncion and was surprised to see that the brakes didn’t work. There was no working air compressor!

Fortunately the line is very, very flat, so stopping is just a matter of allowing enough time to slow down, and the use of a Casey Jones style stop to get the train stationary.

Hard to believe that this was an international express, but they come in all sorts and sizes. They are not all sleek 350 kph bullet trains, at least not in South America.

The above photo is taken at Yipacarai

In addition to having 2 Argentinian Sleeper Cars in the consist, the dining car featured cages with live chickens underneath. Talk about fresh eggs for breakfast!

It was quite something to ride in this train which took more than a day for a leisurely 380 km stroll to the Argentinian border.

We reached Encarnacion close to sunset on the second day, where we witnessed a “Steam Fest”.

As dusk approached, the train was shunted by a tank loco.

The two international carriages were shunted onto a side wheel paddle steamer. They were lowered onto the ship with a steam driven winch!

Unfortunately it was dark by the time we boarded the ship. We then crossed the Parana river into Argentina.

The train rarely reached 50 kph due to the rather dubious looking track and lack of brakes, but it lasted for many years.

I believe the railway has been closed for a while now. As far as I can tell, regular steam ceased in 1999, although there are working locos available for short distance tourist trains.

The following video has footage of the train and the carriages being loaded onto the Ferry.


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