Alejandro Goicoechea

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Alejandro Goicoechea Omar (his first surname is also spelled Goikoetxea) (Elorrio, Biscay, March 23, 1895 - Madrid, January 30, 1984[1]) was a Spanish engineer.


Goicoechea worked for the narrow gauge railway of La Robla which today is operated by FEVE, developing a welded steel carriage and various elements of suspension, brakes and traction. In 1936 he suggested a lightweight articulated meter gauge trainset which however was not approved by the management.[2]

Goicoechea authored the Iron Belt to protect Bilbao during the Spanish Civil War. But soon before finishing it he defected to the Nationalist side, and this was decisive in the Nationalists conquering Bilbao on June 12, 1937.

In 1938 he described a train composed of articulated triangular structures with independent wheels, capable of 100 km/h commercial speeds. In 1941 a test unit composed of triangular chassis and truck wheels with carriage rims welded on was built and tested successfully up to 75 km/h behind a steam locomotive.

In 1942 Goicoechea worked with the company Hijos de Juan de Garay in Oñate and other companies to build a first test train consisting of seven low-slung cars of only 4.44 m length, of a roughly semi-circular cross-section, pulled by a power unit based on a powered bogie from Ganz Works. In the same year he teamed up with José Luis de Oriol y Urigüen, founding the Patentes Talgo company and baptizing the test train Talgo I (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol). The Talgo I was tested until 1945, then damaged during a test run and scrapped in the early 1950s.

In 1944 Goicoechea started working with the American Car and Foundry Company to design the Talgo II but left the company in 1945 before the train was completed.

Later he suggested a connection between Spain and Morocco by rail tunnel in Gibraltar, which did not become reality.[3]

He died in 1984, aged 89.[4]


This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Spanish Wikipedia.

External links[edit]

  • Boletín Oficial de la Propiedad Industrial, 1 de abril de 1936, nº 1190, página 1246, Concesión de patente de invención 141.056 a Alejandro de Goicoechea y Omar por "Un nuevo sistema ferroviario de transporte por rodadura elevada" presentada el 1 de febrero de 1936 y concedida el 16 de marzo de 1936.