Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México

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This article is about the nationalized system that existed from 1909 until the 1990s. For the pre-1909 independent system, see National Railroad of Mexico.
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México
Reporting mark N de M
Locale Mexico
Dates of operation 1907–1995
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Mexico City[1]
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Mexico train.
A train in Mexico City station, 1984
Train Mexico City Oaxaca 1981
Logo, Painting on a train

Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, (better known as N de M) was Mexico's state owned railroad company from 1938 to 1998, and prior to 1938 (dating from the regime of Porfirio Díaz) a major railroad controlled by the government that linked Mexico City to the major cities of Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Juárez on the U.S. border. The first trains to Nuevo Laredo from Mexico City began operating in 1903.[2]

N de M absorbed the Mexican Central Railroad (Ferrocarril Central Mexicano, first section from Mexico City to León, Guanajuato, opened in 1882) in 1909, thus acquiring a second border gateway at Ciudad Juárez (adjacent to El Paso, Texas). The N de M was nationalized by President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río in 1938, and privatized 60 years later by President Ernesto Zedillo. N de M operated most railway trackage through the central and northeastern regions of the republic.

During the days of steam locomotives, N de M was best known for operating Niágara class locomotives, which took their name from the New York Central Railroad locomotives of the same wheel configuration. It was also the home of several narrow gauge systems that used steam, both nationally and regionally.[3] N de M was one of the few railroads outside the US to purchase new diesel locomotives from Baldwin Locomotive Works: the only three "Baldwin E-units" ever built ("0660 1000/2 DE"), the DR-12-8-1500/2 "Centipede" and the AS-616. Two of the three 0660 1000/2 DE locomotives had been on major railroads in the United States on a demonstration tour in 1945. N de M bought them and ordered a third in 1946. All three consistently broke down and were retired soon after their factory warranties expired. They do not appear on the 1950 N de M locomotive roster, and sat for years in the scrapyard at San Luis Potosí. Notes in the FNM archives in Puebla, Mexico describe how one of these locomotives had a wheel disintegrate at high speed, and also how the Centipede locomotives were delivered in 1948 with parts missing.

In Acámbaro, Guanajuato, N de M operated one of the few facilities in Latin America that was capable of constructing and doing complete rebuilds of steam locomotives, thus with rare exceptions (as with the Niagaras), most of N de M steam motive power was purchased used and rebuilt there. Portions of the facility and a preserved 2-8-0 steam locomotive remain as part of Acambaro's municipal railway museum.

In 1995, the Mexican government announced that the FNM would be privatized and divided into four main systems. As part of the restructuring for privatization, FNM suspended passenger rail service in 1997, and the new arrangements applied from 1998. The companies were Kansas City Southern de Mexico, Ferromex, Ferrosur, and (owned jointly by the three companies) Ferrocarril y Terminal del Valle de México or Ferrovalle which operates railroads and terminals in and around Mexico City.

As of 2006, the remaining parts of NdeM are in the process of liquidation.[4]

Notable named passenger trains of the N de M[edit]

Named trains usually bore names related to the destination, for example, El Purépecha referred to the Purepecha (Tarascan) peoples of western Michoacán.

Other passenger service was provided between Mexico City and: Cuernavaca, Morelos; Tampico, Tamaulipas; Guanajuato, Guanajuato; and Veracruz, Veracruz.

Buenavista Station in Mexico City has been renovated and is now the southern end of the new electric Tren Suburbano line. Photos of Buenavista often prominently feature a pyramid-like tower, the Torre Insignia. The building housed the headquarters of Banobras, but currently is unoccupied and it has been renovated. A preserved Niagara steam locomotive and GE boxcab can be viewed at the Museum of Electricity at Chapultepec, Mexico City. Many more preserved Mexican steam, diesel and electric locomotives can be viewed at the FNM museum in Puebla, Mexico.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grupo México, About us, Offices". Retrieved 2009-03-02. [dead link]
  2. ^ Minsk, R. Todd (July 2003). "Part 1: 1870-1907". Querétaro, Qro.: a chronology of railroad development. Retrieved March 7, 2009. 
  3. ^ Best, Gerald M. "Mexican Narrow Gauge" (1968, Howell-North).
  4. ^ Ferrocariles Nacionales de México (September 10, 2008). "Ferrocariles Nacionales de México en Liquidación". Retrieved March 7, 2009.