Train of the South
|Locale||Southeastern Puerto Rico|
|Dates of operation||1984
|Track gauge||3 ft (914 mm)|
|Length||4 mi (6.4 km)|
|Headquarters||Arroyo, Puerto Rico|
The Train of the South — or Tren del Sur in Spanish — is a historic 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge heritage railroad operating within the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico in Arroyo. It was formed in 1984 to preserve the last surviving sugar cane plantation line still in existence on the entire island, which was part of a large railroad system that operated around Puerto Rico prior to the 1950s.
The railroad took passengers and sightseers across Arroyo's old sugar cane fields on a fifty-minute long guided tour that explained the industry and other historic aspects of it. Most of the original railroad right-of-way is former Ponce & Guayama trackage, which was in regular use up until 1958; a short 4-mile (6.4 km) segment was later revived as the Tren del Sur in 1984. Much of the original equipment abandoned on site also served as historic props along the route.
In 2005, the railroad was temporarily shutdown pending a major restoration project; although all work has been halted in recent years afterwards for unknown reasons. However, the Department of the Interior has plans to re-commission the railroad and extend the system further sometime in the near future.
A number of vintage and historic rolling stock equipment exists around the grounds of the Train of the South. Locomotives that once operated the tourist trains until 2005 consist of original plantation-era Plymouth Locomotive Works diesel switcher engines which range from five 18-ton engines to three 40-ton locomotives. The 40-ton Plymouth's are all painted in a direct mirror of the old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway red and silver Warbonnet scheme, including the yellow Santa Fe "cigar band" logo with the railroad's name painted within it. Engine #18 was the main locomotive used on all tourist runs, it pulled several converted flatcars with custom built interiors to allow for seating of passengers. Along the route, many of the sidings are filled with abandoned sugar cane related freight cars.
|Puerto Rico Railroad – Plymouth An image of Tren del Sur's #18 Plymouth.|
|Puerto Rico Railroad – Rolling Stock Abandoned sugar cane tank cars along the Tren del Sur railroad line.|
|Flickr – Tren del Sur A former Whitcomb industrial switcher displayed outside the main entrance.|
|Whitcomb 7-ton||1||1939||TS 1||This is a former Whitcomb industrial switcher modified with a custom steam-engine carbody; it currently sits on display outside the main entrance.|
|Plymouth 18-ton JCD||4||The railroad had a handful of these 18-ton Plymouth switchers, though only three are left on site and in disrepair as of 2009.|
|Plymouth 18-ton JCD||1||TS 15||This smaller Plymouth switcher was later moved and put on display outside the Bacardi Distillery in Cataño. It is lettered for the Ponce & Guayama railroad.|
|Plymouth 40-ton WLD||2||TS 16-17||These are two nearly identical engines to #18, both are in disrepair as of 2009.|
|Plymouth 40-ton WDT||1||1954||TS 18||This was the primary engine used on all of the railroad's tourist runs; it has been inactive since 2005 after the railroad was mothballed.|
|Travel & Sports Puerto Rico – Tren del Sur Image of the Tren del Sur running a tourist train through the sugar cane fields of Arroyo.|
|PRFROGUI.com – Arroyo Two trains with Plymouth locomotives sitting at the station.|
- Puerto Rico Railroad Informational site regarding the Tren del Sur.
- Travel & Sports: Puerto Rico Tren del Sur de Arroyo
- PuertoRico.com Article Arroyo tourism details and information about the Tren del Sur.
- PRFROGUI.com – Arroyo El Tren del Sur (Spanish)
- Government of Puerto Rico State Historic Conservation Plan, 2006-2010 (Spanish)
- Jay Reed's Preserved Critters Train of the South switchers listed under Plymouth and Whitcomb sections.
- Flickr: Ponce & Guayama Rail Road Co. Preserved Plymouth 18-ton JCD locomotive from the Tren del Sur.
- Puerto Rico Railroad – Brief information & photographs about the Tren del Sur.
- Travel & Sports: Puerto Rico – "Tren del Sur" Attraction Profile
- Puerto Rico Travel: A Family Adventure Aboard the Tren Del Sur in Arroyo – Tourist article regarding Arroyo and its Tren del Sur.