FCAF No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta'
0-4-0+0-4-0 Garratt

FCAF No.5 on test and prior to naming is seen at La Macarena station. © Phil Girdlestone

FCAF No.5 on test and prior to naming is seen at La Macarena station. May 2006 © Phil Girdlestone

Delivered in 2005 this locomotive is the third steam engine in FCAF's fleet. It has become FCAF No.5 named 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' after the father of one of FCAF's directors. Ing. Zubieta was instrumental in the development of Ushuaia in to the bustling city it is today.

No.5 is based on a handful of parts left over from when FCAF's other Garratt, No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta', but named 'Nora' when built', was constructed. The builders of No.2 had supplied a second loco in kit form but this was never built. Quite a few parts had to be used to keep No.2 running between 1999 and 2005 whilst others were not used in building No.5. The parts which were used included the blank frame plates, blank buffer beams, odd cranks and levers, rough motion blanks and rods, the tanks (but these were heavily modified) and the smokebox door. Anything else which remaining from the 'kit' was discarded and replaced by newly made components.

The spare boiler supplied as part of the 'kit' is currently in use on No.2. No.2's original boiler having shown signs of crown rippling prior to the arrival of Shaun McMahon on FCAF in 1999. So a totally new boiler was designed to the correct codes, unlike the original, and to a new design. Unlike the original boiler the new design is equipped with a Belpaire firebox and superheating.

FCAF No.5's boiler sat in the cradle which sits on the two bogies. As can be seen the boiler is equipped with an external throttle linkage. © Phil Girdlestone
FCAF No.5's boiler sat in the cradle which sits on the two bogies. As can be seen the boiler is equipped with an external throttle linkage. © Phil Girdlestone

The cylinders are more or less to the original design. However the piston valves are of the 'correct' Porta type being lightweight, articulated and fitted with multiple rings of similar quality to those used in internal combustion engines. Thus steam tightness is considerably improved over traditional valve rings. This becomes especially apparent as wear occurs. The valvegear geometry was, in the original design, far from optimal. This has been corrected. Note all the proportional drive to the mechanical lubricator. The lubricator is to a design by Phil Girdlestone. © Phil Girdlestone
The cylinders are more or less to the original fabricated design. However the piston valves are of the 'correct' Porta type being lightweight, articulated and fitted with multiple rings of similar quality to those used in internal combustion engines. Thus steam tightness is considerably improved over traditional valve rings. This becomes especially apparent as wear occurs. The valvegear geometry was, in the original design, far from optimal. This has been corrected. Note all the proportional drive to the mechanical lubricator. The lubricator is to a design by Phil Girdlestone. © Phil Girdlestone

FCAF No.5 ready for despatch from South Africa. © Phil Girdlestone
FCAF No.5 ready for despatch from South Africa. © Phil Girdlestone

In late 2006 FCAF arranged a series of photographs of their fleet of locomotives following the arrival, earlier in the year, of No.5 from South Africa. Each locomotive on the line has at least some parts produced by Phil Girdlestone. Diesel No.4 'Tierra del Fuego' is a product of his whilst No.2 and No.3 include components such as exhaust systems constructed in South Africa.

The operating fleet of FCAF at La Macarena station. From the left is diesel No.4 'Tierra del Fuego', now painted blue as was always intended No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta', No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' and No.3 'Camila'.  FCAF

The operating fleet of FCAF at La Macarena station. From the left is diesel No.4 'Tierra del Fuego' (also a Phil Girdlestone product), No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta' now painted blue as was always intended , No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' and No.3 'Camila'. © FCAF

The steam fleet of FCAF at Estación Parque Nacional . From the left is No.3 'Camila',  No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' and No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta'.  © FCAF

The steam fleet of FCAF at Estación Parque Nacional . From the left is No.3 'Camila', No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' and No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta'. © FCAF

he steam fleet of FCAF at Estación Parque Nacional . From the left is No.3 'Camila',  No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' and No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta'.  © FCAF

The steam fleet of FCAF at Estación Parque Nacional . From the left is No.3 'Camila', No.5 'Ing H. R. Zubieta' and No.2 'Ing. L.D.Porta'. © FCAF

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