CA 8 Locomotive


CA 8 Locomotive

Fondón Mine, Langreo

Carbones Asturianos was one of the medium-sized companies established in the Samuño valley and began its activities in the last decade of the 19th century. In order to extract its coal, a short railway (just over one kilometer long) was used between the head of its mines, near Puente Humero, and the washing plant located near the Samuño station on the Langreo Railway. The track gauge was, of course, 650 millimetres wide and its route ran parallel to the Carbones de La Nueva line, with which it even crossed at a different level through a subway.

Throughout its history, this line had several small steam locomotives. The last of these, which bore the number 8, was acquired in 1928 from the firm Orenstein & Koppel, one of the regular suppliers of the Asturian mining railways.

It belonged to the standard 30 horsepower model, with two drive axles and a water tank on the frame. Its most outstanding feature was the funnel-shaped chimney, equipped with a spark arrestor to prevent the exhaust from starting fires, which provided an exotic touch to a rather conventional model.

It had a relatively short active service life, since, in the 1940s, Carbones Asturianos began to incorporate diesel traction machines that relegated the steam locomotives to a reserve status and, finally, to scrap. Number 8 was the only one to be saved from the blowtorch, kept in reserve service until the HUNOSA era. The public company transferred it and converted it into a monument to the nearby San Luis Mine, where it remained for many years, but it was finally taken to the Fondón Mine.

There, it was restored by a school workshop and was even put into operation on the tracks outside the mine after a brief repair, an initiative that was not continued. Currently, it remains as a monument in front of the building that houses the historical archive of the mining company.

Guillermo Bas Ordóñez