SAF Nº1 Locomotive
Railway Museum, Gijón
After the Spanish Civil War, La Camocha mine became an important coal producer. The company undertook the construction of a broad-gauge railway branch between its facilities and the Veriña railway station in order to provide an output. It was put into service in 1949. It originally operated with rented equipment, but the company acquired its own locomotive three years later.
It was built by the German firm Henschel, one of the most prestigious in the field of industrial engines. It had two coupled axles, external valvetrain and a water tank on the frame, typical characteristics of this type of locomotive. It was called SAF Nº 1, which corresponded to the acronym of Sociedad Anónima Felgueroso, the original owner of La Camocha. Subsequently, its ownership would pass into the hands of Minero Siderúrgica de Ponferrada.
SAF was in service on the La Camocha railway branch line until the mid-1970s, when it was withdrawn following the purchase of a diesel locomotive. It was then put aside for a long time, but was finally loaned to the Asturias Railway Museum in 1994, which restored it and put it back into service.
Since then, it has become one of the symbols of the institution and is regularly used on the occasion of the Jornadas del Vapor (“steam-dedicated days”) organised by the museum and has even taken part in the filming of some movies.
SAF Nº 1 is an excellent example of modern industrial locomotives, as it was one of the last ones commissioned by a mining company when this type of locomotive was on the verge of decline. It is also the only broad gauge locomotive in working condition in Asturias.