El Salvador - A Life Chasing Trains



El Salvador had two major railroads, both three foot gauge. The first was the Ferrocarril de El Salvador from the Pacific port of Acajutla to Santa Ana and San Salvador.  That was followed by the Salvador Division of the Ferrocarriles Internacionales de Centro America from La Union on the Gulf of Fonseca to San Salvador and connecting through Guatemala to Puerto Barrios on the Caribbean. When I first visited in 1968 the FES was still steam powered and largely link and pin, an operating museum of old time railroading.  The FES also had a fleet of homebuilt silver painted railcars they called Balas de Plata, or Silver Bullets.   The FIdeCA by contrast was dieselized and more modern.  Both railroads were eventually nationalized and combined into the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de El Salvador (Fenadesal).  Neither railroad could compete with truck competition and eventually freight service was discontinued although the infrastructure was (more or less) preserved.  A commuter passenger service operated (and may still be operating) for a few miles out of San Salvador over the former FES, but for the most part what is in these pictures is now history.

The FES acquired more modern equipment from the Oahu Railway and the FIdeCA, but in most cases it was adapted for link and pin operations as shown.

The FES acquired more modern equipment from the Oahu Railway and the FIdeCA, but in most cases it was adapted for link and pin operations as shown.