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This seem like the right place to ask this question, but first some background;


When I was younger, about 26, I did a lot of traveling around Mexico. For the most part, I took buses, cabs, or private planes. When I decided to terminate my trip I left Oaxaca on a train to Mexico City. The day I left, I was very much bleary eyed from drinking mescal with a bunch of friends the night before.  I don't remember what the station looked like, where it was, or much that proceeded my waking on the train incuding the last 4 hours of my debauchment with my amigos in the zocalo the evening before. 


When I awoke, I found that I had been deposited safely in my seat next to the cousin of one of my friends. My laugage was in the overhead rack and I had the best seat next to the window. The coach was ancient, the seats were woolen, the arm rests wood and the floors had an old worn out persian rug look to them. It looked like something out of a Spegetti western and I wondered at first if I was in some amuzement park ride or in fact in a train headed for Mexico City. I'd already been to Mexico City and it had the most mordern Underground train I had seen at the time. The coach I was in looked like it was out of the old west.


I recall being really hung over and looking out the window as the train crept around a cliff side turn. A puff of Black smoke hit the window. Not deasil but thick smoke like a steam engine. 


I gotta admit, I was pretty much hung over, and was preoccupied with my friends cousin, a real dark eyed beauty, so I didn't really try too hard to see what kind of engine was pulling the train I was on, even after we got off the train. 


Now years later, I'm wondering.... Is it possible that I was on a steam train traveling over the mountains to Mexico City? Was the coach I was in an old Pullman? This happened in 1979, and like I said, I was pretty hung over and pretty much smitten by my friends cousin.  


I was pouring through some old photos tonight when I came across one from my trip (Palenque not Oaxaca) and it just started me on a trip down memory lane and I thought, it can't be possible that I was on a steam train in 1979. I bet someone on MLS can confirm or deny this memory,,,, and sometimes drunken memories are pretty goofed up.
 

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Yeah, I suppose it's really tough to be young, hungover, and faced with the choice between checking out a pretty girl or a steam locomotive.  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif.  Oh, to be young again and have such problems!

I can offer no help on Mexican steam, sorry, but I enjoyed your anecdote!

Dawg :cool:
 

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I'm certainly no expert on Mexico's railroads but to surmise you might have been on a narrow gauge line specifically the San Rafael & Atlixco Ry. It runs/ran into Mexico City. Gerald Best's Mexican Narrow Gauge shows steam c.1968 so it might have been in operation with steam into the 70's. One interesting coincidence is a photo of narrow gauge coach 777 "Primera". An interior shot mentions that it had the headroom of a standard gauge coach and the floor looks like it's covered with an oriental carpeting. The seats appear narrow but accomdate two people.

I haven't "googled" this but perhaps some info would be forthcoming via that route to jiggle your memory. I do sympathise with you. I had a couple of excursions to Mexico in the late fifties but never got very far inland as you did. ;)
 

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I went to Mexico several times in the late 70s and the early 80s. to take pictures of trains. I can help a little bit, I'm no expert.

One of the neat things about going to Mexico during that time was it was like going back in time to the 60s or earlier. Most of the passenger equipment came form the US. Pullman cars were on several trains along with many open window cars, old diners, and about anytype of car the US didn't want anymore.

I don't recall any steam engines being active during that time period. There were a lot of locomotives built by American Locomotive Company and these locos had a reputation of belching out long streams of black smoke. Much blacker than steam engines. It was a real sight to see.

That would make the most since from your desciption. I hope that helps

David
 

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David is probably right about the engine, I do recall one thing and that is the smoke was very black when it hit the window. The coach was also very big compared to the trains I'd ridden on in Europe. The seats were plush and quite comfortable for two people. I was a lot skinner then though, and wouldn't have minded if my friends sister had to sit in my lap ;)
 
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