Here is what I did today.
An intro: Fundidora de Monterrey (officially Compañia Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey) was a large iron and steel foundry in Monterrey, it opened in 1900 and closed in 1986 (according to my dad it still operated until early 1988, but it was declared insolvent in 1986).
After the it closed, the grounds were transformed into a Sesame Street waterpark, a Holiday Inn hotel, large convention center, racetrack (there was at least one CART race and several NASCAR Corona races there), a large arena, a smaller auditorium, whatever was left in the middle (including everything inside the track) became a public park. They removed some buildings and left the more representative ones, which are now space for conventions, exhibits and fairs (independent of the much larger, and purpose built Cintermex convention center), and the blast furnace #3 now houses a museum and a restaurant.
I don’t think I ever realized how big the place was, as the track is normally open for rollerblading and bicycling, and the distances feel much shorter when you’re biking than when you’re on foot at 100 degrees. I have visited Cintermex several times, went to Sesame Street once, stayed at the Holiday Inn once or twice (during the years that we didn’t live in town, must have been a good 12 years ago), biked around the track, but never imagined the place was this big.
I didn’t realize either that there were 2 locomotives on display (just like a lot of other artifacts from when Fundidora operated), I never heard of them, never paid attention, and never really cared, however, things changed in April. During an unrelated search, we stumbled upon a photo of #25, and my friend Dustin, a well known trainophile said that it was a very rare ALCO C415. I took his word. I’m into trains but I still know little about it. We located the train in the map and I said I was going to go see it when I traveled to Monterrey.
When I was coming home from the airport we went past the park and I saw the locomotive, in a completely different place than what Google said, but I figured the imagery was outdated; then we drove by later and I took a picture, but then Dustin said that that locomotive was no ALCO, but a GE SL-Series switcher. Some googling later, I found out that that was #15, 1 of 2 SL-130 switchers built by GE, both for Fundidora (GE built plenty of other SL-series with different capacities, but only 2 of the 130 ton ones).
Today, with some more data in hand (mostly data on lighting, courtesy of The Photographer’s Ephemeris), I went to the park. Since I didn’t know what the conditions were, I decided to strip my camera down to the basics to attract no attention: I removed the battery grip, lens hood, tripod plate. I figured that that was going to draw less attention than a much larger camera, and I also considered that in the event of theft or damage, there was less equipment to lose.
After walking for about 1.6 miles, and after avoiding hordes of teenage girls wielding Nikon cameras (nothing against Nikon shooters, but I noticed they were more popular with the girls, must have something to do with the bright yellow NIKON written on the straps), I had some pictures.
One thing I didn’t find out until I was there was that both locomotives (and pretty much the whole park) are popular spots for wedding photoshoots, model photoshoots, and pretty much every teenager who wants to look like Bar Refaeli or Taylor Lautner (gender dependent), but, I was able to shoot with no obstructions for a few minutes, really difficult to do though. An annoying obstruction was a teenage girl using a tripod with a superzoom P&S in broad daylight to photograph her friend with the ALCO -hence my twitter rant). I really want to come back, but it will probably have to be a Sunday early morning, like 9AM, when people are still in bed hungover.
#25 – ALCO C415, ex. Southern Pacific SP 2406
#15 – General Electric SL-130 Switcher, mfd. 07/1976, serial number 39131
Fundidora #15 y Cerro de La Silla by Felipe Garcia
Fundidora #25 by Felipe Garcia
The remaining photos can be found here