Way back before most of you VOB'rs
existed including yours truly, my grandfather went to Venezuela
to work for Lago Petroleum Corporation, alias Creole Pet.
Corp. He was an Englishman who came to the US in 1904 following
a stint in the Boer War. By training he was a bonefide Master
Machinist and he got his first job working for a major railroad
service hub in Sparks, Nevada.
Well, from there he worked in the
oil fields in Tampico, Mexico and then eventually ended
up in Lagunillas in 1926 or thereabouts. At that time, there
were no real roads between Lagunillas and La Salina. Cabimas
and Lagunillas were backward villages.
As the company continued to expand
the oilfields, there was a need to develop reliable land
transportation between the two production camps and that's
where Granddad William's experience was brought to bear.
He built a small steam locomotive engine which ran on a
narrow gauge track that the company had laid between the
two camps. The tracks ultimately ended up at the docks of
the two production areas.
When I was about 5 or 6 years old
which was oh, about 1948 or 1949, while on one of our many
hunting trips with Dad and Mom behind La Salina, we used
to take a monte road that crossed the remnants of the rail
bed that ran between the two camps where there still existed
old narrow gauge track and old abandoned wood power poles
that followed the track. Dad always repeated the story of
his father building the locomotive and how employees used
to ride the train as it ran through the monte between the
camps. Dad said it was not unusual for the locomotive to
somehow be dislodged from the track and that everyone would
have to get off and work to put the engine back on the tracks.
This is a bit of history of which
very few people are aware of and I do not believe there
are any other photos in existence of the locomotive. I have
just two old black and whites that Dad took. In one of the
photos he is standing next to the locomotive with grandfather.
are the two photos of the narrow-gauge, small working
locomotive mentioned above that was built by Steve's
grandfather Williams to transport men and supplies
between the La Salina harbor and the Lagunillas
harbor. This engine and rail line were built sometime
in the late 1920's or early 1930's.
Steve isn't sure how long it was in service, it
was extensively used until the Carretera Nacional
was finally built.
above photo shows Steve's grandfather sitting in
the cab with Steve's father standing to his left.
Note the interesting gravity feed tank mounted on
the roof of the engine cab.
photo of the locomotive from another angle with
Steve's grandfather on the left with his foot on
the engine and the engineer standing next to him.