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.


These 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.
Although Steve isn't sure how long it was in service, it was extensively used until the Carretera Nacional was finally built.
 
The 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.
Another 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.
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