Sorry - image missingSorry, image missing.


The locomotives

Sorry, image missingThe locomotives were brought from Britain, at least in the days of The GSSR. The first were actually owned by Hett, Maylor & Co and were used in the construction of the line. They were small 0-6-0 workhorses, the first one being '100 Mercer' which was built by The Hunslet Engine Co. of Leeds in 1888. This little engine continued to function in various rôles for more than seventy years.

In addition to 'Mercer', Hett, Maylor & Co bought two 0-4-0 locos from Sharp-Stewart for construction work.

These little engines must have been worked to the bone in hauling stones, bridge parts, gravel, ballast etc as well as technicians in their coach during the inspection of construction works.

The "Mogul Type" locomotives.

Sorry, image missing

The GSSR ordered 25 Mogul Type locos between 1880 and 1905. These had no flange on the centre wheels due to the tight curvature of The GSSR track. The first six were built by Neilson in 1880. They were named, in chronological order, "MURCIA, LORCA, GRANADA, AGUILAS, HUERCAL and BAZA". They arrived in Águilas on 30th September 1889. Presumably, the nine year delay was because they weren't needed until The GSSR was finished, or rthere is an error in the dates as The GSSR wasn't incorporated until 1885. In addition, another six named "GUADIX, PULPI, ALBOX, CANTORIA, TIJOLA and PURCHENA" were built again by Neilson in 1890. They arrived in Águilas on 16th May 1890.

Sorry, image missing.MERCER 0-6-0 near to execution time after 78 years service in Puente Geníl. Manufactured by Hunslet in 1888.
Sorry, image missing.AGUILAS, No 4, built by Neilson in 1880 and delivered to Águilas Port on 30th September 1890. Photographed by Gustave Gillman around 1900 in Serón Station.
Sorry, image missing.AGUILAS in Lorca Sutullena Station. This station is still in use (just). This must be a relatively early photo as there is no RENFE registration on the buffer bar of the loco. The trees have disappeared from the platform and been replaced by a shelter.
Sorry, image missing.BAZA, No 6, built by Neilson in 1880. Seen here in Fines-Olula Station in 1895. Photo by Gustave Gillman. On the right there is now a main road. The station is in a very poor condition and is in danger of disappearing totally. This was a goods train heading towards Lorca or Águilas for unloading onto a ship.
Sorry, image missing.GUADIX 2-6-0 No 7, entering Almendricos Station in May 1962, built by Neilson in 1890.
Sorry, image missing.GUADIX at Almendricos Station in March of 1962.
Sorry, image missing.PULPI No 8 2-6-0 at Tíjola Station manufactured by Neilson in 1890. The station has been converted to a bar/restaurant and on the right is a children's play park. At some time since this photo was taken, the left hand platform was extended, and a water tower now stands in the bottom right hand corner.
Sorry, image missing.PULPI in Almendricos Station in 1962. These turntables were not powered, so the loco had to be situated exactly so that it was balanced over the centre bearing to reduce the friction when rotating. Then, up to four men were needed to push the turntable to the required position for the loco to exit. This turntable no longer exists, the only remaining one being in Baza Station.
Sorry, image missing.CANTORIA, 2-6-0 No 10, built by Neilson in 1890, seen here at Baza Station in March 1966.
Sorry, image missing.CANTORIA at Almendricos Station in March 1966.
Sorry, image missing.CANTORIA at Baza Station with 140-2027 Babcock & Wilcox from Guadix in March 1966.
Sorry, image missing.TIJOLA 2-6-0 No 11 at Zurgena Station in March 1966. Manufactured in 1890 by Neilson. A very mixed bag of rolling stock, including passenger and freight wagons. The station was recently renovated as a youth project.
Sorry, image missing.TIJOLA en route to Baza having left Zurgena in March 1966 crossing the Rambla de los Canales bridge. At this point, the loco was 76 years old. The A-334 motorway now passes between the bridge and the hill in the background.
Sorry, image missing.PURCHENA No 12 at Caniles Station in 1966. Manufactured in 1890 by Neilsen. To the left, behind the photographer was the sugar factory which was important for The GSSR.
Sorry, image missing.JARAVIA, No 20, at Huercal_Overa Station in May 1962. Built by North British in 1905. The photo shows the type of traffic that the locos hauled, with a truly mixed train including passenger and freight cars.

Two more - "SERON and ALMANZORA" - built by Kitson in 1894 were added.

Five more were built by Sharp-Stewart in 1901 and were named "ZURGENA, CANILES, HIJATE, FINES and OLULA".

Another five were built by North British in 1905 and were named "JARAVIA, LUMBRERAS, ARBOLEAS, BACARES, MACAEL and ALMENDRICOS".

Because of the difficult terrain, with steep inclines and many tight curves, the 2-6-0 wheel arrangement was considered ideal as the load of the loco could be spread over five axles. Due to the tight radius of the curves, the middle driving wheels didn't have flanges.

The articulated engines

Sorry, image missingAs the transport of heavy goods such as iron ore developed, it was necessary to employ more powerful locomotives. This presented a problem due to the tight radius of the curves, as well as the 14 ton maximum weight limit per axle of the track, so articulated engines were chosen. These were manufactured by Kitson. These strange engines were articulated in the middle like a 'Bendy-Bus' with a wheel arrangement of 2-8-0+0-8-0 and called the "Kitson-Meyer". The arrangement was that the firebox was in the middle of the engine which powered pistons at both ends. The front chimney exhausted smoke while the rear chimney steam. This resulted in some hot working conditions for the crew. Three were bought by The GSSR in 1908.

Sorry, image missing.Kitson-Meyer 2-8-0+0-8-0 leaving Tíjola Station hauling a goods train.
Sorry, image missing.A Kitson-Meyer No 50 in Zurgena station on 22nd December 1908. Behind the loco can be seen the iron ore wagons waiting to go to El Hornillo for loading onto a ship. In the bottom left corner can be seen Gustave Gillman's shadow.
Sorry, image missing.Kitson-Meyer No 50 at Jaravía Station.

Details of the three engine types:

Weight (tonnes)24.681109
No. tubes127187218
Boiler pressure (psi)80180218
Water capacity (litres)7,20010,36010,360
Coal capacity (tonnes)1.25.4 (tender)2.5
Pistons x 4 (Bore x stroke - mm)355 x 280252 x 336206 x 336
Horsepower HP/kW304/227707/5271,345/1,002
Max. speed (Km/h)488872

This table from 1917 shows how the inclines on the route to Baza from Almendricos affected train times. Being a passenger service, the trains would have been relatively light compared to iron ore trains. The speeds between each station include the waiting times as well as the time it took for the train to get up to speed. In addition, there would have been many speed restrictions on the line due to the tight curves and a multitude of level crossings. The extended time at Cantoria in both directions suggest that the locos were taking on water there.

Height ASL /
difference (m)
InclineSpeed Km/h
Speed Km/h
Almendricos - Las Norias11

106.912333/271 in 25637.741.5Mainly straight and almost level, hence the relatively high speeds.
Las Norias - Huércal-Overa23

2011.160360/-551 in 203 down 29.133.5As above.
Huércal-Overa - Almajalejo 10

14 4.226 305/0 Level 25.4 18.1It is hard to see why it took an extra 4 minutes in the 'down' direction.
Almajalejo - Zurgena 13 14

6.707 305/-41 1 in 163 down 31.0 28.7Slight incline saves the train a minute on the way up.
Zurgena - Arboleas 10 14

5.168 264/-34 1 in 152 down 31.0 22.1Difference in speed suggesting that the incline slowed the 'down' train by 4 minutes.
Arboleas - Almanzora 13 9

5.360 298/39 1 in 137 24.7 35.71 in 137 incline reflected in the train times.
Almanzora - Cantoria 19

5.135 337/39 1 in 132 16.2 25.77 minutes lost - possibly taking on water.
Cantoria - Fínes-Olula 19

24 9.470 362/95 1 in 100 29.9 23.75 minutes lost on the 'down'. Again, possibly to take on water.
Fínes-Olula - Purchena 14

10 5.702 457/66 1 in 86 24.4 34.2This is quite an incline, reflected in the relative speeds.
Purchena - Tíjola 27

17 10.194 523/142 1 in 72 22.7 36.0As above.
Tíjola - Serón 19

14 8.121 665/104 1 in 78 25.6 34.8As above.
Serón - Hijate 27

12.149 769/205 1 in 60 27.0 36.4This is the steepest section (1 in 60) on the whole line, as well as the highest point (2,500ft) as can be seen from the relative speeds.
Hijate - Caniles 22 30

14.110 974/-141 1 in 100 down 38.5 28.2The drop down to Caniles from Hijate 141m (460ft) gives the train an extra 10Km/h.
Caniles - Baza 7 8

4.884 833/39.1 1 in 500 41.9 36.6The run into Baza is a rise of 39m but most of the track is level, the incline being in the last kilometre before arriving in the station.
TOTALS3hr 54m3hr 36m109.2986411 in 20028.030.4



Passenger stock

Passenger coaches were imported by ship through Águilas port either complete or in kit form. They were considered the most luxurious in the day. Some coaches were converted for mail, which was carried free by The GSSR.

The original GSSR coaches:


One of the few remaining examples of the coaches used by The GSSR was manufactured by Ashbury of Manchester and it can be found in the Railway Museum in Madrid.

Sorry, image missingSorry, image missing

See more photos

As fortunes dwindled, The GSSR converted many coaches to 1st/2nd or 2nd/3rd and 1st/2nd/3rd to reduce the number of empty coaches on any train.

Goods wagons

This is where The GSSR made its money, it certainly wasn't through passenger traffic! There was patently a learning curve regarding the purchase of wagons for the tranport of goods. In the early days of The GSSR, all mining was by hand and small wagons were sufficient to carry the ore. Additionally, wagons were needed to carry goods such as esparto grass, finished products, fruit, vegetables, sugar etc. As the business evolved, more bigger rolling stock was purchased. The statistics are impressive:

General purpose 'M'Ashbury12182
General purpose 'J'Beasain1630
General purpose 'L'??1053
Wood transport 'N'M.R.B.128
Covered 'K'M.R.B. and L.H.W.?50
Merchandise 'M'Ashbury and F.V.616
Water tank??6
Hoppers (2 axle) 'X'G R Turner15/1825
Hoppers (4 axle, 2 bogie) 'W'Hurst Nelson35150

Iron ore wagons

Sorry, image missingSome of the earlier wagons were 16 ton twin axle with a laden weight of 11½ tons per axle, which was getting close to the 14 ton limit for the track. The one on the left (photograph from the Águilas Railway Museum) had a brakeman's cabin but no vacuum braking system. It was built by G.R. Turner.

Sorry, image missingLater on The GSSR bought many 35 ton wagons. These had bogies that allowed the additional weight. The one in the photograph on the right was built in the UK by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Limited, Wednesbury. There is some doubt as to the manufacturer of some of the other 35 ton wagons known as “Yanquis” (Yankees) as it is said that they were built in Pittsburgh by Hurst Nelson. However, the only reference to this company refers to one based in Glasgow, UK. See Faydon which explains the situation well.

Sorry, image missing35 ton wagons being assembled in 1901 (Photo: Gustave Gillman) in the Águilas workshops. It appears that there are two drums waiting to be mounted for the vacuum braking system. Note, also, the bogies which permitted The GSSR to carry the 35 ton loads.

Sorry, image missingRight photo: Inauguration of El Hornillo pier showing the first ever operation of the 35 ton wagon discharging iron ore into the hopper. Before this day, the ore was shipped to Águilas Port where it was loaded onto steamers by hand in esparto baskets. Photo: Gustave Gillman.

Sorry, image missingConsidering the relative size of The GSSR, it owned a considerable amount of rolling stock. This is a list of the stock in 1929:

About me
Águilas Museum
Águilas Port
All images - beware, large file
Almería Station
Alquife Mines
Babwil locomotive
Bacares mines
Baldwin (Babwil) locomotive
Bilbao Mines
Boag, George
Boag, George - photographs
Boletín, El
Botanical gardens, Loring
Bridge statistics
British Cemetery, Águilas
Cable Inglés
Caloric - ship
Document search
El Hornillo loader
El Hornillo Museum
Esparto grass
Films made in Guadix
First line
Gardens, Botanical, Loring
Granada - Guadix
Guadix workshops
Gustave Gillman
Gustave Gillman's houses
Historic photos - all
Hett, Maylor
Houses - Gustave Gillman
How a locomotive works
How a locomotive works - images
Imported materials
Jaravía Mines
Las Menas
Las Menas - images
Livesey, James
Lloret Baldó translation
Los Canos Loader
Los Canos Loader
Map Tesorero cable
Murcia Station
Neilson locomotive, Águilas
Press articles
Problems - Legal
Puig, Ivo Bosch
Rolling stock
Sugar factory - Benalúa
Sugar factory - Caniles
Sugar factory - Guadix
Talcum mines - Somontín
Tesorero cable map
Tesorero Loader
Tesorero Mines
Tíjola loader
Viaduct - Gor
Viaduct Gor - first viaduct
Viaduct Gor - history
Victoria locomotive