Querétaro, Qro.: a chronology of railroad development: part 2

1908 (February 29)  National Railroad Company of México reorganized as Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (NdeM).  (Garma Franco, Railroads in México, v.2 p.354; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.77)

1908  Josefa and María de la Mota are reported to have constructed a 600mm gauge tramway, the Tranvías de El Lobo, from Hacienda El Lobo, 20 kilometers southeast to estación La Griega of Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México. A branch, which may have come later, extended from the main route at Hacienda de Amascala, 10 kilometers northwest to Santa María de Begoña.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Dirección de Ferrocarriles. Estadística 1923, 1924, y 1925 hoja: [p.84])

1908-1909  Connection tracks, belonging to the FC Nacional de México were constructed between the Nacional de México and Central Mexicano at Hércules (385.5 meters) and La Griega (274 meters).  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1908/09 p.38)

1909 (February 1)  Ferrocarril Central Mexicano merged into Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México.  (Garma Franco, Railroads in México, v.2 p.354)

1909 (December 15)  Federal concession no.337 was issued for Ferrocarril Querétaro a San José Iturbide [Guanajuato].  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1923-24, p.63, 71)

1912 (July 4)  Concession 311 for Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro, having lapsed, was reconcessioned under number 373.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1923-24, p.64, 65, 78)

1912 (July 6)  Concession no.337 for Ferrocarril Querétaro a San José Iturbide, having lapsed, was reissued under concession no.375.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1923-24, p.64, 71)

1912 (August)  Construction began on the Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro from both directions, at the public crossing of highway “Pueblito”, kilometer 3.540 from Querétaro. There was also construction from the Acámbaro end at Jerécuaro, in the direction of Querétaro.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1912/13 p.203-204)

1912  The two private rural tramways are identified, with a slight difference in length from earlier reports: estación La Griega to Hacienda de Begoña (22 km) and Querétaro northwest to Hacienda de Jurica.  (Frías, Valentín “Ensayos sobre odografía queretana.” in: Memorias de Société Scientifique Antonio Alzate, Tomo 32, cited in González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.49)

1912  Línea A between Hércules and Adjuntas (15.0 kilometers) was one of thirteen segments on the NdeM system identified as made redundant by absorbing Ferrocarril Central Mexicano, and abandonment proposed.  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, Annual Report, 4th, 1911-12 p.24)

1914 (January)  The Compañía del Ferrocarril Urbano de Querétaro appears to have been renamed to Compañía de Tranvías de Querétaro, though the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas used the latter name as early as 1903 [see above].  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.52)

by 1915  The NdeM operating division structure through Querétaro was: Línea A Division de México-Querétaro, Distrito de San Juan (San Juan del Río-Irapuato); Línea B Division de México-Querétaro, Distrito de González (Huichapan?-Empalme González)  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, Annual Report, 8th, 1915-16 p.43-44, compared by extrapolation with later annual reports)

1916 (August 14)  Concession no.375 of Ferrocarril Querétaro a San José Iturbide expired and was not reissued.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1923-24, p.64, 61)

1916 (November 16)  The concession for Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro lapsed and reissued a  second time; Concession 373 was replaced by no.388.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1923-24, p. 64, 65, 78)

1916-1917  The territory San Juan del Río to Irapuato on Línea A was moved to the Aguascalientes Division, designated the Irapuato District.  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, Annual Report, 9th, 1916-17 p.24)

1916-1918  The Compañía de Tranvías de Querétaro lost much of its assets due to the civil war. Part of the track was removed on the route along Calle Juárez between the two railroad stations, and many of the animals were appropriated by the military. Because of this, service was reduced, becoming highly irregular, and the tariffs significantly raised. Eventually, in November 1917, a government order demanded that the company resume its timetables, among other things. Also, much traffic and revenue had been lost due to disruptions in the operations of the textile mills in the area.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.55, 218-223)

1917-1918  NdeM Línea A was reported taken up from Conexión La Griega to Conexión Mariscala, km A-228.2 to A-263.6, with the traffic diverted to Línea B between these points. This being the period of the Revolution, the materials were probably in high demand elsewhere. Ownership of the real estate in the vicinity of the Alameda (site of the station and yard) later passed to the state of Querétaro (by way of a company known as “La Nueva Querétaro”) under the auspices of the “Ley Sobre Fomento de Construcciones” and the site was used for development of Colonia Cimatario. Avenida Constituyentes was built over other parts of the former alignment. However, it seems that the former Línea A from the west (railroad north) end of Las Adjuntas (kilometer A-258.0/B-280.0) to Mariscala (kilometer A-264.7) was retained as a secondary track [though it may have been removed and put back several years later; early sources are not available]. This track was under jurisdiction of the Mariscala station and in later years identified as “vía de conexión que une las vías principales de las distritos Querétaro y Cortázar.” (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, Annual Report, 12th, 1919-20 p.41; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.78; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.153; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México División de Querétaro Horario No.6, 24 de Junio de 1962)

1918  Gasoline motor units, pulling the same cars formerly handled by mules, were introduced on the El Pueblito route of Tranvías de Querétaro, S.A., 8.541 kilometers. Their other lines, which continued in service with animal traction, were to La Cañada, 9.215 km, Estaciones, 1.196 km and Circuito, 4.673 km. Intention was to gradually convert these lines to internal combustion as well, but was never fulfilled.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.219-220)

1919-1920  NdeM’s territory San Juan del Río-Celaya (Línea A) returned to the México-Querétaro Division as part of the extended Distrito de San Juan del Río (México [Buenavista] to Celaya). (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, Annual Report, 12th, 1919-20 p.36)

1923  Information is reported on the two private animal-powered, 600mm gauge rural tramways in the Querétaro area: Ferrocarril de la Hacienda de Jurica, from the city of Querétaro 12 kilometers northwest to Hacienda de Jurica (inaugurated in 1900), had four plataformas. Tranvías de El Lobo, inaugurated in 1908, 20 kilometers southwest from Hacienda El Lobo to estación La Griega, with a 10 kilometer branch from Hacienda Amascala northwest to Santa María de Begoña, with 17 employees, two coaches, and seven plataformas. Both handled freight (primarily agricultural output) and Tranvías de El Lobo also carried passengers. They were said to have survived the revolutionary period relatively undamaged.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Dirección de Ferrocarriles. Estadística 1923, 1924, y 1925 hojas: [p.84, 89]; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.217)

1923  Tranvías de Querétaro (gauge 1435mm) reported 25 kilometers total in lines “Nacional”, “Circuito”, “Cañada”, “Pueblito”; 12 employees, 40 “obreros”, three gasoline motors, ten coaches, eight plataformas; partly animal powered.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Dirección de Ferrocarriles. Estadística 1923, 1924, y 1925, hojas: [p.84, 89])

1923  Competition with the tramways began to appear, in the form of motor buses running to Hércules, La Cañada and El Pueblito. Within a few months the tramway company’s revenue fell by 60%.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.223-224)

1924-25  Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro had suspended passenger service. Only 54 kilometers were operated, and this did not include the Querétaro segment. The 600mm gauge railroad possessed five locomotives (of which only one was needed; the others were spare), three passenger cars, 40 boxcars, 10 gondolas, 18 flatcars, and 8 other equipment.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Dirección de Ferrocarriles. Estadística 1923, 1924, y 1925, hojas: [p.15, 27, 33, 36, 44])

1925  Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro Sección de Querétaro is reported as 28.0 km, of which 25 km was not operated, between Hacienda San Rafael and Casa Blanca in the south part of Querétaro.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Dirección de Ferrocarriles. Estadística 1923, 1924, y 1925, hojas: [p.44, 69, 72]))

1926  Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro entry in Ingresos y Gastos de Explotación and equipment: statistics are entirely blank. Tonnage handled is reported for 1920-25, noticeably declining each year.  (México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1926, 1927-28, hojas: [p.3, 9, 19, 34, 38])

by 1927 (December 5)  The Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México through Querétaro was being operated as the División México-Querétaro. Línea A was the Distrito de La Griega (San Juan del Río to La Griega) and Distrito de Celaya (Mariscala to Celaya); Línea B was the Distrito de Escobedo (Huichapan to Empalme Escobedo [formerly named Empalme González]).  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México División de México-Querétaro Horario No.6, 5 de Diciembre de 1927)

1929  The state governor, Abraham Araujo, demanded that Tranvías de Querétaro modify its trackage on the lines Circuito and Estación, to vacate from certain streets where it was felt the traffic too congested, and also to implement gasoline motor units in place of mule traction on the entire network (thoughts of electrification were rejected for lack of funds). A deadline of August 15 was decreed, and with no action toward it by the tramway company, on August 20 the two cited lines were shut down. Service continued to El Pueblito from Casa Blanca (Calzada Fernando de Tapia near the corner with Calzada Melchor Ocampo) and to La Cañada from the Garita de San Isidro (Calzada Juan Caballero near the present-day Avenida del Acueducto). Passengers had to use alternate transportation within urban Querétaro. Also the fare rose, from 10 centavos to 15 per trip. The requirement to renovate the service on the remaining lines was extended to January 1930, and later extended again.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.225-228)

1931 (December 6)  On this date NdeM redesignated its División de México-Querétaro as the División de Querétaro, separating some parts for transfer to the División de México. There were certain territorial changes and redesignations on the districts also: the Distrito de San Juan del Río (Línea A) extended from México [Buenavista] to La Griega; Línea B became the Distrito de Huichapan (Empalme Tacuba to La Griega), the Distrito de Querétaro (La Griega to Querétaro), and the Distrito de Escobedo (Querétaro to Empalme Escobedo). Línea A to the west (railroad north) became the Distrito de Irapuato (Mariscala to Irapuato).  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (y Líneas Administradas) División de Querétaro Horario No.1, 6 de Diciembre de 1931)

1932  The administration of Tranvías de Querétaro, President (since 1916) J. N. Galbraith, a North American residing in México City, and the local manager Mariano de la Isla, were not interested in improving or maintaining adequate service in the face of increasing road competition, deteriorating infrastructure, and demands of passengers, employees, and government. In consequence, service was abandoned sometime during the year, and the city of Querétaro revoked the company’s operating rights. Since about 1921, employees had been suffering long work hours and infrequent rest days, without extra pay.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.216, 220, 223, 228)

1933  The cooperative society Unión de Tranviarios de Querétaro [also cited as the Sociedad Cooperativa de Tranviarios] had been formed in 1932, in an effort to resume the tramway service. In 1933 it took over the assets of Tranvías de Querétaro and received permission to operate two lines: Querétaro to El Pueblito (also known as Villa Corregidora), nine kilometers for passenger and freight, operated with gasoline motors, “...running daily and making intermediate stops on Calle de Nicolás Bravo, to the Jardín Principal de Villa Corregidora, with intermediate points of Casa Blanca and El Jacal. The cost is 10 centavos per person and the trip time, 35 minutes.” The other was a freight track of 1.5 kilometers from the Molino El Fénix to NdeM’s freight station on Línea B.  This was said to run along Calle de Vergara, where no tramway route had been recorded before. With a “plataforma” and gasoline motor unit, it could handle 15 tons per trip, with a charge of one peso per ton. [More likely, it was along Calle Juárez, part of the former “Estaciones” line.]  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.216, 229)

circa 1933  Ferrocarril de Acámbaro a Querétaro abandoned. There had been two segments: Guadalupe (near Acámbaro) to Hacienda de Gamboa (76.0 km) and Hacienda de San Rafael to Querétaro, (km 102.0 to km 124.0); 22 or 28 kilometers depending on the source. Part of the Querétaro urban right of way was used for the alignment of Avenida Instituto Tecnológico. The Querétaro terminal had been along Avenida de Primavera between Calles Ezequiel Montes and Nicolás Bravo, very close to the southeast corner of NdeM’s freight facility on Línea B. Gauge differences prevented a direct track connection, 600mm compared to 1435mm.  (map in México. Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas, Memoria, 1934-35; México. Dirección de Exposición Estadística. Vías Férreas en Explotación en 30 de Junio de 1928, p55, 104; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XIX, p.78; González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.222)

1936  The company “Compañía Explotadora de Anuncios en los FF.CC.” was noted as a member of the Cámara de Comercio de Querétaro. Presumably this business was involved with posting advertising in trains and railroad stations and/or employing the on-train news and sundries vendors.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.288)

by 1937 (September 1)  Slight modifications were made to territories of districts on NdeM’s División de Querétaro. Línea B, Distrito de Querétaro (La Griega to Querétaro), and Distrito de Escobedo (Querétaro to Empalme Escobedo) were combined into the new Distrito de Escobedo (La Griega to Escobedo). Distrito de San Juan del Río (Línea A) and Distrito de Huichapan (Línea B) were shortened to commence at Lechería (Estado de México) at the México end, not directly affecting Querétaro.  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (y Líneas Administradas) División de Querétaro Horario No.3, 1 de Septiembre de 1937)

by 1939  Tramway service of Unión de Tranviarios de Querétaro could not overcome the deteriorated infrastructure and other problems, and had run only sporadically in the early 1930s. By the end of the decade it had disappeared. The private tramway to Hacienda de Jurica vanished about this time also.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.230; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (y Líneas Administradas) División de Querétaro Horario No.3, 1 de septiembre de 1937; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México y Anexos División de Querétaro Suplemento No.8 al Horario No.3, 1 de octubre de 1943)

1930s to early 1940s  Passenger train service at its peak showed five pairs of trains running through Querétaro. Two of these pairs ran México to and from Nuevo Laredo, using Línea B (by way of Huichapan) east of Querétaro. The other three pairs ran to and from México over Línea A (through San Juan de Río), through Querétaro to Irapuato. From there one pair extended to Ciudad Juárez, one pair to Manzanillo, and the terminal of the third pair varying between Zacatecas and Guadalajara during different periods. There was also a local passenger train scheduled from Querétaro to Irapuato and returning the same day. Several freight and express trains were also carded, with schedules using different routing combinations over time. In general, gradients favored southbound trains via Huichapan, while northbound the routes were more equal; 1.5% was the maximum both directions on both routes.  (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México División México-Querétaro Horario No.6, 5 de Diciembre de 1927; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México División de Querétaro Horario No.7, 20 de Julio de 1930; Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (y Líneas Administradas) División de Querétaro Horario No.3, 1 de Septiembre de 1937; Official guide of the railways and steam navigation lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, January 1930, March 1937, September 1944)

1940 (February 26)  A tragic accident took place between Querétaro and Las Adjuntas at kilometer B-276. A monument, made from a broken steam locomotive driving wheel, was erected at the spot (now kilometer Juárez-251.9 due to recent redesignation) reading “A los compañeros Evarista R. Huerta, Manuel F. González, Genoveno Vazquez y Alfonso Alvaredo que perdieron su vida en este lugar el día 26 de Febrero de 1940, víctimas del cumplimiento del deber”.  (observations by Todd Minsk, November 2002)

1946 (October)  Development of Zona Industrial La Era on the northwest side of Querétaro began with the construction of a railroad spur by Fábrica Industrializadora “El Clavel”, to serve the factory of Productos Lácteos Mexicanos, S.A. (the “Carnation” brand), that was put into operation August 1948. Zona Industrial La Era later became known as La Antigua. The zone was connected to the main line railroad with a short branch built north from the NdeM, on a wye at kilometer B-269.8 and B-270.2. Several other factories with spurs were established in the same area through the 1950s, including La Concordia, Kellogg’s de México, Ralston Purina and Singer Mexicana. This area is sometimes referred to as Espuela San Pablo. Recent (early 2003) factories along it are Seshin México (on the former site of Singer), Nestle Purina/Carnation, Pilgrim’s Pride, Reciclajes del Bajio, and Cemex Querétaro, but only Pilgrim’s Pride appeared to be an active rail customer, with 15 tracks at its processing plant and grain elevator. The plant of Kellogg’s de México is located elsewhere on Carretera Campo Militar, with the railroad spur diverging south from the NdeM main line.  (González y González, Transporte en Querétaro en el Siglo XX, p.102-113; observations by Todd Minsk. February 2003)

1948 (January)  NdeM inaugurated CTC dispatching (Control Centralizado de Tráfico) on Línea B between estación La Griega and Mariscala, the first such installation in the republic apart from an earlier project described as “experimental”, between México and Lechería, Estado de México.  (Campos Ríos, Guillermo, “El proyecto de modernización ferrocarrilera de Miguel Alemán” in Memorias del Tercer Encuentro de Investigadores del Ferrocarril p.57,59)