The Ferrocarriles Unidos de Yucatán (United Railways of Yucatan) was founded on November 1, 1902, by the merger of three railroads; F. C. Merida a Valladolid, F. C. Merida a Calkini, and F. C. Merida a Peto, operating in the Yucatán Peninsula.
The last two 4-4-0 steam locomotives (Nos. 80 and 81) built by Baldwin Locomotive Works were made for this railroad in 1946. Locals nicknamed its locomotives as toros de fuego (bulls of fire).
Other than a standard gauge line between Yucatán's capital city of Mérida and the port of Progreso, all lines in the Peninsula were narrow gauge. In 1950, rail lines were finally connected from the rest of Mexico, which used 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge. After the rail unification, the FUdeY line between Merida and Campeche and thence the rest of Mexico was converted to standard. In 1975, the company was merged into Ferrocarriles Unidos del Sureste.
Five of the railroad's steam locomotives were bought by Roger Broggie on behalf of The Walt Disney Company in 1969. Four of them built by Baldwin Locomotive Works between 1916 and 1928, were completely rebuilt and significantly altered to resemble locomotives built in the 1880s. Additionally, their fireboxes were modified to burn ultra-low-sulfur No. 2 diesel oil as opposed to bunker oil and wood. They are currently operating on the Walt Disney World Railroad (WDWRR) circling Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park in Bay Lake, Florida. The remaining locomotive built in 1902 by Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works, was not restored due to its poor condition and was sold to an unknown locomotive broker. Some of its parts were salvaged to repair the four Baldwin locomotives.
- Surviving Steam Locomotive Search - Bay Lake, Florida
- Best (1968), p. 57.
- Leaphart (2016), p. 91.
- Broggie, Michael. Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination That Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom, 4th ed., pp. 316-325, The Donning Company Publishers, 2014. ISBN 978-1-57864-914-3.
- Leaphart (2016), p. 106.
- "ALL ABOARD! The Fire-Breathing Locomotive of Walt Disney World". Disney News. Vol. 11, no. 1. Walt Disney Productions. Winter 1975. p. 14. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
- Souza, Dave (September 6, 2007). "Train Ride or Time Travel? Disney's narrow-gauge steam trains still chug around park". The Ledger. Archived from the original on March 13, 2019. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- Leaphart (2016), pp. 66–67.
Further reading edit
- "Saludo and Adios to 4-4-0's". Trains. Vol. 26, no. 12. Kalmbach Media. October 1966. pp. 20–24.
- Museo de los Ferrocarriles de Yucatán (Yucatán Railway Museum, in English and Spanish)