Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe
June 12, 2014 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Crawling the lost tracks of Latin America. Artists Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene, a.k.a. "Los Ferronautas," converted a car into a retro-futuristic rail vehicle they dubbed SEFT-1 (Sonda de Exploración Ferroviaria Tripulada, "Manned Railway Exploration Probe") to explore the abandoned passenger railways of Mexico and Ecuador.
posted by gottabefunky (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that photo of their car on the bridge is pretty wild. I don't know if I would be ok with driving over an abandoned wooden trestle in uncertain condition.
posted by indubitable at 9:59 AM on June 12, 2014

So, first of all, this is super cool, but I'm trying to figure out - is there a practical purpose to the full customization of the pickup as opposed to just adapting it as is to a road/rail or hi-rail configuration? Is it just from the artistic aspect, or does it have some alternative fuel system? I see something about a fuel cell and solar panels in the translation, but can't quite suss it out...
posted by stenseng at 10:06 AM on June 12, 2014

stenseng: my guess is the conversion is a combination of art and utility: I mean, c'mon, the fancy grill? Pure art. But a fuel cell & solar panels might've been useful, considering they might be too far from gas stations for refills.
posted by easily confused at 10:14 AM on June 12, 2014

I don't know if I would be ok with driving over an abandoned wooden trestle in uncertain condition.

I had that reaction too. But to be fair a car is going to weigh far less than a train; my non-expert wild guess is that even if it's deteriorated enough to be iffy for a train, it might still be plenty strong for a car to use.

Even so, I hope they checked it out before attempting to cross...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:27 AM on June 12, 2014

We had a train come to town once. It didn't turn out well.
posted by aureliobuendia at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I never got to ride a train in Mexico, but my dad has tales about riding to Mexico City & back from Tijuana in the 70's that made me really want to take a long train trip there sometime. The train station in Chapala is one of my favorite buildings in all of Mexico & fortunately, has recently been restored - I fantasized about owning a recording studio there throughout my 20's. There's a lovely little station just off the pavement on NL 1 between Nuevo Laredo & Bustamante, near a town called Candela. Stopped there for a few photos in '98 & one of the only pics I have of a dear friend who died the next year in a freak rockfall accident in a deep pit in SLP was taken in front of that station, so I'm sentimental.

I will be following the expansion of this site. Cool stuff!
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:33 AM on June 12, 2014

Something of a tangent, but if bygone Mexican railways and sound art interest you I can't recommend Chris Watson's El Tren Fantasma enough, here are some details here, try this for starters: El Devisadero.
posted by nfg at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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