Presentation of the "Cuco" steam locomotive

The oldest steam locomotive in operation in Catalonia

Photographs: Museu del Ferrocarril a Móra la Nova (locomotora CUCO) and CC Ribera d'Ebre / (photograph of the event).

The Director-General for Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia, Sònia Hernández, today presided over the official presentation of the MZA 606 “Cuco” locomotive, which has been restored by the Móra la Nova Railway Museum. The locomotive, one of a series built in Belgium in 1885, was in the service at Barcelona's Poble Nou depot from 1949 to 1968. Following this functional restoration, "Cuco" has become the oldest steam locomotive in operation in Catalonia.

The event was attended by representatives of the local and district councils, the provincial authority and the autonomous government, as well as other institutions involved in the running of the Museum, and in particular those that helped to fund the restoration process.

The “Cuco” locomotive

The "Cuco" type MZA 606 locomotive is one of a series of 10 built in 1885 by the Belgian firm Marcinell et Couillet. They were in service at the Alicante, Seville, Madrid Atocha, Albacete and Girona depots, up to the creation of the Spanish railway service RENFE. More than half of the locomotives in the series were scrapped between 1966 and 1969, except for the MZA 606 and the other units maintained in Madrid, Terrassa and Vilanova i la Geltrú.

The MZA 606 itself was in service from 1949 at Barcelona's Poble Nou depot up until 1968, and was sold to the pharmaceutical company CIBA, which placed it on display as an exhibit at its offices, before it was acquired in 2005 by the National Science and Technology Museum of Catalonia, which relocated it to the Railway Museum in Vilanova i la Geltrú, where it was on display up until 2019. In March 2019 the locomotive was transferred to the Móra la Nova Railway Museum for restoration and exhibition.

Functional restoration

The National Science and Technology Museum of Catalonia commissioned the Móra la Nova Railway Museum to restore the steam locomotive to functional condition for museum use. The Museum worked towards this goal between 2019 and 2021, achieving the intended aim despite the difficulties in sourcing finance and the challenging circumstances of recent years.

The result is a fully functional steam locomotive, which is now the oldest example of this technology in operation in Catalonia today. And also one of the oldest anywhere in Spain.

press-clock 21 September 2022