photo: Manuel Ramos stands in front of 2-8-4T No CP0186 in Contumil (Porto) Portugal
A former pupil and personal friend of Livio Dante Porta, Manuel has worked with steam locomotives for most of his working life. In the period 1990-93 he was an advisor to the Spanish National Railway Museum, and subsequently director of railway publications for one specialized railway magazine from 1993 to 1996
From that date Manuel moved to Lleida and is currently Director of ARMF, Mantenimiento y Prooyectos Ferroviarios, SL, a company based in Lleida and Villablino (Spain), successor of ARMF, where he was CMO. The former ARMF is the non profit organisation, linket with the commercial company with same name, that covers the corporate social responsibility of ARMF SL.
ARMF has the only workshop specialized in steam and historical railway equipment in Spain and which covers major railway projects insome parts of the world although specially in Spain on diverse track gauges. Also, ARMF has skill about non historic railway vehicles, developing maintenance and consulting operations for diverse railway companies in Spain.
Actually ARMF SL is realizing experience with Natural Gas powered railway vehicles, both railcar and locomotives, working together with the major Natural Gas infrastructure company in Spain, becoming from 2015 until now as the only railway integrator specialized in Spain on Natural Gas powered vehicles. This is a major cause to proceed with serious investigations concerning environmental issues that can be applied to the railway preservation scene.
Manuel has extensive experience in the overhaul, repair and maintenance of large steam locomotives, and extensive experience on the footplate and in the operation of steam locomotives, including a large Spanish (broad gauge) Garratt locomotive No 282F-0421.
Manuel studied directly under Porta during the period when Porta was involved in a steam locomotive project under the Spanish Ministry of Infrastructure, and was member of a Commission on General Direction of Railway Infrastructures that covers and regulates the operation of historic trains in Spain
Manuel and ARMF also had close associations with Phil Girdlestone in South Africa, developing successfully the introduction of light oil firing on Spanish steam locomotives. The last work of the late Phil Girdlestone was precisely a joint venture with ARMF to build a new boiler for Portuguese Railways and the light oil firing system for it.
ARMF SL has extensive projects concerning railway preservation with the restoration to service of a former meter gauge coal railway for both touristic and industrial purposes related to R&D projects on new forms of traction for railway vehicles. Concerning specifically steam locomotives there are serious plans to restore to operation several steam locomotives, including the extensive modernization of one of them.
Manuel is currently writing a book in Spanish, related to steam traction technology, covering the immense gap of Spanish language technical books related to modern steam traction. This book pretends to be a comprehensive compendium of major works done by main steam engineers, focusing on Porta works and all done by his pupils after him. This is done with the aim of preserve the knowledge in Spain for future generations.