• Cuba

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of Canada and the United States.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Gilbert B Norman
I must wonder if English speaking railroad representatives could be available to educate US visitors about the Cuban system.

This for us around here would be "the way" to lawfully satisfy the educational requirement to visit Cuba.

It would be interesting to learn that at such time normal US-Cuba trade relations develop, what role could the railroads play? Possibly a two day seminar would satisfy the requirement for a seven day stay.
  by David Benton
I think such tours have been going on for some time , Mr Norman. Some of the You Tube videos seem to be taken on such tours. here is an example.
http://www.traintrips.biz/2013-Tours/hi ... _cuba_2013" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I don't think they would bother checking how much time is spent on the Education part of the tour, though this one obviously has high railroad content.
  by Gilbert B Norman
At another topic, Mr. Matthews reports that the French built Budd licensed equipment that was used on trains such as "Le Mistral" and "L 'Etoile du Nord" has been withdrawn by FC from service. Here is a video of this equipment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBFN882 ... e=youtu.be" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Considering that their other second and even third hand equipment coming from Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, and God knows where else, "looks mighty ratty", and that reportedly some passenger train cars are bus bodies mounted atop Flatcars, I'm surprised that likely the best built equipment on the Island has been retired.

Of course Mr. Matthews can hop on British Airways and do whatever lawful activity he wants down there; I have to find an "educational purpose" (there are rail study tours) and the "Fidelistas" will be sure I see only what they want me to see.

And who knows with the incumbent US Administration, how long that opportunity will still be available.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Here is an account of travel on the "French Train" appearing in an English language paper:

http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=103147" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair Use:
....succeeded in booking a seat on the Tren Frances (so called because the cars used on this run are old carriages purchased by Cuba from the French National Railway) from Santiago to Habana. (Fortunately, I was able to enjoy Santiago; several weeks later Hurricane–“Super Storm”– Sandy swept through, causing major damage to Santiago and surrounding areas, before heading north, where it caused additional destruction to coastal New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.)

I was told to report to the station by 6:00 p.m. for an expected departure at 7:30 p.m. Arriving at the station, I was informed that the departure had been pushed back to 9:00 p.m. Even at dusk, the interior of the large, high-ceilinged, station, a curve-roofed gare of French design, was like an oven; hence, I retreated to a bench in the surrounding park. After reading for only a few minutes, however, I began feeling sharp pricks on my ankles and legs; Cuban biting ants had decided to torment me.
Here's about the Havana Times:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havana_Times" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Gilbert B Norman
With the Trump Administration's seemingly goal of dismantling the preceeding's Domestic and Foreign policies, it comes as no surprise that a new player has been "waiting in the wings":

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/R ... -0003.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair Use:
Cuba's rail transport structure will be upgraded after several decades of deterioration due to ongoing U.S. blockade and the loss of the Soviet Union.

The island's rail transport systems, which have deteriorated since the Soviet Union's collapse, will recieve a major upgrade from Russia's railway company.
Russian Railways are moving forward with plans to sign a US$2 billion contract on a project to upgrade railroad infrastructure in Cuba later this year, the Russian News Agency reported on Thursday.

According to the company's first vice-president, the project is intended to “modernize” the Cuban railway system. This will be the most significant overhaul of Cuba's railways since the fall of the Soviet Union several decades
I'd be inclined to hold that "Vladimir The Great" and The Federation would be best served with a "Russia First" policy. With their present.venture into a Syrian civil war, they could well come out "overextended".
  by Gilbert B Norman
Here is a video in French that does give a glimpse of how the Cuban people "intertwine" with their trains:


The video depicts a society that somehow is barely getting by.

All of this reminds me of a fellow boarding school student, whose Father was a bigwig in the Batista regime. Gustavo was obviously "sent away" for his safety. I remember asking him if there were trains in Cuba. "Of course; and with Pullman cars".

Here's material of a Cuban rail tour operated by the Pullman Company: