The International Steam Pages


Railway Relics in Haiti 2014

Thomas Kautzor has been to several Caribbean islands to check out what is left of their railways and industrial heritage. 

For the full general index, see Railway Relics (and more) in the Caribbean,

The background to this visit is given in Thomas Kautzor's page 'Railways of Haiti' elsewhere on this site.


Thomas Kautzor was in Haiti with Torsten Schneider 26th - 28th, February 2014, he writes:

We spent 2½ days around Port-au-Prince, looking for the remains of the country’s closed railways.

Cie. Nationale des C.F. d’Haïti (CNCFH), Port-au-Prince – St. Marc – Les Verrières

At the ‘Cimenterie Nationale (CINA, http://www.cina.com.ht/)’ cement factory in Fond Mombin near Cabaret (31 km from PaP), we found plinthed 42” (1067mm) gauge 4wDE Moyse 36TDE 232/1954, new to Ciments Lafarge, Haiti. The factory opened in 1952 and the loco was used on its private siding, connected to the CNCFH line until it closed in the 1960s.

76 km along the Route Nationale 1 from PaP, between Augier and Deloge, a little way south of the Xaragua Beach Hotel, we found this railway bridge now used by farmers to access their fields.

When the railway reached the thinly-populated Cap-St-Marc, instead of cutting across the hills as the road does, it was built along the coast. At Ravine Sèche (83 km from PaP), we found this flat car, formerly used by SHADA for sisal traffic to its Montrouis factory, which closed in 1977. A cane car and another steel bridge used to be here as well, but were scrapped a few years ago. The flat car is for sale.

In St-Marc (95 km from PaP), the CNCFH station building on the main square next to the wharf and the customs office building still stands today.

From St-Marc, the railway continued inland for another 40 km to Les Verrettes to serve Standard Fruit Co. banana plantations in the fertile valley around Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite. One hundred meters north of St-Marc station, this overturned steel bridge is stuck into the riverbed. The Standard Fruit Co. warehouses north of town are still in use today.

Cie. des Chemins de fer de la Plaine du Cul-de-Sac (PCS) / Haitian American Sugar Co. (HASCO) :

PCS Baldwin 2-6-0 No. 21 (30” (762mm) gauge, Baldwin replacement boiler No. 458267) is preserved at the ‘Parc Historique de la Canne à Sucre’ in Tabarre, opposite the U.S. Embassy (http://parccanneasucre.org/ and http://parchistorique.ht/index.htm). It was moved here from the HASCO factory in 2004. The park is open daily, with the “Le Relais de Chateaublond” restaurant on site.

Also at the ‘Parc Historique de la Canne à Sucre’, this 24” (610mm) gauge diesel loco frame has a plate attached describing it as a “Décoville”, however it is most certainly U.S.-built. It might have come from one of HASCO’s narrow gauge plantation railways which connected with the 30” (762mm) main line in the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac east of Port-au-Prince.

The HASCO sugar factory, closed in 1992, sits next to the port in downtown Port-au-Prince, not far from Cité Soleil. Most of the machinery from the mill has been scrapped, but there are plans to turn the remaining buildings into a museum. These are the railway’s loco shed and workshops.

HASCO B-B DE No. 5 (Whitcomb 44-ton 61094/1951, 300 h.p.) sits at the entrance to the cane unloading facility.

HASCO B-B DE No. 6 (Whitcomb 50DE-46 44-ton 61272/1952) is stored in a small shed close to the road to Cité Soleil.

Musée Ogier-Fombrun, Moulin-sur-Mer (north of Montrouis):

This museum in a restored 18th century colonial plantation and sugar factory is part of the Moulin-sur-Mer Beach Resort (http://www.moulinsurmer.com/Museum-Ogier-Fombrun.html). It is located at Km 77 on Route Nationale 1, north of Montrouis and is open daily 10am-6pm (admission free). We found a Decauville skip with half of its “Petit-Bourg (France)” builder’s plate still attached.

For reliable transportation in Port-au-Prince, you can contact English-speaking Antony Jean at info@shuttleht.com or cell. +509 3881 6162. He knows all of the above locations. 


Rob Dickinson

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