The International Steam Pages

One fine day...  Espartaco Sugar Mill

This is one of a series of pages showing my pictures of Cuban narrow gauge steam at work in the closing years.

As I have said on the other Espartaco page (Mill 413, 2'6" gauge) this had to be my favourite of the trio of surviving narrow gauge steam mills between Santa Clara and Cienfuegos. All these pictures were taken on one glorious afternoon (5th April 2000) in the company of Roland Beier who was more than happy to let me do the dusty Safari Rally driving - a skill I had learned in Kenya some 20 years before.

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For a start, the mill was very busy with both firelesses on patio duty. This was the only time I saw Orenstein and Koppel 0-4-0F 'in steam' 1130, 05/04/00

Nearby Baldwin 0-4-0F 1131 was shunting the empties.

Steam conversion, critter 4136 was sitting around not doing very much.

We photographed two of the 2-8-0s working, firstly this was 1327 taking water in the yard.

However, the good news with the benefit of an extra hour of daylight in April was that 1329 was out at Jicotea and she would return in optimum early evening light...

At first the crew viewed our 'chase' as a challenge and since 'crash stops' tended to create unwanted dust clouds we had limited opportunities. By the time we got to Paso del Medio everything was more civilised!
The crew kindly eased off to let us past on and then put on a thunderous performance.
This was our final view of the train heading for home. We exchanged friendly waves with the crew who had obviously enjoyed our attention and went off into the sunset.

Click here for the 'Those were the days' index page.

Rob Dickinson