The International Steam Pages


Those were the days... Rafael Freyre Sugar Mill (East)

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


Rafael Freyre (Mill 635, 2'6" gauge) was the jewel in the crown of the Cuban narrow gauge with trains running though spectacular scenery in areas whose few roads were of very dubious quality. In other words, it offered unique photographic possibilities. That said, I do not think my offering does the place justice, I was either unlucky or incompetent or more likely both. The line locomotives shown here are all Baldwin 2-8-0s.


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The most famous photospot in Cuba in Cuba was the curve at Barjay. I lost track of how many times I sat waiting for an afternoon train but the best I did was the railcar on 23rd February 1996. My consolation was that I didn't miss something unique because I have seen many excellent shots taken here and I greatly enjoyed exchanging gricing tales with people like Basil Roberts during my fruitless waits. 

This was the curve with empties going out headed by 1385 on 16th March 1997 - not the greatest steam picture taken from here!.

I spent a frustrating four days here in 2000 with Roland Beier, the system was in terminal decline and the locomotives could not be relied upon to go out and back without breaking down. This was 1390 tripping to Hondura loading point on 13th April in the late afternoon - in former years it would have been here hours earlier...

My records are less than complete, but I am pretty certain that this picture of 1390 on 15th March 1997 was taken returning from a trip down the Hondura branch.

Certainly later, 1390 attempted to take a train up the bank to Altuna which proved too long for its capabilities! It was eventually split, the other half can be seen in the background...
This was timeless Rafael Freyre at its best before standards slipped. 1386 waits at Altuna with a loaded train on 22nd February 1996.
Earlier, 1386 had stormed up the bank from the loading point at Latour at almost the far east of the system. 


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


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk