The International Steam Pages
Zafra 2001 Summary
This page is a distillation of the individual reports (latest update 21st August 2001) which have been posted for the season, don't complain if you saw a loco working which is not included here, why didn't you send in a report? My thanks to the many people who contributed, every little bit helped and I look forward to the same kind of response next year! Another Zafra summary is contained in the annual illustrated Steam in Paradise report.
The loading point names will be found on the maps in World Steam and on our CD-ROM 'Zafra'. The images concentrate heavily on the 'news' items plus a few personal indulgences from my own trip, one of the perks of the job. Other photographers are acknowledged below, thanks to them.
Overall, it seems to have been an interesting season as usual. Of course, regular visitors report a continuing decline in steam activity, but with the usual sprinkling of revivals, transfers and intermill workings, most individual visitors went home very happy. Highlights of the season included the appearance of 1216 at Jesus Rabi and the hyperactivity of 1413 here (combined age of these two 219 years!!), the Cuban Black Devil 1816 at Hector Moliña, the (occasional) appearance of 1517 on a main line passenger out of Cienfuegos, 1373 and 1667 at Augusto César Sandino and 1823 on intermills at Luis Arcos Bergnes. And of course, the mere survival of steam activity in quantity in a new millennium. Low points were the (temporary) closure of Pablo de la Torriente Brau, Espartaco and Rafael Freyre and the continuing rapacious activities of crews at some mills and those visitors who encourage them. One tour operator congratulated me (and World Steam) on driving away individual bashers with descriptions of the whole Zafra turning into a money-driven circus. Well, obviously neither he nor the people who are staying away read the reports properly. The fact that I was back in 2001 enjoying good old fashioned Cuban hospitality and 'real' as opposed to 'semi-plastic' steam shows what can be done if you are a little discriminating. I am sure that most of the package tourists with their limited ambitions and desire for instant gratification were very pleased too. None of my pictures below was 'paid for', the scene would have looked exactly the same if I had not been there.
103 Eduardo García Lavendero
Mill closed again and with 1816 transferred away mid-season, there was nothing to attract visitors.
105 Augusto César Sandino
1373 and 1667 arriving from Hermanos Ameijeiras probably kept the system from collapse, certainly it is doubtful if the gauge conversion and repair of 1364 could have been completed in time. 1350 was the only 'home' loco reported. In the event, everything seemed superficially at least 'normal'. The pictures show 1373 and 1667 working in their new home.
107 Pablo de la Torriente Brau
Mill closed as predicted.
201 Amistad con los Pueblos
1303, 1803 and 1804 active, the 18xx regularly working intermills to Hector Moliña and all locos visiting the LPs. But nothing can be done to make the countryside attractive and the line accessible for more than a few shots. The picture shows 1303 on the north line near Guines.
Both pictures below from Frank Engel/Uwe Walter showing San Nicolas on the way back from Hector Moliña.
203 Hector Moliña
Another unlikely new home for 1816 which was active as often as not during March. These pictures by Roland Beier, ample compensation for missing out last year.
On shed at Hector Moliña:
Passing Hector Moliña mill:
En route Osvaldo Sánchez to Guines
Arriving at Guines
206 Manuel Isla Perez
No reports of active steam with the mill closed.
207 Gregorio Arlee Mañalich
The blue livery died (quite rightly as it looked awful when it got dirty), the replacement black looks more appropriate. 1306, 1307, 1308, 1338, 1351 and 1365 all reported active at some time with the lines to the further loading points in use. 1402 the only standard gauge performer. Still a great little system, picture is from Frank Engel/Uwe Walter showing Jicotea LP departure.
210 Osvaldo Sánchez
Mill closed as usual with 1204 (once), 1681 (once) and 1701 (frequently) reported active. 1816 was working intermills here from Hector Molina but I have few detailed reports and no sightings of 1205 working. Narrow gauge 1310 and 1347 are still here.
211 Rubén Martínez Villena
If you have $$$ to burn you can get 1112 steamed (one of the oldest steamable locos in the world), but definitely not 'working steam'. 1311 and 1702 regular power. The mill was closed and 1702 worked at least as far as Roble on intermills to 212.
212 Boris Luis Santa Coloma
1606, 1711 the only confirmed steam locos active, but did either ever haul a train in daylight?
302 Reynold García
Mill closed again. 1518 stored with 1517 on holiday in Cienfuegos for occasional passenger workings along the main line to Cruces.
No diesel here this year. 1513, 1515, 1593, 1607 and 1620 reported working as usual. The mill crews believe in 'pay as you phot', U$5 a train seems to be the going rate. Armchair gricing of real trains at its easiest on the island here. Centro Limpieza is under constructiuon near the mill and if brought into use in 2002 this will only be bad news for linesiders. Picture is from Frank Engel/Uwe Walter showing 1620 at Babujales, possibly the only working European locomotive on the island this year.
No line diesel and no working to Carlos Rojas. 1713, 1714 and 1812 all active around the mill and some way towards Jovellanos. Picture is from Frank Engel/Uwe Walter showing the mill shunt.
305 Puerto Rico Libre
Mill closed and no reports.
306 Cuba Libre
Terminal (?) decline here. 1410, 1611 and 1612 active but no steam reported in the Navajas direction. 1409 preserved next to the mill.
308 Humberto Alvarez
No news of the tourist project beyond the fact that the locomotive is still at Julio Reyes Cairo.
311 Esteban Hernadez
2 with plate Baldwin 42479 is preserved here (but 42479 is 1523 which is dumped so what loco is this?).
312 Fructroso Rodriguez
Mill still closed of course, but 1216 transferred to Jesus Rabi.
314 Jesus Rabi
One of the highlights of 2001, with 1216 (Rogers of 1895) and 1413 (Cooke of 1891) in action with 1414. Regular trips to Cirineo and Demetrio although not all visitors were lucky, with days when nothing happened. You needed patience here. The first picture (1216) is by Chris Walker, the other three (1413, 1413 again and 1414) mine.
315 Jose Smith Comas
Working normally, 1415, 1530 and 1531 confirmed active, with significant 'free enterprise' initiatives.The picture shows 1530 in a shaft of sunlight at Contreras.
319 Rene Fraga
Only 1820 working and facing the wrong way for photography.
320 Juan Avila
Only one direct report with 1721 in steam in the mill yard, 1720 also seen active.
321 Julio Reyes Cairo
No reports, mill closed.
403 Mal Tiempo
1320/1321/1322/1345/1355 working. The usual mixture of action, charters and extortion. Thank god I got here in the mid 90s.
404 Ciudad Caracas
Last year's visitors have all gone home. 1538 regularly busy, 1621 less so. Some reports of Lajas workings early in the season, but much less line work than last year.
405 Luis Arcos Bergnes
Mill closed, but 1539, 1755 and 1823 reported on regular attractive intermills through Vega Alta to Abel Santamaria. 1346 is here presumably for preservation. This is 1755 heading for Vega Alta.
409 Antonio Sánchez
Several visitors found no steam active but 1625 did make at least one outing.
412 Juan Pedro Carbó Serviá
1728 reported in steam for occasional duties around the patio.
Mill closed and 1326 used at least once on a charter train.
418 Obdulio Morales
Totally dieselised as in 2000.
424 Primero de Mayo
Mill still closed, but 1543/4/5 under repair with 1848 ex works.
427 Quintín Banderas
1547 and 1548 alternately reported on patio duty. Did anyone get a decent picture here (even visiting officially)? This is Yoshi Matsuo's grab shot!
428 Marcelo Salado
1342, 1343, 1429, 1550 variously reported. Mill closed, but regular intermills to Batalla de Santa Clara via the branch from Carolina west of Remedios.
429 José R Riquelme
Mill closed. 1645 dead. Frame (of 1750) as in previous years.
433 Marta Abreu
434 Panchito Gómez Toro
One report of 1626 at work, but few visitors get here. This is Yoshi Matsuo's shot.
435 Hermanos Ameijeiras
With only 1431 serviceable, I suspect steam was only used for tourist charters although one group reported it runing to Boca and back, I am not sure if this was 'real'.
437 Carlos Caraballo
Mill closed. 1550 at Marcelo Salado.
438 Ramón Ponciano
Charter trains were run here, one visit reported 1552 on shunts.
440 Ifrain Alfonso
Most work was done by 1635/1636/1637, with 1850 putting in a few appearances. Did anyone see 1910 working this year? As usual the crew's demands spoiled visits, but we, at least, did not get the decorated trains. And before you ask, I didn't pay for this one!
441 Diez de Octubre
1661 spare loco and used from time to time with 1638/9 arriving from George Washington, maybe for use next year...
443 Pepito Tey
1164, 1220, 1236, 1357, 1358 plus Espartaco 1329 guesting. Did anyone see 1164 move as opposed to being in steam? 1337 under heavy repair. Traffic increasingly concentrated on Limpieza, but trains on the other lines if you were patient.
446 Carlos Baliño
Mill closed, only one visit and no active steam.
448 Simón Bolivar
Mill closed, not much steam activity 1360/1363 seen active, but only on the molasses tankers. 1360 is shown below.
449 George Washington
With 1638 and 1639 going to Diez de Octubre, the chances of any steam here are tiny.
503 Orlando Gonzáles Ramirez
Locos seen working this year were 1563, 1732 (green), 1836 (in blue) and 1837. Nothing suggested it was other than 'business as usual' with very positive reports.
1461, 1564, 1578 and 1904 all reported at work on the patio and out on the line as usual. These are 1461 and prize-winning 1904.
505 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
Only one visit and no steam activity.
No reports, mill assumed closed.
At least 3 firelesses at work here (1370, 1251, 1369), security is tight for casual visitors.
515 Ciro Redondo
Only 1829 active mostly on the patio.
517 Patria o Muerte
1827 from Ciro Redondo is here allegedly for tourist trains as the mill itself is closed.
520 Noel Fernández
Only one report, no steam seen.
1742 with stretched tender was the only reported working steam here. Former stalwart 1902 is reported 'sold' to a mill down the east of the island.
601 Salvador Rosales
615 Bartolomé Masó
620 Arquimedes Colina
627 José N Figueredo
635 Rafael Freyre
Mercifully few reports of the circus trains run while the mill was closed.
637 Renulfo Leyva
Hershey Electric Railway
The 2000 report said "Extended visits in February/March found all passenger trains on the main line, the Jaruco branch and the Caraballo branch were worked by Spanish units. On the diagram from Hershey to Canasi with side working to Santa Cruz del Norte one of the old cars has survived, performing three trips a day. 3006 and 3009 were seen working the diagram.". I was here in March 2001 and saw 3008 at work as above.