The International Steam Pages
Steam in Cuba 2001
This file was the 'running report' for the various visits made this Zafra (first established 26th January 2001, latest update 21st August 2001. This is hard going for all but the dedicated individual gricer, you may prefer to read the fully ilustrated end-of-season summary. Another Zafra summary is contained in the annual illustrated Steam in Paradise report. See also Georg Karner's report of his Enthusiast Holidays trip (added 21st August 2001). The reports are more or less in reverse chronological order.
Not steam but Vasco de Cocq clarifies the question of whether all Hershey trains end up in Casablanca in Havana...
Reading a part of your Cuba page I came across a remark about the "new" la
Coubre station in Havana. Doubts were expressed about the Hershey trains using that
station. A picture in the German magazine Lok-Report caught my attention about this so
when I was in Havana mid-April I paid a visit to the station. In the timetable posted on
the station wall there were two trains to and from Matanzas with train numbers in the
900-series, as I recall the number series of the Hershey. My next day visit around noon
produced a Budd RDC and an ex-Barcelona emu, the last one coupled to Alcoski 71023.
Scheduled departure at 12.05 was missed by about 50 minutes but it did leave for
of course with the diesel in front. The diesel will probably have been detached when it
reached the electric line near Guanabacoa.
This is a report of the Intra-Express tour from M. Kelter:
Over the last few years a lot has been said here about dollar waving, much of it negative. This is not surprising really when most of the people who submit reports are experienced (Cuba) travellers. Ralph Mandera's report below continues that theme. However, if there are any tour operators or individuals who would like to put the opposite point of view (crews have a poor standard of living, why shouldn't we help etc) I will be happy to publish it here.
Ralph writes: "Unlike most, as a result of my younger days I decided on hitching, feet and the occasional local bus as my mode of transport. In two weeks I managed 19 mills plus 3 days in Havana and a day here and there looking at tourist sites. What this did teach me that along with a bit of Spanish being on your own and carless gets you around a few barriers (ie I only spent 10 pesos on photos which was at the first mill and I soon knew better) .I got invited out for several trips out to loading points (free) although I couldn't take them all up unfortunately. The best one I did take was a lift from Roble to R.M. Villena on 1702 (Out of interest as a spot for photos there is a bridge about 1 mile short of the mill about 100 ft long and 15 -20 ft tall which I couldn't use as I was unfortunately on the loco and it was pissing down,but I've never seen it on any photos so maybe thats of use to someone). Other highlights were 5 hours spent with the crew of 1429 at Marcelo Salado including milking a cow. Whilst here one of the engineers told me that the 2-6-2ST 1343 which was built in 1904 was originally destined for the Panama canal to work, anybody know anything. (This is a persistent story about several locos in Cuba not surprisingly except for gauge considerations. RD) Another snippet was that whilst passing Espartaco I called in luckily enough to catch 1326 being readied for a special (I left before they arrived) the driver said that they had done a couple of trips out along the line to bring locals in and out which I guess if true classifies as a passenger working. There were several other points of interest but I shan't enter in to them just to add that I found the Cubans in the countryside a great deal more friendly than those spoilt by tourism so to any idiots who believe in paying $$$$$$ for fake photos ,don't be so F#¤@?@& self centred and short-sighted."
Here is Roland Beier's report (23rd March to 9th April):
Things are improving continously in Cuba and the Peso market expands with more and more food, drinks and icecream available in the streets for local money. Cuba now assembles buses again at Guanajay (license by Mercedes-Benz) and these new buses appear in big quantities at Havana but could also be found at Ciego de Avila. The old Giron buses (license Ikarus, Hungary) are disappearing and the first camel type buses at Havana have been replaced by new articulated buses built at Guanajay.
105 A.C.Sandino (9/4)
In the afternoon 1373 and 1667 (both lettered Ameijeiras) in steam. At 1600 1373 leaves for Santa Isabel, 1667 later goes out to Varela. 1373 returns in bright evening sun with good smoke effects as usual (no money asked). Mill exepected to work until early May!
201 Amistad (26/3, 6/4)
Mill not working; 26/3: 1303 dead, 1803 leaves mill tender first at 11.30 for an
intermill to H.Molinas, 1804 serves nearby LP's
204 H.Molinas (23/3, 26/3, 6/4)
23/3: 1816 dead on shed, light rust on the wheels, so obviously had not worked for some
206 Manuel Isla Perez (6/4)
Mill not working, nearest LP in use but processed cane loaded directly onto lorries. Railway unlikely to reopen.
207 Manalich (23/3, 26/3)
23/3: 1402 shunting, only brief visit
210 O.Sanchez (23/3, 26/3)
Mill not working; 23/3: 1701 serving LP's, intermills diesel
210 B.Luis (6/4)
6/4: 1711 in steam, expected to shunt the patio in the afternoon.
211 R.M.Villena (23/3, 6/4)
Mill not working; 23/3: 1311 shunting the patio. Wagons were loaded at the nearby
Centro Limpieza and then went over the weighbridge at the mill. 1702 took a train of fulls
to Roble in the early afternoon.
303 Australia (27/3)
Visited briefly only. 1607 took a train of empties to La Juanita early in the morning (very good light). Unfortunately a new Centro Limpieza is under construction about 1 km east of the mill. It will be completed for the 2002 zafra and casts doubt on the future of the distant loading points. Mill expected to work until April 10.
304 Granma (5/4)
1713 in steam serving the LP's at Victoria de Yagajuay. Line work to distant LP's came to an end earlier in the season according to staff.
314 Jesus Rabi (27/3, 4/4, 5/4)
27/3: 1413 worked to Demetrio in the morning stopping briefly at Pedemonte station.
1414 under repairs and 1216 lit up to work in the afternoon (but I carried on).
315 J.Smith Comas (5/4)
5/4: 1530 worked in from Delirio at 1400, 1531 then left to serve the first LP (Dos Hermanos). After the return of 1531, 1530 made another trip to Delirio passing Contreras station in good light.
405 L. Arcos Bergnes (28/3, 29/3, 3/4)
Mill not working; 28/3: 1755 works to Limpieza and back to the mill in the afternoon
and then straight to Abel Santamaria.
412 J.P. Carbo Servia (30/3)
The mill has 2 diesels, one usually works the hoppers train whilst the other shares shunting duties and workings to LP with 1728. On 30/3 1728 took over from the diesel at 0900 and worked to the LP afterwards.
428 M. Salado (29/3, 3/4, 4/4)
Mill not working; 29/3: 1342 works from the mill (at around 1400) to Batalla mill via
Remedios and Carolina. Only brief stop at Remedios station.
435 H. Ameijeiras (30/3)
No steam working, 1431 dead on shed
441 10 de Octubre (28/3, 29/3, 4/4)
all days 1661 dead on shed
443 Pepito Tey (27/3, 28/3)
27/3: 1329 (lettered Espartaco) served Guasimal around 1630, 1358 arrived at the mill
at 1700 from Lajitas.
503 O.Gonzales Ramirez (30/3, 3/4)
30/3: 1837 works to Las Trozas in the afternoon, then serves Limones and
(green) served La Gloria but failed on the way back and was rescued by a diesel.
504 Ecuador (31/3, 2/4)
31/3 afternoon: 1904 line work, 1461 line work, 1578 patio
522 Venezuela (31/3, 2/4)
31/3: 1742 is on shed under repair. 1741 (green) dismantled with boiler separated from
frames and loaded on a wagon. 1902 dead.
or 1517 see Rob Dickinson's report.
Here is my report on Zafra 2001. I broke my own golden rules and went with two gricers with videos who had never been to Cuba before. Further comment would be libellous. Hi Dave, Hi John! Overall it was a very good trip, my only major disappointments being not seeing 1517 on the FCC and 1823 at work. I saw significantly fewer locos in steam this year, accounted for in part by the closures of PT Brau, Espartaco and Rafael Freyre.
105 Augusto Cesar Sandino - 18th March, 3rd April 2001
On 18th March 1373 and 1350 were in steam, but only 1373 was in use in the afternoon, working a trip out on the north line about 14.30, returning at 16.00. It went out again on the north line at 16.40 but we were tired on our first day and did not wait for the return. 1667 appeared serviceable, but none of the other locos, notably progress on converting and repairing 1364 seemed to be slowly coming towards a conclusion, but the arrival of the other two locos must have reduced the impetus. None of the other locos (1210, 1404 and 1405) looked like runners. On 3rd April we found 1373 bringing in a short train from the east LP at 15.00 (too early for photography) and 1667 next to a derailed cane car in the yard. This took a while to sort out before 1373 again went to the east LP at 16.30. Its return at 17.30 was interrupted while 1667 went out to the north, returning around 18.45. Both crews were blatantly soliciting $$ which may explain why the usual smoke was noticeably absent at photo spots, a problem I have not had here before.
201 Amistad con los Pueblos - 19th March, 2nd/3rd April 2001
The shed has had a clear out, the out of use locomotives, 1707/1712/1805 being stored next to the mill. 1106 is there too and a plinth has been prepared outside the mill offices, presumably for its mounting. 1303, 1803 and 1804 were in steam. 1303 eventually went to the loading point to the north west at around 11.30 and 1803 was scheduled for an intermill shortly after. In the event 1803 had brake pump problems and 1303 was substituted (minus caboose), picking up more fulls en route to Rio Seco. Here 37020 (designated for Eduardo Garcia Lavendero was waiting with a caboose having brought in empties. While 37020 prepared to take the fulls, 1803 appeared, presumably restored to health. 37020 then went on to Hector Molina and 1803 piloted 1303 on 20 empties back home. Genuine double headers in Cuba are rare indeed, but unfortunately the light was of the south China grey variety with occasional rain.... Having failed to find the Black Devil active on 2nd April, we were please to be told that 1804 was going out to Le Mamey in the afternoon. Unfortunately, while it was shunting the LP nearest the mill, a cane car shattered an axle box on the line out which would clearly be a lengthy job and we aborted our stay. On our way through Guines at 09.00 the next day, smoke alerted us to 1303 working out to the north-west LP, ample compensation for previous cock-ups here.
203 Hector Molina - 19th/26th March, 2nd April 2001
We had hoped to see the Black Devil 1816, but we were not allowed to approach the shed. Later we checked the station register at San Nicholas which showed that since the beginning of March, it had only worked through three times, on 3rd, 9th and 13th March. (I later met Ron Lingley who said he had seen it on 7th, 8th and 10th March too.) On the other hand, one of the Amistad 2-8-0s, either 1803 or 1804 had been through on an almost daily basis. We saw 37044 go out with empties and a caboose about 10.00, we saw it returning with fulls through Rio Seco at about 15.00. The driver of 37020 (see above) indicated 1816 was still at the mill - the last working in the register had been inbound. Roland Beier found 1816 westbound on 26th March to Guines and Osvaldo Sanchez. It spent most of the afternoon running between the latter two points for testing. On 2nd April, station staff at San Nicholas contacted traffico at the mill at 14.00 and were told there were some problems with the loco, later we saw 37044 at Osvaldo Sanchez with the intermill. Some people have all the luck but at least I saw it in red working last year.
207 Gregorio Arlee Manalich - 18th March, 2nd/3rd/4th April 2001
18th March was a Sunday morning and rather quiet. 1402 was shunting the hoppers, 1308 was on patio duty. 1338 was also in steam on shed and when it came off shed at 10.00, 1308 did a trip to the nearby loading point. On shed, 1306, 1307, 1351 and 1365 looked to be runners. 1510 (dismantled), 1704 and 1806 were clearly not in use this year. On 2nd April in the afternoon, 1306 was patio pilot and 1351 in steam on shed. 1402 did a little bit of shunting and 1308 tripped to Bariay LP behind the mill and the first LP out, the whole performance ruined by a persistent stream of cloud, crowning a succession of disasters which befell us all day. Next morning the mill appeared to be down with cane everywhere. So 1338 on pilot and 1308 on standby in the yard had no work. Eventually 1365 appeared off shed and took empties out to Jicotea, but you can draw your own conclusions about the photographic possibilities of a 12.00 return, although it was nice to see a loco on the line again. 4th April is children's day and we were delayed getting out of Havana, just enough to miss 1308 coming in to the yard at 09.00. 1365 then went out to Jicotea and Ciro Redondo at 09.30, returning by 11.30. A nice finale but the sun was too high for classic shots.
210 Osvaldo Sanchez - 18th/19th March, 2nd April 2001
We stopped by briefly, cane was being loaded, but on both March occasions, the only loco we could see in steam was one of the standard gauge tender locos. Not a place to loiter if nothing is happening. On 2nd April, 37044 from Hector Molina was at the west LP at 18.00 substituting for the Black Devil.
212 Boris Luis Santa Columa - 2nd April 2001
At 18.30, 1606 was in light steam outside the shed, next to it were diesels 51031 and a 38xxx.In other words, not worth a return trip the next day.
303 Australia - 21st/22nd/23rd/24th March 2001
A plinthing area has been prepared next to the museum. We did not attempt to lineside in the morning after 2 days rain. 1513 and 1515 were in steam on shed. In the afternoon they had been joined by 1593 which then went on to the patio as pilot. We tracked down and chased 1607 on fulls from Apodaca LP, crossing 1515 on empties at La Juanita. 1515 left its empties there and went light engine across the Autopista at 17.00, 1607 getting home around 17.15. 1607 worked out afternoon empties on 22nd March but probably did not return till the early evening. 1607 worked the early morning empties (07.00 departure) on 23rd March,coming back at 11.15. After a break at Jesus Rabi, we found 1513 crossing the Autopista at 16.00 and chased it on to Murga, crossing 1607 on outbound empties. (Taken with our trip to Jesus Rabi this was a very good day.....) On 24th March we found 1607 at the far end of the line at 07.45 - it must have left the mill around dawn. That was the end of our visit here - given the hassle factor, I would have spent a lot less time if I wasn't with a first time visitor.
304 Granma - 20th March 2001
After a morning looking at the Hershey, we spent the early afternoon here. 1714 and 1812 were in steam. The former did nothing, the latter was quite active and the crew said that they would go out some 8km 'later', but the Carlos Rojas operation was 'finished'. We left to avoid the rain.
306 Cuba Libre - 20th March 2001
Disappointing as others have found. 1611 was yard pilot and 1612 was in steam outside the shed. 1410 was cold but recently used and 1808 looked awful round the side in a pink livery. 1409 has been tastefully stuffed and mounted on the west side of the mill.
314 Jesus Rabi - 21st/22nd/23rd/24th March 2001
The mill was broken down on 21st March and 1216 was warm with 1413 and 1414 cold. The next day at 08.15 1216 had been turned to face the same way as the other locomotives and was warm and being repaired. 1414 was in light steam and 1413 had already gone out to Demetrio LP. We caught it coming back through Cespedes, tender first as usual and chased it home. In the afternoon 1216 shunted around the patio and 1413 worked a train back from Cirineo LP, south of Calimete. There was no early morning steam activity on March 23rd. We came back at 13.30 to find 1413 on the same duty as the previous day. Departure was at 14.00 and by the time it arrived back at the mill at 15.15 we had 6 shots in the bag, today there were only 2 gricers present, the previous day there had been 18.... On 24th March, at 08.30 all locomotives were in the shed area with no prospect of activity. We returned at 13.30, by which time 1414 was out at Cirineo. We chased it back along the road to Calimete, but by the time we got back to the mill, 1413 was already on its way to Demetrio LP. We photographed it beyond Cespedes but then had to leave for pastures new. As always JR was a mixture of the totally frustrating and the excellent.
315 Jose Smith Comas - 1st/2nd April 2001
On the first visit, we found 1530 coming though Santa Rosa LP (which was closed) at 17.30 and chased it to the mill. Almost immediately 1531 left on empties for the first LP. It would have been a great quick visit were it not for the clouds in the sky and the crew of 1531 who asked for U$2 to reverse the train into Progresso station and out again. Who has polluted this place? From the angle of 1530's smoke in the distance I think it quite possible it had been servicing one of the Julio Reyes Cairo LPs but this is pure conjecture. The next day the crews had suggested a 09.30 outbound empties, which turned out to be 1530 at 11.30, after which we left immediately.
319 Rene Fraga - 22nd/24th March 2001
1820 was sitting in steam outside the mill as usual at 10.00 on 22nd March, facing east instead of the the traditional west here. On 24th March at 09.30 we saw the loco propel empties to one loading point, this suggests that conventional photography here is no longer possible. We took the opportunity to briefly inspect the stationary engines in the mill. The main one was a Hamilton-Corliss machine built in the USA (my memory fails me, it said something like Hoover-Ovens-Rentscheler on it), said by the delighted engineer to be 85 years old and 56 rpm. The second smaller one was another Corliss built by the Fulton Iron Works in St. Louis, Missouri. Does anyone have more information on similar machinery in the mills here?
403 Mal Tiempo - 26th March 2001
The circus was in full swing. At 14.00 on shed, 1320 and 1345 were in steam, 1322 and 1355 were cold. 1321 was out on the line with a caboose full of tourists which we found near Oliva. We did not stay long.
404 Ciudad Caracas - 25th March 2001
At 14.30, 1538 was actively shunting the patio. 1621 was in steam on shed, having recovered from what appeared to be a nasty incident involving a cylinder... The traffic office said there would be no train to Lajas today or tomorrow, but maybe the next day.
405 Luis Arcos Bergnes - 28th/29th March 2001
Not much going on in the morning although staff said that 1823 was at Abel Santamaria and would return later in the day and 1755 was in steam. Later when we returned at 15.00 we found 1755 going out to Limpieza with empties. It took fulls to the mill at around 16.00, did some shunting and continued to Vega Alta and Abel Santamaria. This was done without visiting the northern LP (to deliver empties and collect fulls) which it had done the previous day. It is possible that this duty had been covered by 1823 which had apparently returned. Roland Beier revisited the next day, saw a similar pattern and said he thought there were probably two trips most days.
409 Antonio Sanchez - 21st March 2001
No sign of steam life either from the locomotives or the mill. There was no cane on site and diesels were doing some shunting of the empties. No doubt affected by 2 days of rain.
412 Juan Pedro Carbo Servia - 29th/30th March 2001
1728 in steam to shunt the patio in the morning, then propel empties to the first LP. Nice to see the loco turn a wheel after two failed attempts in 2000. Roland Beier found much the same when he visited the next day.
418 Obdulio Morales - 28th March 2001
See 448 Simón Bolivar
427 Quintin Banderas - 1st April 2001
1548 on patio, nose to cane cars. I was thrown out of the yard within 30 seconds of poking my head over the parapet. In any case unphotographable as it was 12.00 and cloudy and a north wind.
428 Marcelo Salado - 28th/29th March 2001
Station staff at Remedios said there had been no trains for several days because there was a problem at the mill (Batalla de Santa Clara). At Marcelo Salado, the reported active locos (1343, 1429, 1550) were clearly cold and we did not hang about. Tim Murray saw 1429 run a trip to Caibarien the day before our visit. On 29th March Roland Beier saw 1342 working a transfer train west mid-morning and found the crew very co-operative without a hint of demand for money.
429 José R Riquelme 1st April 2001
Mill closed, 1645 dead. Frame of 1750 as in previous years.
434 Panchito Gomez Toro - 1st April 2001
1626 dead on shed but obviously a runner.
435 Hermanos Ameijeiras - 30th March 2001
We didn't visit but Roland Beier did and reported that 1431 had seen no recent use.
440 Ifrain Alfonso - 24th/25th/26th March 2001
We arrived at the Autopista crossing at 16.15 on 24th March, with about a minute to spare before 1637 charged across. We got it again just after it crossed the Ranchuela road and I am pleased to say that the crew just returned our waves... On the other hand 1635's crew running an hour later the next day (after the clocks changed) were back to 'normal'. We then found 1636 running up and down the yard doing tricks for a couple of gricers in a yellow car who were not old enough to know better. On 26th March, 1850 was on the afternoon working from Pozo at the same time, we spent the next half hour dodging their attentions.
441 Diez de Octubre - 27th March 2001
I didn't visit, but Tim Murray was here in the middle of the day and reported that 1661 substituted successfully for a failed diesel.
443 Pepito Tey - 25th/26th/27th/28th March 2001
It being a Sunday and the clocks changing we did not expect too much. At 09.00 we found 1329, 1357 and 1358 in steam on shed, with 1220 dormant in the yard. 1236 and 1164 were cold and 1337 under heavy repair. By 09.30 1220 had burst into life to do some some shunting and shortly afterwards 1357 took some empties up the main drag to Limpieza LP. Just fast enough to give good effects but not so fast that we couldn't get half a dozen nice shots in excellent light. The mill itself was taking a siesta, a quick look at the machinery suggested it was steam turbine operated, a shame as this would have made a great heritage mill if it had stationary steam engines. My first time visitor was positively orgasmic. I heard later that what was probably the last train of the day ran in off the back line by about 15.00. The next day 1358 took a train up to Limpieza at 10.00 and that was all that happened by 11.00, the mill itself looking dead. At the end of the day at 18.00, 1329 worked in off the south line and in the very last knockings of the light, 1358 worked to Limpieza. Duties were clearly being rotated because on our last day, 1329 worked the early morning train at 09.30 to Limpieza. In the late afternoon, 1358 worked the south line arriving at the mill just before 17.00, 1329 having worked the quarry line half an hour earlier. Roland Beier found 1329 on the first train to Limpieza as late as 11.00 on 28th March. This has got to be one of the great real narrow gauge steam systems in the world today (ranking on a par with Weihe, Zhanhe, Olean and Trangkil).
448 Simón Bolivar - 28th March 2001
As we passed Obdulio Morales on the main road at 11.00, a large plume of black smoke announced the presence of a steam locomotive which turned out to be 1360 collecting molasses into tankers. It then propelled them back home. Here they were pushed over the weighbridge, before the loco ran around the train on the wye and propelled the tankers down the line beside the shed to the factory 500m north of the mill. Unloading was likely to take a while so we moved on.
503 Orlando Gonzalez Ramirez - 29th/30th/31st March 2001
1563 in steam on shed and blue 1836 ready to go to La Gloria at 15.00, other locos cold. We followed it out, the crew were as friendly as ever, and chased it back a little too early for my liking (16.30 is fine before the clocks change but not after). We bought the crew a beer each which was appreciated. Fortunately, last year's photographs had arrived safely. Roland Beier found 1732 and 1837 at work on 30th March, covering all the branches of the system. On 31st March, 1732 left Limones at 16.30 picking up en route (but not going to La Trojas). There was just time to turn round and catch 1837 at Cabrera coming in from La Gloria. Pretty good as usual.
504 Ecuador - 30th/31st March 2001
On the first day, 1564 spent its time on the patio. 1461 went to the LPs north-east of the mill in the late morning and apparently did a trip to Colorado at midday (we were being entertained royally by some family friends in Baragua then). In the late afternoon it worked to Guisa LP before abandoning its fulls and heading towards Merino LP at sunset. 1904 certainly worked the Sagua LP in the late afternoon, I am not sure if it had worked an earlier trip although it had not left the shed by 11.00. The 'main' lines here appear to be in quite good condition but the branches are in a quite appalling state which limits speed and hence loco performance. The next morning was very quiet, 1564 was shuffling round the patio and 1904 finally made it to Sagua LP around midday. Roland Beier was here in the afternoon and found 1578 on patio and 1461 and 1904 on line work and back to the mill by 18.00. Hope you enjoyed your Spanish lesson, Roland.
The regular steam passenger seems to have died. We were told that 'a French tour group' might hire the train on March 27th. In practice, 1517 was in steam at the station at 08.00 and staff were keen to hire the train to allcomers. A group of 8 of us agreed to run the train to Palmira in the afternoon, but in the event it was not possible (pathing problems were quoted) and the loco and three coaches were run up and down the yard for free for half an hour - staff were genuinely embarrassed by the cancellation.. There are real openings for enterprising tour operators in Cuba if they are willing and able to spend the time developing contacts.
This is a brief summary of visit by Tim Murray and group between 17th and 31st March 2001.
Tim comments: Only about half of the time spent in CUBA was on gricing. In general, a number of mills have been completely spoilt by groups who are not content with observing normal operations but wish to arrange their normal 'plastic photos' with run pasts at the 'right place' at the 'right time'. These have degraded into a 'circus' but when you realise how much a dollar is worth to the crew you can understand how quickly the crews are keen to ensure that they receive payment. It is a pity as it means that, at these mills, it is almost impossible to take a 'normal' photograph. The mills that we saw that are now afflicted by this are R M Villena, Pepito Tey; Ifrain Alfonso; Mal Tiempo; Australia.
Fortunately there are plenty of other mills that are not affected, so far, and these are the ones that are best visited independently. With the number of organised trips going to Cuba I wonder how long this will continue.
I have only added the days where we were separate from Rob as his report covers some visits where we were at the mills simultaneously.
Sunday 18th March
R M Villena
1702 left mill at about 1.30pm with fulls to Pozo crossing where it exchanged them with a diesel.
1413 on empties late afternoon, 1216 shunting around mill area, 1414 in steam on shed
Monday 19th March
1538 and 1621 working in mill area
1635 on fulls in morning chased by a group of 4 car loads!
Tuesday 20th March
Orlando Gonzale Ramirez
1563 shunting on patio, 1732 coming back to mill on fulls late afternoon
Wednesday 21st March
2-8-0 on empties out from mill late morning
Orlando Gonzalez Ramirez
1563 on fulls run from Limones late afternoon.
Monday 26th March
No line work but 1429 went to Caibarien to shunt wagons at mid morning
Luis Arcos Bergnes
1823 on inter-mill late afternoon (did not leave Vega Alta until 18.30)
Thursday 29th March
Afternoon at Osvaldo Sanchez 1701 shunting, diesel on intermill to Hector Molina
Then visited Hector Molina and found 1804 leaving on empties which we chased all the way back to Amistad con Los pueblos late afternoon.
Friday 30th March
1701 on patio, 1816 departed on fulls at 17,30 to Guines. It then turned on the triangle at Guines and took its train onto Hector Molina at 18.30.
This is Donald Bell's report of a private trip with E Talbot.
Airfare BA 777 Gatwick-Havana £370.
Hotels. Havana Panamericano. Jaguay. Casa Particular $33 DBBCienfuegos: Rancho Luno $20 B/B (built as a Russian Navy rest camp. Food,service and building would make them feel at home). Santa Clara: Casa Particular $33 DBB. Remedios: Mascotte $38 Double B/B (excellent) Ciego :hotel Ciego $24 Double B/B. Much improved since 99
Car: Daewoo Maritz through Havanatours, Potters Bar (Havanautos) Only one puncture. Spare replaced by a decent one at Cienfuegos. 2nd gear would not engage.
Weather was not as good as last two years, with several overcast days and two afternoons of rain. Loadings did not seem as high as last year, though this may have been due to nearing the season's end. All wheel arrangements and works numbers (where noted) agreed with IRS book (2 ed)
105 AC Sandino 15/3 (cloudy/light rain) 1350 in steam. 1667 (AH) arrived 1400 from N line 1373 (AH) 1405 + 2 others on shed. Tender 1364 (O Sanchez) dump
109 Orlando Nordase (closed). 3 bogie ng diesels dumped
207 Manalich 15/3 sg 1402 shunting till 1030, then to shed ng 1307 1308 shunting. 1351 to far LPs 1100, back by 1600 1308 to Near Lp South 1630, returned 1715
211 Villena. (Mill closed) 16/3 1311 shunt Patio and LP to West end. 1702 (faced W) in steam for 1200 work to Roble crossing (to Boris)
212 Boris. 16/3 1606 steam at shed. 1711 on shed. Diesel 51031 arr 1100 from North line
303 Australia. Mill has been tidied up, locos repainted and even the Bay ofPigs aircraft wreck has had new Al paint applied. New LP built about 500m from mill but not yet in use. No diesel for line work 240 ic 1420 painted red/yellow and used pw train. Staff less aggressive and more helpful than last year. Usually three trains/day leaving 0700/1000/1500, returning c 1200/1700/2000. No work seen beyond km 24, but locos go further to turn. 16/3 1513 arr Mill 1700. 1607 @ km 24 1600 17/3 1593 yard shunt (Nike logo) 1607 dep 0645. 1513 in steam 18/3 1513 dep 0800. 1515/1593 in steam 27/3 1515 dep mill 1500. Crossed 1607 (arr mill 1700)@km 13 1600, 1593 shunt 28/3 1607 dep 0700 (dark after hour change) 1513 steam 1515 cold 1620 on shed. 1716 Repairs
304 Granma 16/3. 1713 1714 in steam. Diesel 4112 working in Mill
314 Jesus Rabi 17/3. 1216 (ex Mill 312) working with Molasses tankers am 1414 Yard shunt/LP to North of mill. 1413 on shed. 1810 repairs Diesels 37015/39005 working
318 Victoria de Yaguajay (not working). 1812 on shed others OOU
403 Mal Tiempo 20/3. 1345 dep Potrerillo 1500 +12. Added 8 @ Oliva. stalled twice. 1322 came from Mill to doublehead last km (nose to nose). 22/3 @1030 1322 1345 on shed 1321 yard shunt. 1355 on Tourist train. 23/3 1345 dep Potrerillo 1500. split load by battle monument arrived mill 1700. 1320 in steam 1321 yard shunt 1322 on shed with 1355 (clean for tourist train), 1221 repairs
404 Cuidad Caracas 22/3. 1621 in steam on shed @1100. 1538 yard shunt Diesels 37088/38217 working. 1724 1725 +2-6-0 frames dumped
405 LA Bergnes (Mill closed cane railed to 407 Santa Maria) 23/3 Loading point was especially interesting with cane arriving by truck, tractor and ox cart. Single carts hauled by spans of 10 and double loads with 12. The rear pair dig in to act as brakes, an awkward job when going downhill. 1823 (Quentin Banderas) worked to LP 1030 and again @ 1200. Due to take loads to mill 407 @1600. 0-6-0ST 1346 (ex mill 447) OOU at mill, probably to be preserved by main road turn (track has been laid). 1539 1541 1755 + 1 other loco on shed. 39006 arr ex 407 with empties 1145. Minaz diesel on hoppers to SW on FCC line
428 Marcelo Salado 24/3 (mill closed -cane is railed elsewhere) 'No cane, no working' this Saturday. 1343 in steam 1429* shunting. dep LE Caiberien 1100. 1342* 1550* on shed 1426 1549 repairs. * These three faced South
433 Marta Abreu. Mill closed, cane railed to 440. Fireless 1239 present
435 Hermanos Ameijeiras 25/3. No steam in yard. One Brush diesel working in yard, 2 others by shed.
440 Ifrain Alfonso. Crews mercenary but helpful. The driver of 1637 in particular was very competent and cooperative. Usually three trains per day returning to mill 1200/1500/1830. Some long delays at FCC junction. One diesel and one steam empties headed down FCC toward Ranchuello, but as that station was blocked by other traffic probably turned SE towards Oswaldo Herrera. Loading point N of Cruces/Ranchuello road was very busy. 20/3. 1637 Yard shunt@1700. 1635 1636 1850 1910 present 21/3. No am train. 1637 to Pozo 1330 return 1630. 1850 + caboose to Pozo 1630 return 1830. Diesel empties toward Ranch. 1330 22/3 1635 first train. 1637 2nd/3rd. 1635 toward Ranch. 1600 with empties. 1636 in steam. 23/3 1637 dep Pozo 1700
441 10th October. Che Portrait has been removed. 22/3 1661, clean in black/red with exhibition lettering in steam but no work 1818 OOU. 1638 1639 (both George Washington) OOU but thought to be for repair and use here in 2002.
442 Hector Rodrigues. Went here to collect a consignment of Tomato sauce So far as I know the mill has not been converted to work for Heinz No steam seen. Diesels 34051 37048 37165 in yard 20/3
443 Pepito Tey. 18/3 1220 Patio shunt. 1239 (Espartaco) in steam 1164 1236 1357 on shed 1 loco OOU. 1337 repairs. 1358 worked Quarry line @1600. Good hard climb with load to Quarry summit (T/F) 19/3 1358 to Quarry line 0830. 1357 to Cement line 0900 20/3 1358 to Cement branch 0830. 1329 due to work later. No traffic seen on back branch, but did not stay 1000-1600
503 OGR 25/3 1836 (Blue) arr from Limones @ 1515 then shunted tanks 1563 shunting. dep to Limones @1545, returning @1915 (with change of hour this day it was still light) Any attempt at more than a steady plod with 12 loads resulted in slipping. Green 4-6-0 · 1 other loco on shed 38008 shunting yard. LP to north of mill was busy but no loco was seen there. 26/3 1563 arr from S @1500 (rained hard this afternoon)
515 Ciro Redondo. No action at mill 0930-1100 26/3. 1832 1834 + 3 others dumped at shed. 1829 (dark green) and 38026 on shed. on FCC line (Pina station) 50909 + 3 Budd cars+2 box coaches headed to Moron 1000. On 27/3 a working Budd car S @ Ciego 0900
FCC Cienfuegos. 1517 (Raynold Garcia) was here for working passenger train to Cruces/Esperanza. Was not seen working while we were in the area. Probably more a charter operation on a scheduled service rather than a regular working.
This is Bernard Junk's report (added 6th April 2001).
Saturday 03 March 2001
C.A. Manalich 
1306, 1351 and1365 refilling water before doing line and shunting work
On afternoon at railway crossing at Roble:
Exchange of an empty train from Santa Coloma  pulled by a diesel engine and a loaded train from Ruben Martinez Villena  pulled by 1702. Quite interesting shunting manoeuvres on triangle.
Sunday 04 March 2001
C.A. Sandino 
Mill is not working on that particular day. Reason unknown. In shed 1373 and 1667 are visible, coming from Hermanos Ameijeiras 
Tuesday 06 March 2001
C.A. José Smith Comas 
1415 is doing line work to closest loading point.
C.A. Esteban Hernadez 
No steam for many years years. 2 as monument in front of mill ( Manufacture plate Badwin no. 42479 ) (This plate is off 1523, so maybe this is 1616. RD)
3 dumped steam engines (1225, 1522 and 1523) beside the shed.
C.A. Cuba Libre 
1410 shunting and line work to first loading point. 1409 as monument next to mill.
Wednesday 07 March 2001
C.A. Cuba Libre 
1611 is doing line work
C.A. Jesus Rabi 
1413 under steam and next to shop. 1529 and 1810 in shop. 1216 (dating from 1895 and formerly in use at Fructuoso Rodriguez ) shunting tank cars with molasses. 1414 doing line work.
Thursday 08 March 2001
C.A. Guillermo Mondaca 
C.A: Pepito Tey 
1220 shunting, is used only as shunting engine and never leaves the mill area. 1358 is doing line work to the closest loading point. 1329 is doing line work to the loading point "Lajitas". 1329 is usually based in Espartaco , but is this year in Pepito Tey to help as Espartaco is not working in 2001. 1164 and 1357 in steam in front of shop. 1236 and 1337 inside shed under repair. 1165 dumped next to shop.
Friday 09 March 2001
C.A. Pepito Tey 
1358 is doing line work to the loading point "Lajitas". 1329 is doing line work to the closest loading point.
Saturday 10 March 2001
C.A. Ifrain Alfonso 
1850 is doing line work and 1636 is shunting. 1635, 1637 and 1910 in shed.
Sunday 11 March 2001
C.A. Ifrain Alfonso 
1635 is doing line work.
C.A. Cuidad Caracas 
1621 is shunting
Report of Cuba Tour 26th Feb - 12th March 2001
The party consisted of Terry Bagworth, Dave Fleming, Graham Hoare, Blake Paterson.
Monday 26th February
Air France 747 flight AF3672 from Paris was full but effectively on time at Havana and after nearly an hour queuing to get through Immigration we were out and hiring a Daihatsu Tereos for the 13 days of the trip. Arrival at the hotel was at approx 2300.
Tuesday 27th February
After some admin requirements to confirm the hotel reservations for the tour we were off to:-
Abraham Lincoln briefly to check if 1816 had worked in, 3 diesels present. Thence to:-
Eduard Garcia Lavandero
Mill not working and only 1816 was present, greased up outside and showing no evidence of recent use. Staff said would be used "mañana".
Augusto César Sandino 3ft
Visited 1330 -1720. 1373 worked in off the south line and 1667 off the north line. Mill busy from 1400 ish when the afternoon started. Two locos in steam, shed otherwise full. Mill revisited on 11th March 1200 - 1630 when the same two locos were working. Did not have shed visits on either day.
Orlando Nodarse 2ft 6in
We went past on both days and found the rails rusty and no signs of life in either railway or mill. The 3 diesels were dumped near the road.
Weds 28th February
Gregorio Arlee Mañalich
Visited 0945 - 1230. Not as busy as previous years. 1402 did some SG shunts but no line work. Locos generally clean but no shed visit attempted. 1402, 1338 and 1351 working
Called in at Manuel Isla Perez and Palos FCC station, no activity and the station staff said that nothing was coming through this year. Did not attempt a shed visit at the mill.
Manuel Isla Perez
1107 plinthed at mill entrance)
Visited 1515 - sundown finish. 1513 went out on empties at 1700. We enjoyed the shunts with 1593. Revisited Thu 1st March for most of the day and again on Friday 2nd March from 1550 - finish. The furthest copio at San Ramon is out of use this year, we went as far as Apodaca copio. Generally attempts were made at soliciting bribes from the crews especially away from the mill and shed. Some non-cooperation as a result.
1314 (may be for plinthing as the surrounding undergrowth has been cleared)
1513, 1515, 1593, 1607 all working
Friday 2nd March
Passed by at 0930, one loco visible. No mill activity. Passed again on Sat 10th March when the cab off 1517 was seen (this is the loco reported working the Cienfuegos passenger train.) 1518 present
Visited 1010 - 1030, no action at the time. Work on the locos in the shed did not appear to be going with any energy from the staff. Revisited 0915 - 1130 on Saturday 10th, see below. 1216 and 1413 working.
Visited 1045 - 1415. Shed area much tidier than earlier years, but a sad place with little activity, just 1820 in steam
Thence back to Australia, at around 1700 where we witnessed a serious fracas at La Juanita between a car group of Germans and a Steam & Safaris Tour party. This resulted in a near crash between a photo line waiting for 1607 and the car group. Potentially very nasty.
A real surprise was seeing the steam/diesel conversion out on line work with ballast wagons and we photographed it going over the autopista crossing.
Saturday 3rd March
Primero de Mayo
Visited 0945 - 1000, mill closed and no activity, 1848 in ex-works condition)
We had a shed visit in the afternoon and saw 1850 with the right hand piston head shattered in pieces on the floor. The incident occurred during w/e 24th Feb. We saw 1637 working back at approx 1430. We returned at last light.
Diez de Octubre
We visited briefly around 1500 in the afternoon, 1661 looks very good and had seen recent use. Two locos (1638 dumped and 1639 overhaul) have moved in from G.Washington. Entry to shed not allowed.
Sunday 4th March
Further visits to Ifrain. We got shots of 1635 in the lake area in the morning. The shed visit was good as we saw a new piston head for 1850 being machined in the workshop. Further afternoon visit. Generally some attempts at soliciting bribes from the crews especially away from the mill and shed.
Visited 1545 - 1645, very good visit with two locos (1538 and 1621) hard at work outside the mill.
We looked in at around 1700, mill closed in 2001, 1239 out in open.
Monday 5th March
Attempt to get to Pepito Tey with an early start at 0620, we had car problems and spent the morning at Espartaco waiting to have them sorted out. Whilst we were there, there was no sign or sound of a steam hauled train on the nearby FCC main line as seen by others. Informal visit to Espartaco shed where the staff said they had a special booked for a tour party on Friday 9th March.
Mill closed for season.
Visited 1120 - 1800, less a lunchtime visit to Cienfuegos, mill busy with a train up to the quarry line copio in the afternoon. Whilst we were watching this a train worked out on the west line. 1329 is here on loan for this season.
1164 in steam, 1329 and 1358 working
Tuesday 6th March
Passing the road junction leading down to Luis Arcos Bergnes where we noted an empty plinth waiting for a loco.
We arrived at 1010, via Remedios station, shed visit via back entrance and were seen off reasonably quickly after an inspection. 1343 was being prepared to go to Caibarien docks to shunt. We followed and saw it there, it returned around 1430. 1550 is here on loan in this year. The mill is closed and the loaded cane is taken to Carolina and from there roaded to somewhere in the Santa Clara area for milling. Totally illogical. We had some begging attempts especially when anyone of us split from the other three. We got a shot of a train with 1550 out chimney first alongside the main road in the afternoon.
Then via Simón Bolivar to Moron for three nights.
We looked in around 1715, the mill and shed looked very dead, no signs of life at all. Later the tracks at Centeno looked quite rusty.
Wednesday 7th March
Orlando González Ramirez
Visited 1000 - 1400. No shed visit allowed, not too much activity. Five locos visible, other two were deep inside the shed. We chased a morning train to Portillo copio and back. We revisited 1210 - finish on Thursday 8th March. We had shots in the streets at Limones Palmero and Los Trozas and a chase in from Cabrera with 1836.
1563, 1732, 1836 working and 1837 in steam
Visited 1500 approx to 1720. No locos visible in steam. Yard/ mill very busy with several diesels working hard on shunts.
Thursday 8th March
Visited 0945 - 1115, good look round shed and yard area but not allowed into shed. We had good results with 1461 on the oil tank shunt, 1564 as pilot, 1578 and 1904 in steam. We returned to Orlando, see above.
Friday 9th March
Visited 0830 - 0930, tour party expected for a special at 0900 so we waited, nothing happened, nobody turned up and the loco (1829) went back for fuel and water.
We drove west and missed the turn to Fomento to visit Ramón Ponciano, we continued and found a train at Ifrain. To our surprise 1850 was back working after the repairs to the right hand piston head.
Visited approx 1500 - 1630. 1625 had to be assisted by diesel when moving loaded wagons, it managed the weighbridge shunts, it was by far the filthiest loco seen in the whole two week trip.
Saturday 10th March
Passed Reynold Garcia and saw 1518, and pieces of 1517. Thence to Jesus Rabi for 0915 - 1130. We were very lucky getting 1216 and 1439 (???? 1413 or 1414 surely RD) both at work, 1216 was handling 7 loaded cane wagons over the weighbridge.
José Smith Comas Std
Visited 1335 - 1600, busy shortly after we arrived and 1415 has been turned so that it faces the mill. It worked out around 1330 to the first copio, after it worked back 1530 got ready to work out to Delirio. The station at Contreras is again overgrown and no photograph was possible there. (It had been cleared by March RD)
We then drove back to Havana and found the hotel fairly easily.
Sunday 11th March
After a poor night in the hotel we drove back to A.C.Sandino and again had a busy afternoon with 1373 and 1667 both working well.
After a shower & change at the hotel we went out to the airport and handed back the car. The Air France 747-200 on flight AF3671 was totally full but left more or less on time at 2315.
Monday 11th March
After our change in Paris we arrived on AF2070 at London Heathrow at 1710 on time on a fairly empty 737. Journey's end.
I have been sent a copy of the Dorridge Travel Group visit by the organiser David Ibbotson. It is 'non-electronic' so it won't appear here in complete form. Basically, it agrees with the reports below. Points worthy of note include:
Trip by AW Beard and PAG Michie. Full report to follow.
Most fans report 1816 well greased and stored. But, loco worked light engine past Manalich at 16.27 on 3.3 (pausing briefly at FC Melena) presumably en-route to a charter assignment. Smart black paint job with silver relief. FC markings. We now know that this loco was apparently en route to Hector Molina mill
15.2: 1350 line work, Ameijeiras' 1667 departmental duties
15.2: 1303 pilot, 1803 line work
15.2: 1338 pilot, 1351 line work to adjacent LP, 1365 line work to fields
210 O. SANCHEZ
15.2: 1701 in steam
16.2: 1606 and 1711 dead, 1756 repairs
17.2: 1513 1st and 3rd train, 1593 pilot, 1607 2nd train 1.3: 1513 2nd train pm, 1593
pilot, 1607 1st train pm 2.3: 1515 1st and 3rd train, 1593 pilot, 1607 2nd train (and
freshly cleaned too)
314 JESUS RABI
1.3: 1216 warm, 1413 used recently, 1414 warm and lit up at 11.00 (for pm line run?)
319 RENE FRAGA
2.3: 1820 pilot
403 MAL TEMPO
19.2: No line action am. 1322 1st train pm, 1345 2nd train pm. 1320 pilot 26.2: No line action am. 1322 1st train pm, 1321 2nd train pm. Pilot?
19.2: 1621 pilot
20.2: 1755 line work
409 A. SANCHEZ
1.3: 1625 pilot and trips to adjacent LP
412 CARBO SERVIA
25.2: 1728 in steam (pilot am?)
27.2: 1326 warm (supershine condition), used on Dorridge Travel charter earlier. 1327/8 and fireless 1130/1 on locked-up shed in various states. (Mill closed this year of course). Also see Pepito Tey below
1.3: 1543/4/5 under overhaul. 1848 ex-works. (Mill closed of course)
Not visited. See Bergnes above
20.2: 1342 line work as far as Remedios.
Caraballo' 1550 beyond there to other LPs and
Batalla Santa Clara mill via a new connection
24.2: 1431 warm, used yesterday on Steam & Safaris charter
Not visited. See Salado above
18.2: 1635 moves am within shed area, 1636 1st and 2nd train, 1637 pilot 19.2: 1635 in steam, 1636 1st and 2nd train, 1637 pilot 26.2: 1636 2nd train, 1637 in steam, 1850 1st and 3rd? train (2.3: 1637 reported on 1st train today)
19.2: 1661 visits Ifrain at noon for fuel. Arrives light engine, returns towed by
443 PEPITO TEY
27.2: 1236 pilot, Espartaco' 1329 off shed at 17.00, 1357/8 line work
21.2: 1360 in steam (diabolical condition). No line work today
503 ORLANDO GONZALEZ
22.2: 1563 in steam, green 1732 line work, blue 1836 line work
22.2: 1461 yard pilot then line work, 1564 pilot, 1578 in steam, 1904 in steam
515 CIRO REDONDO
24.2: 1829 line work
24.2: 1742 in steam (on line work am?)
Most locos particularly smart this year (Bolivar, Caracas, A Sanchez and Sandino being exceptions). Some new and well considered paint schemes too. Chime tones vary quite noticeably. Most locos within any given mill can be identified by their whistles
Steve Mourton was with Chris Walker, Lennart Harnefors and Mike Randall, and this is his full report based on a trip between February 21st and March 6th.
This season there were noticeably less gricers than last year. Is it the Rafael Freyre effect - it is not running so let's not bother?
Having said last year that we had problems finding standard gauge line workings, this year we didn't! Add in cleaner locos at some mills; transfers of locos and new inter-mill transfer work which presented fresh photo opportunities; busy steam activity at a mill where we haven't seen any meaningful movements for a few years; better photographic light a lot of the time due to a prevailing breeze keeping the usual heat haze down, and it all adds up to a pretty good visit. Plus demands for money from crews seems rather more muted, or even sometimes non-existent, compared with last year.
103 E G Lavandero Feb.24 / Feb.25 Mill closed
Sr Porta's engine 1816 was still here on these dates, but dead. Rumours that it might be used drove us to make the second visit, but it was still dead. Abe. Lincoln diesel 37052 was working the Lavandero acopios, plus home diesel 34037.
105 A C Sandino Feb 25 Sunday
Perhaps being a Sunday not much was going on. 1667, on loan from mill 435, worked the short line. Due to the brake pump leaking steam, it was not too inspiring photographically. Both 1667 and 1373, also here from mill 435, are only on loan and should go back there. Overhaul of 1364 progresses well, it should be ready soonish, while 1404 is also being overhauled. Dead locos were 1350, 1373, 1405 with 1210 probably OOU.
On the research side of things, we found a warehouse at the back of the mill from where the railway took bagged sugar to the port, but the line disappeared quite a long time ago.
201 Amistad Feb.23, Feb 26 Mill not working
On the first visit, 1303 was in steam and was later seen out on the line near Rio Seco. It appeared to leave fulls for 1701, which was also out on the line, to take to Hector Molina mill. 1303 headed back to Amistad mill light engine - all this around midday.
On Feb.26 1701 ( at O Sanchez last year) was still here and was said to be going out around 10.30 to Molina. We did not visit the shed, but an 18XX was outside available for use, with various other locos including 1707 dead in the shed. 1106 was preserved by the tippler in the mill.
205 Camilo Cienfuegos Feb.21/ Feb 23
Car 3021 was working on the Santa Cruz Del Norte branch in the morning. By 11.15 it was standing just outside the Hershey mill, from where trains appear to depart for Arcos De Canasi and Santa Cruz. The 'Trans Hershey' lettered Brill 3008 turned up at 12.00 and went to the shed. Brill 3006 left at 13.00 for Arcos and Santa Cruz. A different Brill, an unrebuilt one in traditional livery, was seen on the branch with an afternoon working on Feb.23. General Electric loco 21002 left on cane empties for Jaruco at 13.45 on Feb.21 . All Casablanca - Matanzas trains seen were worked by the Spanish MUs. Preserved near Puerta (gate) 3, is a steam roller by Aveling Porter. It appears to be a 2-cylinder compound and is intact except for the works plate. The number 261124 was noted on a casting, in case that means something to traction engine people and R12 222A was cast on the front beam. Chris Walker recalls seeing a steam roller on his mill visit in 1981, possibly this is the same one.
206 Manuel Isla Feb.26 Mill closed
The mill appeared very dead with tracks so rusty that it seems quite possible the railway has not worked at all this season. 1103 still preserved outside on the road. A very quick drive through the mill yard saw a tender poking out of the shed with 1604 on it. So maybe that loco is here from mill 212 Boris Coloma.
207 G A Manalich Feb.24
A trip here found 1338 in steam in the yard with 1308 arriving on a fulls train at 13.15 from the nearby acopio. Nothing doing on the standard gauge, though 1402 was lit up during the afternoon. The ng 0-6-0, numbered 2, the one from Banes wagon works, was still dead in the shed. Also dead were 1306, 1307, 1365, 1704. Under repair were 1510 and 1806, so inter-mill working on the sg look less likely at present. 1351 worked in from somewhere out on the further away lines with 18 fulls at 15.30. It went back out straight away with empties to Jicotea and returned with 26 fulls, arriving at the mill at 16.40. Livery has changed again this year, black with yellow panels, not too bad. Also prominently carried on the tenders of working locos are three fire extinguishers!
210 O Sanchez Feb.23 Mill closed
Rogers 1204 was active, indeed it seems to do more now than in previous years when it just used to shuffle a couple of hundred yards pushing fulls into the tippler. It did trips to acopios both sides of the mill in mid-morning. 1681 came off shed at 11.30 to pull in fulls from the ex-narrow gauge acopio. A diesel could be heard arriving, presumably for the inter-mill working. Another visitor told us three ng locos are still here.
211 R M Villena Feb.21, Feb 23, March 6 Mill closed
At 16.00 on Feb.21, 1311 was pushing fulls into the mill from the adjacent acopio. 1112 was dead by the wagon tippler. 1702 came off shed and hauled fulls at 16.40, chimney first to Roble. A Boris diesel arrived there to take the train away and 1702 went back light. Locos are reasonably smart this year. On Feb.23 1311 arrived at the mill on empties from Roble at 13.15. Nothing else happening. On March 6, rumours - once again - that 1112 would be steamed brought us back. But 1311 was on the patio shunt, with 1702 pushing in fulls. A reasonable (between four of us) financial transaction ensued which saw 1311 go to shed and return with 1112 which was in steam. By the way, 1112 is a coal burner; a flat wagon holds a supply. It went out to the nearby acopio and coupled up to three fulls, in the sun before it got too high, and before 'el grupo' for whom it had been steamed, turned up. This provided a suitable 'exclusive' finale to our trip.
212 Boris Luis Santa Coloma Feb.21 / Feb.23
Steam here is at a low ebb. 1606 was in steam both days, but not seen to do anything meaningful. 1711 dead on shed, with 1756 OOU in shed. Diesel 38035 went out on line work.
303 Australia Feb.26
1593, repainted, was patio engine. 1620, scruffy, came off shed, turned, and took out empties for San Ramon(?) at 11.30. Two noticeable things - 1) no diesel 2) the yard in front of the administration building and the main mill has been cleared of scrap etc and can present photo opportunities.Our intention was to return another day, but due to events at other mills, we never made it.
304 Granma Feb.22
We were told by loco crews there is no big diesel here this year. A morning visit found 1713 shunting at the nearby acopio. By the afternoon 1714 had taken over and 1812 was in steam, due to go out late to Contao; a small diesel was shunting. It appears that only the working locos stable here now, everything else is at mill 318 Victoria.
306 Cuba Libre Feb.22
Just a brief visit this year.1410 was shunting and also hauled in fulls from the near acopio.1409, the Henschel ex mill 305 P R Libre, is now plinthed here. Diesels - 38231 on bulk sugar train; 37153 going back to P R Libre; 37010 out of use.
314 J Rabi Feb.26, March 5
Last year, I wrote 'I have lost count of the number of times in recent years there has been absolutely nothing happening at this place.' This year, it was one of THE places to be....1413 is back in action, 1414 was also in use and Rogers 1216 has been transferred in from Frutuoso Rodriguez. 1216 was in steam on our first visit, but defective injectors meant it did not leave the shed. But 1414 did go out - at 14.00 it did the nearby acopio, then at 15.50 it went out to Demetrio, chimney first with the empties. It returned with 10 fulls. Diesel 37015 is, we were told, unreliable, although it usually managed to work after attention. On March 5, 1216 was very active, it hauled in 11 fulls from the near acopio to the mill, before shunting Minaz tankers. Meanwhile 1413 was lit up on shed. So there was a Cooke of 1891, 1413, and a Rogers of 1895, 1216, both in steam in 2001.... 1413 went out tender-first at 14.00 on empties to Cirineo, which involves a short trip down the Manguito - Aguada FCC line. It returned with 8 fulls plus caboose, arriving at the mill at 16.15, a very fine sight. The locos here are all quite well-kept. For the record, 1529 is being overhauled, while 1810 is still OOU. Diesel 37172 was on hoppers on March 5, while 37015 also went off shed.
315 J S Comas Feb.22
Just a brief visit this year.1530 came in tender-first on 17 fulls at 16.45. 1530 was light engine at the mill. 1415 was in steam on shed. 1122 OOU, with small diesel 4117 shunting.
318 V de Yaguajay Feb.22 Mill closed
1519 is getting new tubes, including ones for the superheater. 1812 was having a spring replaced in the morning and was in steam in the afternoon at Granma. 1514, 1594, 1811, 1813 appear more dumped than stored now, but you never know....
319 R Fraga March 5
A brief late afternoon drive-by found a clean 1820 shunting fulls at the mill. The paint job on it is thankfully rather restrained now after the multi-coloured job it had last year.
320 J Avila Feb.22
At 13.30, 1721 was in the mill yard in steam, same as last year. Diesels 37106, and 38222 with a P R Libre caboose, were hanging around. But nothing was going to happen soon, so we left.
321 J R Cairo Feb.22 Mill closed
1123 OOU; 1124 stored; 1520 overhaul had started, but nothing happening at present; 1614 usable, painted up; 1619 stored; 1646 dumped. The narrow gauge loco for repair ex mill 308 Humberto Alvarez is the small 2-8-0 1243 (or 1242 as it has been - apparently erroneously - known) It is at the mill rather than the shed, and can be seen on the right hand side while driving through the mill yard. A coach is also being built for the proposed tourist operation back at Humberto.
403 Mal Tiempo Feb.27
1322 went out at 13.30 to Vega Ceiba on empties, came back with 13 fulls and caboose, at the mill by 16.30. 1321 left immediately on empties. At the shed, 1221 OOU; 1320 steam; 1345 steam; 1355 dead. There is said to be a Festival of Steam taking place here from 18 to 25 November this year. 30 locos are expected...
405 L A Bergnes Feb.28 Mill closed
Another 'must visit' mill this year. 1755 was leaving the acopio at Limpieza at 16.10 on 11 fulls plus caboose. It dropped 3 fulls at the mill, then carried on to the junction with the line for the Carmenjita acopio. 1755 ran up the branch light to the acopio and backed 4 fulls down onto its train. It then ran to a junction outside Vega Alta, where it stopped to get permission to go onto the FCC line through Vega Alta and on to mill 407, Abel Santamaria. Good action leaving Limpieza, leaving the mill and going towards the FCC line, all in great evening light. So a very worthwhile intermill working. At Vega Alta the line was in shadow and beyond there finding a road which accessed the line was difficult. There is said to be a bridge on the line, though it may not be too photogenic according to reports. Other locos noted at the shed were 1539, 1541 and 1823 ex Q Banderas, all dead. 1622 appeared to be dismantled. OOU in the mill yard was 1346, the saddle tank which was at mill 447 Unidad Proletaria. There is a plinth down by the main road entrance, so an engine would seem to be destined for preservation here. Perhaps it will be 1346 - but a local claimed it will be renovated and put into use in 18 months...time will tell.
406 G Moncada
Their old BLW, 1163, is still preserved at the M-way services at Aguada.
412 J P Carbo Servia March 2
1728 dead at the shed, having maintenance, had been in steam the previous day. 1727 stored needing repair. Cab of 1427 still lies around. On the diesel front were 37123 dead, not used much, and a 38XXX.
413 Espartaco Feb.27 Mill closed
A very smart 1326, with polished brass domes, worked some empties for a visiting group. We couldn'yt find this mill's old Porter 0-4-2 which used to be at a park in Cienfuegos, but Roy Smith did.
418 O Morales March 3
All diesel worked. Shed not visited.
427 Q Banderas Feb.28
1547 was active, pushing in fulls from the nearest acopio, then shunting at the mill.
1548 was dead near the shed. Staff confirmed 1823 had gone to Luis Arcos Bergnes. They also stated it is too heavy for Q Banderas' track, so the chances of seeing it work here appear slim. 3' gauge tank 1145 is still preserved outside the mill alongside the main road.
428 M Salado March 3 Mill closed
429 J R Riquelme Feb.28 Mill closed
1645 OOU; frame of 1750.
434 P G Toro Feb. 28
1626 was shunting fulls over the weighbridge, so moving only very occasionally and slowly. It does work a short line to an acopio, where it can be photted chimney first, but not seen doing so on this brief visit. A 38XXX also working, with a 34XXX dead on shed.
435 Hermanos Ameijeiras March 2
1 (1156) preserved at mill entrance. The shed boss was not too pleased at having two of his engines,1373 and 1667, at Sandino and said emphatically that they are only on loan and will return here. He is aware that they may need quite a lot of attention after working at Sandino. 1431 was steamed for a small visiting group and ran out to the nearest acopio. The hire fee for this short run was a reasonable $50. Prior to leaving shed, the staff were scraping oil and dirt off 1431's footplate and tender top. The whole shed, clean and neat, gives the impression of an efficient operation. Working or workable Brush diesels were 2724/ 2726/ 2729/ 2731/ 2732/ 2734 with 2721 for spares.
438 R Ponciano March 1
1634 was dead at the shed. Diesels 37005 and 37102 do line work here.1552, in excellent fettle, was in steam and ran a group special. It went up the mill branch to Fomento station, then reversed a few kms down the FCC line towards Trinidad, going slightly further than last year. One steam loco normally shunts at the mill
440 I Alfonso March 1
No demands for money on our brief visit here. 1850 worked a short train from Pozo in the morning, picking up 17 more fulls at the next acopio. At the shed - 1635 washout; 1636 dead; 1637 in steam; 1910 dead.
441 Diez de Octobre March 1
1661 in steam, looking smart. It was due to work later to the acopio half a mile or so away, on the line beyond the shed.1818 is still dismantled, presumably dumped. Also here now are 1638 and 1639 from mill 449 George Washington. 1639 is being overhauled for use next year, when 1661 is due for repair. Diesel 38135 working.
443 P Tey Feb.27
At 06.45 1236 was patio shunter, while 1357 and 1358 were also in steam. At the shed was 1164 dumped; 1165 dead; 1220 dead; Espartaco's 1329, on loan, dead; 1337 heavy overhaul. 1357 stormed out at 08.20 on empties past the cement works to Limones.
448 S Bolivar March 3 Mill closed
Seven locos at the shed including 1361 dumped; 1138,1354,1362, and 1366 dead. Unfortunately no improvement in the external condition of locos here, still as scruffy as ever, except for 1366, which was reasonable, presumably the one used for visiting groups. 1138 was under repair.1354 looked used.1363 was in steam at the molasses tanks, shifting the ancient tank cars, before trundling back light to the shed. This was around 12.30 and no more activity seemed likely.
503 O G Ramirez March 5
At 08.25 1836, in dark blue livery, was pushing two petroleum tank cars along the branch to Guayacanes station. It went back light engine to the mill. At the mill 1837 was in steam, came off shed, but was not expected to do much for some time. One loco was expected to go to Limones later. 1563 was receiving attention at the shed, where 1732, still green, was dead. 1736 is still dismantled. Diesel 38008 was in the mill yard and appeared to have run out of fuel, as a road tanker arrived alongside it.
504 Ecuador March 3
In late afternoon, diesels 38078 and 38099 were both active on cane trains. 1564 was patio engine, shunting a long line of Minaz tank cars. 1461 arrived tender-first on 18 fulls from Dos Palmas, following which 1904 left on empties for Jibacoa. 1904 left there on 15 fulls, alas tender-first, at 17.45. It proceeded to the N. Van-Troi acopio where it collected 17 more fulls. Locos here are in tidy order and make less smoke than at most other mills.
515 Ciro Redondo March 4 Sunday
Did an official shed visit. The only working steam is 1829, dead on shed, which normally just does the patio duty. 1830 was said to be repairable; 1826, 1828, 1832, 1834 all OOU; 1833 frames only. There are currently five working diesels. There may be a need for another working steam loco next year, according to the shed boss. One interesting point which maybe someone can check out - he said loco 1651 was sent to mill 506 Bolivia a few years ago to act as a pumping engine.
517 Patria O Muerte March 4 Sunday Mill closed??
As a result of our visit to Ciro, we visited this mill. Though it was all dead and locked up, we could see an immaculate 1827, ex Ciro, partly under cover in the yard. It was attached to the usual hideous tourist coach! Tracks around the mill were shiny, so it would appear to get used, at least for tourists. Whether it sees any use on cane trains is not known, but it could be worth keeping a eye on this mill. Ciro claimed another of their engines is also here, which, by deduction, should be 1831.1827's tender is lettered ' Patria O Muerte'.
522 Venezuela March 4 Sunday
Two steam locos were observed to be dumped inside the mill. One appeared to be the green 1741. We did an official shed visit here. 1657, still blue, is being overhauled, may be ready later in the season. 1743 is having a very heavy overhaul, including having a new inner firebox. 1902 is intact and, according to the shed boss, has been sold to a mill on the Rio Cauto. When we suggested this is mill 627 Jose Figueredo, he agreed. What they are going to do with it there is not clear. Maybe it is a new tourist operation, maybe it will be used for cane trains, as Figueredo was still using some steam a few years ago.Maybe it will be a stationary boiler - somebody will perhaps find out eventually. Diesels are certainly in the ascendancy here. 29003 seen working is a diesel-electric, unlike 37090, 38097, 38157 and 38197 which are diesel hydraulics. While most of the diesels were being hosed down on the shed, the mill's only working steam loco at present, 1742, was active. It was shunting in the yard before going to the nearby acopio and bringing in 10 fulls. It then took empties out tender-first to Jiguey. It left there at 16.10 on 15 fulls plus caboose. It picked up 13 more at 30 De Novembre (Guare) at 16.50 then headed non-stop back to the mill, a fine sight in the evening sun. This loco is in excellent condition following its overhaul last year. It has a polished cap on its chimney and is very clean - the fireman was even hosing down the footplate. It also has a very long tender, built on an extremely hefty underframe, increasing its water and fuel oil capacity. The shed says 1742 is used equally on line work with the diesels.
Following up Tony Eaton's discovery of steam working on FCC passenger trains into and out of Cienfuegos, we visited Cienfuegos station on Tuesday February 27 to find mill 302 Reynold Garcia's 1517 dead on shed. It looked in good order and was receiving some minor attention from the Minaz loco crew. They said it would work the 08.37 to Cruces next day. Well we've heard that story before...It will work manana. And it did work on Wednesday. It was at the head of 4 modernish - for Cuba - carriages before 08.00. It left this terminus station virtually on time. It chuffed along quite well, no great speed, crossing a Minaz double-headed sugar hopper train at Palmira and a diesel hauled local passenger ( with ex CN 51210) at Paradero De Camarones. So there was plenty of time to chase and get pictures on the line which has pleasant rather than spectacular scenery. Despite the erratic nature of the train's working - some days, but not others - there were passengers aboard. It arrived at Cruces at 10.22, due there at 09.57. The loco went off to mill 403 Mal Tiempo to turn and take water. We did not wait for the return working, due off Cruces just after 11am; apparently it ran, but very late. The chances of 1517 doing the full daily turn as described by Tony Eaton: Santo Domingo- Lajas- Cruces- Cienfuegos- Cruces-Cienfuegos - Cruces - Lajas- Santo Domingo, seem somewhat remote, but then again, this is Cuba...For the record this IS a regular train, NOT a tourist special - the trains were shown in a 1995 FCC timetable with virtually the same timings. Distance from Cienfuegos to Cruces is shown in the timetable as 29.6km. The rumour is that 1517 will go to Trinidad for the tourist working there.
At Aguacate on February 23 we saw Montreal Loco Works 52435 around 16.00 on the 12-coach Havana - Holguin passenger. The 'clag' which erupted from this when it departed makes Minaz steam locos look positively environmentally-friendly by comparison! Ex Canadian railways Budd railcars were also seen speeding through Aguacate.
On February 24, ex-CN 51210 was at Melena, next to Gregorio Manalich, on a local passenger at 15.40.
At Cienfuegos on February 28 was the well-kept 61602 which was driven by Fidel Castro when the cross-island high speed line was opened. It went off shed to the docks.
GM 50908 was on the University branch train outside Santa Clara also on 28 February.
On March 4, at Pina station next to Ciro Redondo, we saw Budd 2304 go through around 09.30 from Moron on a regular express working. Also seen here were GM 50935 on a caboose and GM 50904 on a local to Moron which included three de-engined Budd railcars.
On March 5, ex-CN 51203, was seen on a passenger train heading towards Calimete at 15.45 ( presumably the same working that we saw last year at Guareiras at 16.30 with 51208)
FCC in Havana
'La Junta' the 1843 loco, painted red, is still preserved inside Havana Central station.
The 'new' railway station, La Coubre, a couple of blocks down from Central towards the docks is integrated with the bus station there. Contrary to a previous report, it is our understanding that Hershey trains do NOT use it. There are no overhead wires and reference on the timetables to trains for Matanzas refer, we believe, to services via FCC lines, not Hershey. Has anyone actually seen a Hershey train at La Coubre? (It was confirmed by the stationmaster at Casablanca Hershey station that no Hershey trains run to La Coubre). On the dockside near La Coubre, box cars of fertiliser were being unloaded the traditional way - one bag at a time. A drive round the bay past the Regla warehouses found many dock sidings still very much in use.
No doubt as part of the 'Nuevo Socialismo' enterprise culture now seen in Cuba, a number of vendors were on hand at Aguacate station to offer Havana - Holguin train passengers soft drinks, cakes etc as seen in many other parts of the world.
Bejucal, 28km from Havana on the Linea Sur, was the site of Cuba's first public railway, opening on 20 November 1837. A plaque on a memorial records this event, though the current station is not the original one. There is a small museum in the station building and the stationmaster opened it up for us. It contains interesting small exhibits from various lines. Outside in the yard, partly buried in the grass, is a small cast iron turntable, built by a London firm, whose name is on the castings, but partly worn away - the date 1836 can however clearly be seen. At Aguacate FCC station, next to the R M Villena mill, Chris discovered a stationary engine in a shed just off the end of the platform. Luckily a permanent way gang, who use the shed, arrived and opened it. All the machinery, including the boiler, built by Ransome Sims & Jeffries of Ipswich, England, no.35026, appears to be in excellent condition, and was said to be operable. It pumped water for the large water tank on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. The water tanks can be seen all over Cuba next to the railroad tracks, it makes one wonder how many more may still have a stationary engine adjacent.
At Carolina, which is a very small settlement 10-15 kms approximately north-east of Cienfuegos - best approached off the big dual carriageway which goes to the port at Cienfuegos - are the remains of an old sugar mill. The Cubans have it down as an Historic Site on tourist maps, but there is just dereliction. Remains of an old mill building contain a lot of derelict steam machinery, almost certainly British, some dated 1869, with the possibility of some being even earlier. In the castings was noted the name H Ross, Habana.The crushers were made by Brissoneau. The mill probably closed down in the 1920s according to a very old gaffer.
Regular visitor Gary reports (7th March 2001)
1216 has been transferred from Fructouso Rodriguez to Jesus Rabi. There, it's been shined up and is working on a daily basis in the yard. Though I didn't see it operate, 1413 seems still to be a regular performer at Jesus Rabi. It was warm when I visited the mill on two different occasions; on both occasions, the shop crew said it would be used later in the day.
To free up a diesel for other duties, Reynold Garcia 1517 is working a regularly scheduled FCC passenger train that runs from Cienfuegos to Lajas and back. (This is NOT a tourist train.) #1517 has been assigned to this duty for a month now, according to its crew. The train runs daily, but #1517 apparently operates only every other day or so. On the days that it operates, #1517 takes water at the standard-gauge yard of Mal Tiempo while its train waits at the Cruces station.
1816 is painted black now, and has a conventional-size tender. At Lavendero, it was not utilized as much as Minaz had wanted; it operated only when a diesel was broken down. On 3 March, it ran light from Lavandero to Hector Molina. Its crew - who are permanently assigned to #1816 no matter where it's located - said that it will work at Hector Molina for the remainder of the Zafra. After the Zafra, it will work a tourist service between Artemisa and Havana; the crew said passenger coaches are already being prepared for this service. (Whether this actually comes to pass remains to be seen.)
Chris Hart had more important matters than gricing to concern him during his visit (congratulations Chris!) but did manage a couple of half days around Santa Clara:
405 Luis Arcos Bergnes
February 17th 1539 was in use and took a rake of empties from the mill to La Luz then the fulls from La Luz directly to Abel Santa Maria. At the locoshed were 1541, 1622, 1755 & 1823. Shed staff informed us that 1823 is there to haul large transfer trains to Abel Santa Maria thereby cutting down on the actual number of trains needed to be run for this duty. We were told it could haul 25 wagons of fulls to Abel Santa Maria. Also present at the mill was Vulcan 0-6-0ST 2604 of 1917 and we were told that it is destined for display at the main road intersection where there is already a section of track for it. According to the IRS book, this is 1346, last reported at Unidad Proletaria. (There is a picture of this loco on our CD-ROM Zafra).
440 Ifrain Alfonso
February 16th None of the steam locos were in action owing to a shortage of fuel oil. A diesel was seen on the Pozo line.
441 Diez de Octubre
February 16th 1661 was present but not in use. An employee told us that it was a standby loco. 1638 & 1639 from George Washington are here, one of which was in the shed being overhauled. The same employee informed us that next year more cane is to be processed at this mill and that is the reason for the additional motive power. 1818 is still here also.
Yoshi Matsuo reports on his two week trip (28th February 2001).
101 Eduardo Garcia Lavandero
On 12/2, no steam action. 1816 in black is cold.
105 August Cesar Sandino
On 12/2, 1373 and 1667 on line work with tenders still lettered for Hermanos Ameijerias. A tender numbered 1364 with 3-foot axles is dumped at the end of nearest LP.
207 Gregorio Arlee Manarich
On 13/2, 1307 and 1351 are on patio. 1365 is on line work. These three are black with yellow paneled lettering on cab and tender. No SG steam could be seen while I was at the mill.
210 Osvaldo Sanchez
On 13/2, rusty 1701 working to nearest LP.
211 Ruben Martinez Villena
On 11/2, 1311 on patio. 1702 due to intermill to Roble. Both freshly painted.
212 Boris Luis Santa Coloma
On 11/2, 1606 in steam but no action. A staff says just stand by, no regular duty.
On 14/2, 1620 on line work. I do not know about other locos since I did not get into mill area to avoid hassle (I was alone).
403 Mal Tiempo
On 16/2, 1320 pulled a tourist train with 2 open coaches round trip to Potrerillo. When the crew found me on trackside, they stopped the train and surrounded me to ask dollars while passengers on board! At Oliva siding, the tourist train returning to mill met an empty cane train (bound for Potrerillo) behind 1345. Although I gave the crew of 1345 a few small gifts, I did not pay any dollars. Then the crew heavily decorated 1345 with bushes.
404 Ciudad Caracas
On 16/2, 1538 working to nearest LP. 1621 on Patio.
405 Luis Arcos Bergnes
On 17/2, 1539 collecting canes from LP's around mill then intermill to Abel Santamaria. A 0-6-0ST is dead out of shed (I did not have time to check the identification).
409 Antonio Sanchez
On 16/2, no steam action.
412 Juan Pedro Carbo Servia
On 21/2, 1728 with colourful lettering is in steam but no action. A staff says just stand by. 1727 is stored in shed.
418 Obdulio Morales
On 17/2, totally dieselaized.
427 Quintin Banderas
On 15/2, 1548 on patio. I could not get into the yard due to tight security.
428 Marcelo Salado
On 17/2, 1429 working to Limpopo LP. No other loco in steam.
434 Panchito Gomez Toro
On 15/2, 1626 working to nearest LP.
435 Hermanos Ameijeiras
On 21/2, totally dieselized. 1431 is stored in shed.
440 Ifrain Alfonso
On 16/2, 1637 working to Pozo. 1635 in steam. A staff says both Mikados are cold due to fuel oil shortage. Late afternoon of 14/2 and 15/2, I saw a cane train to Pozo behind a diesel (from Carlos Carraballo?). It could be related to fuel oil shortage. On 21/2, fuel shortage had been resolved and 1850 working to Pozo. 1635 in steam.
441 Diez de Octubre
On 16/2, no steam action. 1661 in serviceable but cold due to fuel oil shortage. 1639 under OH in shed. On 21/2, fuel shortage had been resolved and 1661 working to nearest LP.
443 Pepito Tey
On 22/2, 1236 on patio. 1329 (from 413, still lettered Espartaco) and 1357 working on line.
446 Carlos Balino
On 15/2, Mill looks closed. No steam action. 1432 and 1555 cold out of shed.
448 Simón Bolivar
On 17/2, mill closed. No steam action could be seen. A local people says all trains to 418 are behind diesel.
449 George Washington
On 15/2, no steam action.
503 Orlando Gonzalez Ramirez
On 20/2, 1732 and 1836 working on line. 1732 is still green. Handrails and stanchion were added when she was at Moron Steam Festival December 2000. But now the handrails and stanchion are gone and the proportion has been resumed. 1836 received dark blue livery. 1563 looks serviceable, under maintenance.
On 18/2, 1461, 1564 and 1578 working on patio and line. 1564's cab is now black with green window frames. 1578 still has green cab. 1904 is under minor repair. On 19/2, by noon 1904 had been fixed and moved out to Dos Palmas LP afternoon.
505 Carlos Manuel de Cespedes
On 18/2, no steam action.
On 18/2, at least 2 fireless locos are working. But I could not get into the yard due to tight security.
515 Ciro Redondo
On 20/1, only 1829 in steam but under minor repair and no action on the day.
520 Noel Fernandez
On 18/2, no steam action.
On 19/2, 1742 is the only working steam, with stretched tender.
AM 9:00 of 22/2, 1517 cold in the shed.
A very brief report from 'Son of Uncle Sam' (26th February 2001)
Things do not look good for Rafael Freyre although we did have a super tour behind 1386 (in bad shape) in early Feb. A week later they did finish repairs on the second loco but with the mill closed... At Ifrain Alfonso 1850 is in good shape and 1621 put up a cracking show on the FCC mainline at Ciudad Caracas. The usual other good places were active in February but beware the mill closings at Espartaco etc.
Here is Tony Eaton's hot news from the end of January 2001:
The big surprise was to find that Cubarail seem to have wet-leased newly overhauled
1517 from Reynold Garcia to work
517 was discovered by accident on Sunday 28/1 at Palmira running only about 30
(minutes) late. Consist was 2 Taino coaches + two converted boxcar type coaches with a
sprinkling of locals travelling. On arrival at Cruces water was taken from a garden hose
(leaky) for about three hours before they took the puffer off to Mal Tiempo where a very
slightly better supply was obtained. After turning on the triangle at the SW end of Cruces
it finally set off for Cienfuegos at 17.00 hours (The on arrival announcement was leaving
in thirty minutes). On the morning of Monday 29th there was no sign of loco or train at
Cienfuegos but the crew were waiting and said it was delayed at Santa Domingo awaiting oil
and would arrive about 11.00. The coaches were tracked down at Lajas at 12.15 tacked onto
the back of a diesel hauled ballast. No sign of 1517. On the morning of Tuesday 30th the
coaches were at Cienfuegos and 1517 had arrived and was in light steam. No run this day as
the puffer was still awaiting oil. Wednesday 31st-Saturday3rd. Loco dead at Cienfuegos.
Two of the four coaches evaporated during the week.
On 5th February Casablanca was advertising three trains per day with old-style railcar 3008 in the station.
105 - Augusto César Sandino
107 - Pablo de la Torriente Brau
201 - Amistad con los Pueblos
203 - Héctor Molina Riano
207 - Gregorio Arlee Mañalich
303 - Australia
403 - Mal Tiempo
404 - Ciudad Caracas
405 - Luis Arcos Bergnes
413 - Espartaco
428 - Marcelo Salado
440 - Ifrain Alfonso
418/448 - Obdulio Morales/Simón Bolivar
441 - Diez de Octubre
443 - Pepito Tey
Julian Brown was at the west of the island in January 2001.
103- Eduardo G. Lavandero: Mill operational for generation of electricity only. 1816, now black, to be used when required also intermill to A Lincoln.
105 - Augusto César Sandino: Mill started early Jan. In use on various dates 1350, 1373 & 1667 ( the latter two having arrived pre X'mas from 435 ) 1405 fit to use and 1210, 1364 & 1404 oou. Both branches open.
107 - Pablo de la Torriente Brau: Mill closed 2001
201 - Amistad con los Pueblos: Mill closed 2001. In use on 13/1 1303, 1803, 1804 on H M intermills. 1707 under repair, 1712 & 1805 oou. 1106 pres.
206 - Manuel Isla: Mill closed 2001
207 - Gregorio Arlee Mañalich: Mill due to start end Jan. On 18/1 1308 & 1365 in smart new livery ( black with yellow cabs & tender ), 1338 & 1351 being painted with 1306 & 1307 to follow. 1704, '1551' & 1806 complete. 1510 repairs.
210 - Osvaldo Sanchez: Mill closed 2001. On 18/1 1701 in use shunting. Diesel intermill.
211 - Ruben Martinez Villena: Mill closed 2001. On 19/1 1311 shunting, 1702 ( freshly painted - the original report wrongly said 1701) on intermill as far as Roble, then diesel to 212.
212 - Boris Luis Santa Coloma: Mill started mid Jan. 1606 ( freshly painted and repaired after boiler problem that killed driver last year ) working to SE acopios at night. Daytime track clearing to Bainoa and later cane from here. Diesel on 211 intermills until 1711 ready end Jan. 1756 still under repair. Cane due from Hershey with steam in Feb & March.
This report dates from March 2000 but if I post it on the 2000 page no-one will read it. John Glover reports: Took a (very long) daytrip West from Santiago looking for rarely seen steam.
615 - Bartholome Maso: a very long way from Santiago. Felt like driving from London to Manchester (and back) by side road. Loco crews friendly but once spotted by local security we were not allowed to use cameras. Steam 1590 (in use) and the diesel 37161 (in use) were representative of activity here. 1950's Hillman Minx seemed in excellent order for its age and the whole area was quite tidy.
620 - Arquimedes Colina - no steam activity, but plinthed 2-6-0 as Central Mabay 3 is here (it appears to be 1675 which was last reported in use in February 1997).
637 - Ranulfo Leyva: found 1464 here, having initially been chased off by unfriendly natives. Natives joined our side when a few railway postcards were distributed.