2. HAVANA REGION

Gregorio Arlee Manalich  

Boris Luis Santa Coloma  

Amistad con los Pueblos  

Ruben Martinez Villena
         3.  MATANZAS

Reynold Garcia        Jesus Rabi

Australia                   Jose Smith Comas

Granma                     Victoria de Jaguajay

Cuba Libra                Julio Reyes Cairo
A BRIEF HISTORY

Although China was the 'big show' in terms of numbers, for sheer variety and diversity there was probably nowhere else in
the world quite like the island of Cuba.  The steam activity was mainly to be found on the railways belonging to MINAZ, the
government's  'Ministry Of The Sugar Industry', although it was sometimes necessary for trains to use the state railway
(FCC) to move between mills.  Most lines only operated during the Zafra, or sugar harvest, which normally occurs from the
beginning of  January until the end of May although exact dates may vary from mill to mill and are dependent on location and
weather conditions.  

Almost all of the steam locomotives were of American origin and were built by companies such as Baldwin, ALCO and
Porter although there were still a few Henschels, Orenstein & Koppels and Borsigs from Germany to be found in use during
the 1990's when these pictures were taken.   This reflected the fact that most of the mills were in American ownership until
the Revolution in 1959 brought them under state control.   The locomotives were of considerable vintage with several
remaining operational despite being well over 100 years old.  Unlike the more modern steam used in China, the most
recently manufactured engine in use in 1996 was constructed as long ago as 1935.

There are four different gauges in use on the island although the majority of lines are standard gauge.  Each line has its own
particular attractions and features together with its own unique pattern of operation.  With the decline in the world demand
for sugar, and the fall in price, the government has recently announced its intention to close over 100 mills on the isaland.   
This further reduced steam operation and by 2005 almost all steam was confined to the back of the engine sheds, the scrap
lines or newly established museums.

By 2011 steam traction had been eliminated from the sugar cane fields and mills of the island and all that remains are a few
museum lines and tourist trains which are almost a travesty of the 'real thing'.  Despite this there are still enthusiast trips to
Cuba but no-one should hope or expect to recapture any of the scenes illustrated on the following pages.
Like so much of this site the pages relating to Cuba now serve simply as an historic record of working steam.  Photographs in
this section of the website are arranged geographically to reflect the main areas where steam still operated during the years
1996 to 1998.   Only the main mills are illustrated - many more still had some limited steam operation.   Click on the name of
the region using either the key to the map above or on the panels below which identify by name the main steam mills that
were to be found in each of the areas.
4.  VILLA CLARA

Luis Arcanos Bergnes  
 
Marcelo Salado

Ifrain Alfonso    
               
Diez de Octobre
5.  CIENFUEGOS

Mal Tiempo
                          
Ciudad Caracas

Antonio Sanchez
                
Espartaco

Primero de Mayo
               
Marta Abreu

Pepito Tey
6.  SANCTI SPIRITUS

Obdulio Morales      
                
Simon Bolivar
7.  CIEGO DE AVILA

Orlando Gonzales Ramirez  

Ecuador

Ciro Redondo
                   
Venezuela
8.  HOLGUIN

Rafael Freyre
ALCO 2-6-0 No.1510 at Boris Luis Santa Coloma - a lack of paint
led to locomotives being operated with undercoat as livery!
Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1513 crossing the Great Cuban Freeway whilst working at Australia mill
2-8-2 ALCO No.1910 at Ifrain Alfonso,  This was a former mainline locomotive
that was transferred to MINAZ and was the largest locomotive at work on the
island during the 1990's
.
Fireless Baldwin 0-4-0 No.1239 at Marta Abreu
Vulcan 2-8-0 No.1904 at CAI Ecuador
Balwdin 2-8-0 No.1360 on narrow gauge at Simon Bolivar
Even during the days of 'real steam' in the late 1990's it was  sometimes necessary
to arrange special workings.  Baldwin No.1386 sets out along the port branch on
a photographers special at the 2'6" gauge Rafael Freyre system in 1997
1. WEST OF HAVANA

Augusto Cesar Sandino  

Pablo de la Torriente Brau

Eduardo Garcia Lavandero
Henschel 2-6-0 No.1405 at Augusto Cesar Sandino
CUBA
STEAM IN PARADISE
WEST OF HAVANA
HAVANA REGION
MATANZAS
VILLA CLARA
CIENFUEGOS
SANCTI SPIRITUS
CIEGO DE AVILA
HOLGUIN
KEY TO MAP

1.   WEST OF HAVANA

2.   HAVANA REGION

3.   MATANZAS

4.   VILLA CLARA

5.   CIENFUEGOS

6.   SANCTI SPIRITUS

7.   CIEGO DE AVILA

8.   HOLGUIN
China - Land Of Dragons
Java - Sweet Dreams
Home Page
Adventures In Foreign Lands - Personal trip reports - 1999 - 2008
Zimbabwe - Garrett Heaven
Germany - Narrow Gauge
Poland - Coal and Capitalism
West Of Havana
Havana Region
Matanzas
Villa Clara
Cienfuegos
Sancti Spiritus
Ciego De Avila
Holguin
       THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF DAVID EATWELL  1931 - 2015

Edward David Eatwell-Williams was a lifelong steam enthusiast who for many years carried his camera to the line-sides of
Britain, photographing working steam in the 60s and the early days of preserved steam in this country.  He then travelled
extensively behind the Iron Curtain in the 1970’s and 80’s, sometimes camping in farmer’s fields and on at least one occasion

at a local police station!   He also set out for other destinations across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.  His passion
for steam in all shapes and sizes was unquenchable and it was he who who persuaded me to travel with him to Cuba to
photograph the sugar railways on the island - my first overseas foray for steam.

His idiosyncrasies are almost too numerous to mention.  Anyone travelling with David very quickly became aware of his
aversion to oranges, polo mints and smoking.  Despite his extensive travels he never really took to foreign food and on at least
one occasion in Cuba he sustained himself on a diet composed entirely of sausage rolls and chocolate bars which he had
carefully packed into his suitcase prior to departure.  

I have much to blame him for and even more to thank him for!  He is sadly missed and will always be in my thoughts when I
look at pictures taken during those halcyon days.  And David - you DID fall asleep whilst driving up the Great Cuban Highway!