VENEZUELA
CIEGO DE AVILA REGION
ORLANDO GONZALEZ RAMIREZ
CIRO REDONDO
ECUADOR
Venezuela mill was originally known as Stewart and, like Ecuador, was re-named in the early 1960's in honour of one of the
South American countries believed to be sympathetic to the new regime headed by Fidel Castro.  
ALCO 4-6-0 No.1657 crosses the road
just before reaching the shed yard at
Venezuela.   This was an unusual wheel  
arrangement on the Cuban standard
gauge and No.1657 was the only one I
ever saw in service
Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1742 (built
1920) catches the late afternoon
sun as it approaches Venezuela
shed in March 1996
Map of the Venezuela system
No.1742 was the only locomotive
working the Venezuela system
when we returned in 1997.  The
locomotive is seen here taking
water at the Sanguily water tower
(see map)
The system had two major
branches - one to the La Teresa
loading point and the other to La
Susana.  No.1742 has reversed up
the short branch from the La
Teresa line and stands at the El
Uno loading p
oint.
The crew take advantage of a stop
at the loading point for a quick
spot of 'oiling up' of the motion of
No.1742
Disaster - at least in photographic
terms - as No.1742 accelerates
through Moreno - casting a
shadow across the locomotive as it
does so.  Such are the trials and
tribulations of railway
photography - a constant battle
against wind, sun and smoke.
The junction of the two branch lines was protected by a rudimentary
signalling system designed to prevent collisions when two or more
locomotives were at work on the system.  The box and ground signal
can be clearly seen in the picture on the left - as can the rather
attractive female 'signalwoman' who manned the cabin.  Instructions
were sent to the cabin by telephone rather than the use of any form of
block apparatus.

In the picture above, No.1742 can be seen coming off the La Teresa
line with a train of loaded wagons bound for the mill.  A line of empty
wagons wait on the La Susana line which was not being used during the
1997 season.
Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1742 heads for
Venezuela mill with a relatively
short train of loaded cane wagons
A classic American locomotive
passes a classic American
automobile on the approach to
Venezuela mill.  The fact that both
vintage locomotives and classic
cars were still running was a
tribute to the ingenuity of the
Cuban mechanics who usually had
no spare parts and had to
canibalize or make any necessary
missing or broken items.  Car brake
fluid was often a mixture of
cooking oil and shampoo!
Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1741 with
additional water carrier and a
caboose was a Venezuela engine
but is seen here returning to the
mill whilst on the Ciro Redondo
system in April 1998.  Venezuela
mill was closed and cane was being
taken to Ciro Redondo for milling
ORLANDO GONZALEZ RAMIREZ
CIRO REDONDO
ECUADOR
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