RUBEN MARTINEZ VILLENA
HAVANA REGION
Originally know as Rosario, this mill was renamed after the Revolution in memory of Ruben Martinez
Villena who was a lawyer and journalist instrumental in leading opposition to what he saw as
neocolonial Cuban governments supported by the USA.  Despite being terminally ill, in 1933 he led the
general strike which brought about the downfall of President Machado's government.  He died as a
result of tuberculosis in Havana in June 1934.

In architectural terms at least, Ruben Martinez Villena was one of the most attractive mills in Cuba.  
Its main building betrayed a heavy colonial influence and provided a wonderful backdrop for the
amazing fleet of engines to be found there.  These included Cuba's oldest working locomotive, a
Baldwin 0-4-2 built in 1878 which was steamed on high days and holidays (usually in return for a fistful
of dollars!) together with several other small tank locomotives and a number of larger 2-8-0 engines.
Vulcan 2-8-0 No.1502 brings a
train of loaded wagons past the
delightful office buildings at Ruben
Martinez Villena.  The Spanish
influence is clear to see with the
bell tower being a wonderful
addition to the scene
By way of contrast, the cinder
block buildings look distinctly
unattractive as Baldwin 2-6-2T
No.1311 makes its way from the
shed towards the mill yard
Baldwin 2-6-0 No.1411 brings a
train of loaded wagons from one of
the loading points (seen in the left
background) the short distance
into the mill
A rear three-quarters view of the
same train shows just how close to
the mill the loading point (or
'acopio') was to the mill.
Another shot of the office buildings at the mill as Baldwin
2-6-0 No.1411 storms past with a train of loaded wagons.
Henschel 2-4-0 No.1207 was one of only a small number
of non-USA build locomotives at work on the mill lines
Vulcan 0-4-2ST No,1201 (built 1916) was used mainly
for shunting wagons in and around the mill yard
An unusual feature at Ruben Martinez Villena was the
tall water tower. No.1311 pauses to refill its tanks
Another view of Vulcan 0-4-2ST
No.1201 shows up its chunky lines
and the oil tank at the rear of the
engine.
The rich variety of locomotives at
the mill gave it the air of being
almost a railway museum.  Pride of
place most certainly went to
Baldwin 0-4-2T No.1112 which
was built in 1878 and was still in
serviceable condition.  Although
not used on a regular basis it was
available for steaming provided
that visiting enthusiasts were
prepared to make a sizeable
donation to the mill.
No.1311 was another veteran
locomotive being built in 1904 but
this engine was in regular useage
and is seen here at the head of a
train of loaded wagons.  The
cooling fountain in the background
was responsible for the sweet
cloying smell that I will always
associate with the Cuban sugar
mills.
A final shot from Ruben Martinez
Villena.  A father holds the hand of
his young son as Henschel 2-4-0T
No.1207 shunts wagons in the
patio area at the mill.  It seemed a
timeless scene and yet within five
years of this picture being taken
the mill had been run down and
the steam locomotives consigned
to the history books.
BORIS LUIS SANTA COLOMA
GREGORIO ARLEE MANALICH
AMISTAD CON LOS PUEBLOS
CUBA HOME PAGE
WEST OF HAVANA
MATANZAS
VILLA CLARA
CIENFUEGOS
SANCTI SPIRITUS
CIEGO DE AVILA
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
BORIS LUIS SANTA COLOMA
GREGORIO ARLEE MANALICH
AMISTAD CON LOS PUEBLOS