Pablo de la Torriente Brau mill was originally called Orozco but was renamed in the 1960's in honour
of another hero of the revolutionaries who took over Cuba in 1959.  Pablo de la Torriente Brau was a
journalist who repeatedly denounced various Cuban governments during the 1930's before being
forced into exile in the USA.  He then joined the International Brigade fighting against the fascists in
the Spanish Civil War and was killed defending the approaches to Madrid in 1936.

The sugar mill railway at Parblo de la Torriente Brau mill was a standard gauge (4’8½”) system and
unlike most other lines, it relied entirely on 2-6-0 locomotives rather than the larger 2-8-0's found
elsewhere.  In common with all of the other Cuban mills the locomotives were from a variety of
builders and of considerable antiquity, none more so than Rogers 2-6-0 No.1501 which was built in
1894 and was still in daily use over 100 years later - an incredible testament to the longevity of steam.
All Minaz locomotives were numbered according to power rating and geographical location rather than by make or wheel
arrangement.  Locomotives in the 11XX series were the least powerful whilst those in the 19XX series were the most
powerful.  Not surprisingly most of the narrow gauge locos appeared in the lower power classifications and were sometimes
prefixed with the letter E.  When the locomotives were numbered by Minaz they started with the western mills and moved
eastwards.  Hence No.1101 was to be found at Pablo whilst No.1181 was located at Holguin on the eastern tip of the island.   
In the intervening years locomotive movements between mills had an impact on this original plan but it still held good for
most of the island.
Vulcan 0-6-0 ST No.1101 was the
lowest numbered locomotive on the
island.  It was kept in
semi-preserved condition at the mill
although its purpose built  shed
would appear to offer little
protection against the elements!
Baldwin 2-6-0 No.1103 brings a
short train of loaded cane wagons
up the steep slope to the mill.  It
seems unlikely that this engine had
no more tractive power than
No.1103 and indeed appears to be
similar in size to other 2-6-0's at
the mill
Another view of No.1103 as it
stands in the mill yard at Pablo de
la Torriente Brau
On my first visit to Pablo in 1996,
the delightful Rogers 2-6-0
No.1501 was in use - some 102
years after it was built in the USA.  
This was my first overseas trip and
to see steam locos in a working
environment was simply
wonderful.  At lunchtime the crews
stopped work and in the mid-day
heat we sought some relief.  My
companion, David Eatwell,
knocked on the door of a nearby
house and begged a drink of
water.  The delightful, and elderly
lady, gestured to us to sit in
rocking chairs on her veranda
overlooking the yard and then
returned shortly afterwards with a
pitcher of iced water and two
glasses.  At that moment it felt
rather like dying and going to
Sadly on my return two years later,
No.1501 was out of service and
standing tenderless in front of the
main shed at the mill and I don't
believe that it worked again before
the mill closed for good.
The mill map above shows the relatively limited extent of the railway
system at Pablo de la Torriente Brau with one long branch to the west with
three loading points and a short spur to a fourth.  To the east of the mill
was a short line to one more cane loading point (above)

Vulcan 2-6-0 No.1662 (left) standing in the yard at Pablo de la Torriente
Brau.  The mill itself received cane both by rail and also by lorry and
appeared to be very modern and in good order.  Six steam locomotives
were believed to be on the system although in later years additional
locomotives joined the fleet from adjoining mills.
Another view of No.1662 as it
stands slightly ahead of No.1103.  
Usually only two locomotives were
needed to carry out the operations
on this system
Throughout Cuba, very few people
owned private cars and for most
people the option was to walk,
cycle or use improvised motorised
transport.  Sights such as this,
taken outside the mill gates, were
commonplace and added to the
overall unique atmosphere of the
island.  It was sometimes hard to
remember that this hardline
socialist republiic was only a
relatively short distance from the
heart of capitalism in the USA.
Baldwin 2-6-0 No.1103 passes
through the mill yard
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