Railway Preservation News

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Author:  Les Beckman [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Bartman-TN wrote:
Hungry Wolf has been a leading researcher on Cuba railroads and has several books and videos out on the subject.

On one of his videos that I have, there is a short segment with a fireless cooker at one of the sugar mills moving from a dead stop, quickly up to SPEED! That thing really moved out, and gave me a new respect for the design!

All of the Cuban steamers were interesting, but the ones that I really wonder about (besides the ex-Southern 2-6-0 mentioned above) are the two big engines; 2-8-2 Mikado's. Numbered 1850 and 1910, they were built by Baldwin in 1935 (the 1850) and by Alco-Brooks in 1925 and originally ran on Cuban mainlines. Interesting that one of the sugar mills actually took these rusting hulks and restored them to service. Might they still survive today? Lots of steel in those two big engines!


Author:  rock island lines [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

I wonder if American dollars and volunteer work can now help establish a good Cuban rail museum and interpretive railroad. That would be an interesting development.

Author:  Bartman-TN [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

I was able to ride behind 1850 and 1910 as they were long distance regulars over mainline routes for many years. I understand that 1910 is being used on tourist trains. I haven't heard anything lately about 1850, but it was supposed to go into tourist service also.

For those that don't know, the last numbering series had locomotives numbered by size, thus 1850 and 1910 were about the largest steamers ever on the island. They looked good pulling long lines of sugar cane cars.

Author:  Dave [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

The ability to convert sugar production into biofuel production is an opportunity for the US and Cuba to work toward mutually beneficial goals, while making use of unused facilities. No reason this could not be done with rail movement of fuelstocks.......which could easily include new generation of steam powered by waste from the process.

I think what we are going to see is a lot of vision from a lot of businesses, and a lot of shakedown and adaptation to cultural differences.....while the Canadians do what they do, act like the Gentlemen they are and continue to pursue their business with Cuba while hopefully expanding them since they can do so without having to deal with static from down south.

Our history of dealing with Cuba from the time of the Spanish American War hasn't been without its truly ugly chapters.....which led to the revolution which led to 50 years of pretending. It's irrational to maintain a feud over diminishing idealogical differences with our close neighbors for decades. I'm cautiously hopeful.......


Author:  whodom [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

I'm very interested to see the status of ALCO 2-8-0 #1816, Porta's project engine in Cuba. It was extensively modified under Porta's direction and served as the prototype for a series of new-construction 0-6-2T's to be built for Cuban service. These locomotives were completely designed in Argentina but just about the time production was set to begin Cuba's sugar industry collapsed.

I found this page at Smugmug with photos dated February 2014, apparently showing a bunch of Cuban steam (including the 1816) being restored. Anyone know any details about this?

http://shipsnmoreships.smugmug.com/Crui ... /i-WQMXfD8

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

rock island lines wrote:
I wonder if American dollars and volunteer work can now help establish a good Cuban rail museum and interpretive railroad. That would be an interesting development.

The impression I have gotten, from both write-ups and correspondence with UK associates, is that the Cubans will, of course, be most happy to take your money, but not necessarily give you what you actually want. This has been reinforced by supposed repeated rebuffs to purchase Cuban steamers intact in the past.

The best way to help "preserve" such rail preservation and operation would be to actually go to Cuba and pay to visit/ride at any rail museums operated. This starts what is typically an ugly, acrimonious discussion as to whether such tourism in what is still at its heart a Communist government/country functions to support a dictatorship or, as some of my British friends said, "makes the case for capitalism by eroding socialism one foreign bank note at a time!" (The same arguments were made about steam tourism in China, naturally.)

The cynic in me strongly suspects that the primary interests of the "powers that be" in Cuba are not concerned so much about the actual historical and cultural heritage of the sugar plantations of old, but only how much money from overseas can be extracted from them via either tourism or scrap metal. (Ditto the vintage automobiles with horsedrawn or rodent-treadmill propulsion.)

Author:  Alan Walker [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:

The cynic in me strongly suspects that the primary interests of the "powers that be" in Cuba are not concerned so much about the actual historical and cultural heritage of the sugar plantations of old, but only how much money from overseas can be extracted from them via either tourism or scrap metal. (Ditto the vintage automobiles with horsedrawn or rodent-treadmill propulsion.)

Agreed. Also, their attitude towards privitization of property and private businesses should still be of concern. Virtually all commercial operations are state concerns with the exception of a few very small retail and restaurant businesses. the "powers that be" are interested in retaining as much power as possible and will only make those concessions that they feel are absolutely necessary.

Author:  G. P. Bensman [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

A very good Cuban friend of mine just said today, " Do not trust Raul. They are the owner of Cuba and will not make any change. Why will you change if you have all the power?"
A few items that have not been mentioned here.
1. Brazil has made payments to Cuba to NOT produce sugar. So the land lays fallow, and the people outside the big cities have nothing to do. They have been told nothing and wonder what happened? The bearded One never said it would be like this. Sounds like a perfect scenario for revolution.
2. Several million Cubans in Miami and New Jersey have equally donated to Republicans and Democrats to maintain the "Blockade". Some want an invasion and they want their property returned to them. I can imagine a tidal wave of American attorneys filing endless suits in the World Court to recover the assets of many thousands of families, GM, AT&T, Hershey, etc., etc.
Let's think about the fact that American corporations purchased, owned and maintained almost ALL the steam locomotives remaining in Cuba today.
3. CNN today called the Cuban government "an autocratic regime".
It is a Communist Military Dictatorship. Period.

In our world of railroad preservation, I see the most chance for interested Americans to help Cubans develop and manage their historic assets in Cuba.

Author:  daleperu [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

I was there on tours in 2002 & 2003, two of the last good years for sugar trains and steam. Both tours were permitted under State Department special permits. We had the option to have the passport stamped or not. If you chose not, a visa card was stamped instead and returned at departure.

Both were raifan tours. These were the last two good years for steam operations. By 2005, few steam operations were available. Here on RYPN it has been pointed out China's scrap merchants have laid waste to mills, railroads and rolling stock. This since 2011 and with Cuban Government's laws enacted to preserve steam have not been followed. Over 200 sugar mills have dismantled and scrapped as well as the rail networks that served these industries. At one time the island hosted standard gauge (the most common), 3 ft gauge (maybe all gone by now), 30 inch gauge (more common at sugar mills) and the odd 27 1/2 inch gauge on several connected lines. Some of the odd narrow gauge equipment has been moved to Havana. The Hershey Electric operates with cars from Barcelona, Spain and had only two Brill Cars that were available for service as well a few old GE steeple Cabs.

Steam is preserved at few Sugar Mill railroads that operate for tourists. It is nothing like real operating sugar trains. Many Locomotives have been rounded up and moved to unborn railroad museum's in Havana. Many of these locos are sitting out in lots and are in disrepair. A visit to Cuba to see railroading today would be much different with former European, Mexican and now Chinese diesels invading.

Dale Brown
wingsandrails on facebook

Author:  Trevor Heath [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Cuba was the scene of the last (known) boiler explosion in the world.

It occurred in March 2000.

Loco was 1382 a Baldwin at the AC Sandino sugar mill.


Cuba boiler.jpg
Cuba boiler.jpg [ 65.25 KiB | Viewed 4321 times ]

Author:  Les Beckman [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Trevor -

For the record:

Number 1382, a 3' gauge 2-8-0, Built by Baldwin in 1915, s/n 42690.

Again, info from Mr. Hungry Wolf's booklet. He states that the 1382 was built as Cuban Central Railroad #7.

BTW, you state that the explosion occurred in 1990. Adolf Hungry Wolf's book was published in 1996. Might you have the date wrong?


Author:  Bartman-TN [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

I believe that the explosion of #1382 (2-8-0) took place in March 2000.

Author:  Trevor Heath [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Sorry for the typo......the Cuban Boiler Explosion was March 2000

Here is an image of the loco from 1997 and a side view of the exploded engine

Baldwin 1382 side view.jpg
Baldwin 1382 side view.jpg [ 32.81 KiB | Viewed 4174 times ]
Baldwin 1382.jpg
Baldwin 1382.jpg [ 81.79 KiB | Viewed 4176 times ]

Author:  Frank J. DeStefano [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Anyone know what was the exact cause of the boiler explosion? Because of the displacement of the smokebox and the fragmented flues, it appears the blast occurred at the front of the locomotive, which makes me believe it was not the result of crown sheet failure.

Sorry if this has engine's incident been discussed before but I am unaware of its history.

Author:  rjenkins [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cuba

Weld failure on the front tube sheet, if I remember correctly.

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