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 Post subject: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation there?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I'm not addressing any political issues, just the trains...
I was surprised to see not only has Cuba opened diplomatic relations with the US, but that there's very little mention of it online.
I expected people to muse about all the steam locomotives there and what that could mean for a potential movement for tourist operation and preservation in the face of what would likely mean Americans coming into the country in mass for the first time in decades.
Any thoughts on what this could mean for folks like us?

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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:16 pm 

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Found an old thread relate to your interest ...

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=37446&start=15


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:25 pm 

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I'm sure the prevailing hope among many US railfans would be to re-patriate many of the US built steam locomotives remaining in Cuba. That's very unlikely to happen for several reasons. After the Cubans eliminated about half of their sugar production capability in the early 2000's, their idea for the now idle steam locos was to keep a few to run for tourists and display the rest in museums. That did sort of happen if you consider the collections of stripped, rusting hulks they have gathered in a few places, as museums. A lot of the locos still running at the end were not in good mechanical shape to begin with and the process of gathering them to locations deemed museums left many disassembled and stripped of fittings. Most have sat outside rusting in the weather since they were retired. There doesn't seem to be a reliable accounting, but along with many of the mills, quite a few locomotives were scrapped, likely by the personnel running the mills where they were assigned.

The Cuban government advertises them as "national treasures", mostly to make sure that a maximum price was paid for any that were sold. Buying them would take very deep pockets, if it could be done at all. It would be far easier and cheaper to restore some of the locomotives already in the US and not currently running. We all have our personal favorites in the steam world, and just like the legendary "Erie" Pacific in Korea, there are "legend" locomotives that once existed in Cuba. Sadly, all of the most desired "legend" locomotives were scrapped decades ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:28 pm 

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Here is an interesting video from 2011 that shows a number of locomotives rusting away in Havana:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFVARgh7bQk


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:59 pm 
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jgunning wrote:
I'm sure the prevailing hope among many US railfans would be to re-patriate many of the US built steam locomotives remaining in Cuba.
That didn't even cross my mind. I was thinking in terms of Cuban preservation efforts in anticipation of US tourists. Cubans were well aware in the past of American interest in steam locomotives there. The proximity to South Florida could easily make Cuba the tourist destination that it was back in the day if things are done right.
"All it takes is money" people always say. I'm hoping there could soon be investments in Cuban railroads for tourist hauling. Think of how much has been done elsewhere with so much less than what Cuba has to offer.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:29 pm 
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"All it takes is Money" and unfortunately the American Middle Class has very little to offer at this point. I was just looking at an article on a news source that indicated that health care providers intend to seek rate increases of 30% and more next year. All this money to save all these things that everybody would like to see saved always seems to be expected to show up magically from somebody else. Given the state of the US economy I don't see that being very likely in the future.

PC

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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:51 pm 

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dwither1 wrote:
Here is an interesting video from 2011 that shows a number of locomotives rusting away in Havana:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFVARgh7bQk


One of the engines in this sad video is 2-6-0 #1413; the Southern Mogul!

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:05 pm 

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I think there have been a few articles in Trains over the last 10 years, so there is some news and analysis already there.

Remember some of Porta's last work in Cuba? Remember one thing he did was rig up an air pump to the valve gear, because the air brake systems were so bad and leaky, they needed an auxiliary source of air when moving just to keep the brakes released. WORN OUT

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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:28 pm 
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PCook wrote:
All this money to save all these things that everybody would like to see saved always seems to be expected to show up magically from somebody else.
Fair enough, I've been saying that, myself, for a while now.
That said, there is the potential for a savvy investor if they can get in there now for a tourist operation if it's close enough to plane yankee tourists would wanna go.
We've collectively ruled out Cuba for darned near everything since the 60s. I'm sure someone will soon be looking for spots for the new casinos, resorts and stuff that was there back in Batista's day.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:40 pm 

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Les Beckman wrote:
dwither1 wrote:
Here is an interesting video from 2011 that shows a number of locomotives rusting away in Havana:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFVARgh7bQk


One of the engines in this sad video is 2-6-0 #1413; the Southern Mogul!

Les


The Southern 2-6-0 has been cosmetically restored apparently.

http://shipsnmoreships.smugmug.com/Cruising-and-Ferry-Trips-2014/Havana-CubaCruise-LOUISCRISTAL/Havana/Havana-1-Feb-2014/Locomotive-Restoration-Site-Ha/i-2qmBXQC


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:07 pm 

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It is an interesting question. But, don't forget European, and Canadian tourists have been going there for years, and there is already one Cuban tourist railway from the town of Trinidad.
http://www.netssa.com/Trinidad_train.html
A co worker of mine went there, he's a marine engineer but had never been near a steam locomotive, after making a little donation to the crews Cerveza fund he ended up running the loco for a few miles, passengers and all! I guess a lot will depend on what American tourists are looking for in Cuba, If most are just going for inexpensive sun and sand then there will probably not be much demand for things like RR preservation. But if enough are going for a cultural tourism experience then perhaps there will be demand for tourist trains. Also it will be interesting to see what happens when Florida based cruise ships start to call there, might cruise lines invest in a tourist RR project there?
Pat


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:58 pm 

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The locomotive pictured is 1432, a Ten-Wheeler built by Baldwin in 1925 (s/n 58778). Except for a bit too much red paint, probably looks pretty much as it did when in sugar cane service.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Cuba now open, a new golden age for RR preservation ther
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:52 pm 

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Les Beckman wrote:
The locomotive pictured is 1432, a Ten-Wheeler built by Baldwin in 1925 (s/n 58778). Except for a bit too much red paint, probably looks pretty much as it did when in sugar cane service.

Les


I did a bit more checking on the internet and found a YouTube video which showed 1432 at this location in Trinidad, but the engine wasn't running that day. Instead, another Ten-Wheeler was fired up; Alco #1552. These two 4-6-0's were at two different sugar mills, but both those operations were described as partly or mostly dieselized which might indicate that the two engines were in better shape since not used as much as some other possible candidates for this tourist train.

Also, the date of this video was 2009, so not sure if this is even still in operation.

Les


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