Ferrocarriles de Cuba
Overview
 
Ferrocarriles de Cuba or Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Cuba (English: National Railway Company of Cuba), the only railway operating in the Caribbean islands, provides passenger and freight services for Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.
Ferrocarriles de Cuba uses (standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

) that extends from Guane
Guane
Guane is a municipality and city in the Pinar del Río Province of Cuba.The municipality is divided into the barrios of Cabo de San Antonio y La Fe, Catalina, Cortés, Hato de Guane, Isabel Rubio , Juan Gómez, La Grifa, Las Martinas, Los Acostas, Manuel Lazo , Portales, Pueblo, Punta de la Sierra,...

 (province Pinar del Río) in the westernmost part of the island up to the bay of Guantánamo
Guantánamo
Guantánamo is a municipality and city in southeast Cuba and capital of Guantánamo Province.Guantánamo is served by the Caimanera port and the site of a famous U.S. Naval base. The area produces sugarcane and cotton wool...

 in the eastern part.

Most of the 4,226 km is diesel with 140 km electrified.
Encyclopedia
Ferrocarriles de Cuba or Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Cuba (English: National Railway Company of Cuba), the only railway operating in the Caribbean islands, provides passenger and freight services for Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.

Route Network

Ferrocarriles de Cuba uses (standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

) that extends from Guane
Guane
Guane is a municipality and city in the Pinar del Río Province of Cuba.The municipality is divided into the barrios of Cabo de San Antonio y La Fe, Catalina, Cortés, Hato de Guane, Isabel Rubio , Juan Gómez, La Grifa, Las Martinas, Los Acostas, Manuel Lazo , Portales, Pueblo, Punta de la Sierra,...

 (province Pinar del Río) in the westernmost part of the island up to the bay of Guantánamo
Guantánamo
Guantánamo is a municipality and city in southeast Cuba and capital of Guantánamo Province.Guantánamo is served by the Caimanera port and the site of a famous U.S. Naval base. The area produces sugarcane and cotton wool...

 in the eastern part.

Most of the 4,226 km is diesel with 140 km electrified. The branch to Trinidad
Trinidad, Cuba
-External links:* , Online travel guide to Trinidad* , Selected photos of Trinidad* , Photos of Trinidad...

 in the south coast is damaged at a bridge and the rail service there is no longer connected to the rest of the national rail network. Local railcars run from the damaged bridge through Trinidad to the coast daily plus a steam locomotive and two home-built coaches on tourist tours through the sugar cane valleys of the Escambray Mountains
Escambray Mountains
The Escambray Mountains are a mountain range in the central region of Cuba, in the provinces of Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara....

.

The flagship Tren Francés ("French train") travels between Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

 and Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

 and is operated by coaches originally used in Europe between Paris and Amsterdam on the ex-TEE
Trans Europ Express
The Trans Europ Express, or Trans-Europe Express, is a former international railway service in Europe. At its maximum extent, in 1974, the network comprised 45 trains, connecting 130 different cities.-Origin:...

 service. The train is formed by 12 coaches and a Chinese-built diesel locomotive.

The Hershey Railway is an electrified railway from Havana to Matanzas
Matanzas
Matanzas is the capital of the Cuban province of Matanzas. It is famed for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore.It is located on the northern shore of the island of Cuba, on the Bay of Matanzas , east of the capital Havana and west of the resort town of Varadero.Matanzas is called the...

 that was built by the Hershey Company
The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company, known until April 2005 as the Hershey Foods Corporation and commonly called Hershey's, is the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America. Its headquarters are in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is also home to Hershey's Chocolate World. It was founded by Milton S...

 in order to facilitate transport of workers and products after it had bought sugar plantations in 1916. It is a commuter service running in northern Havana and Matanzas provinces, and some original equipment still exists.

Colonial Cuba

In 1836 Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros established a horse drawn railway service called Ferrocarril de Camagüey a Nuevitas in Camagüey
Camagüey
Camagüey is a city and municipality in central Cuba and is the nation's third largest city. It is the capital of the Camagüey Province.After almost continuous attacks from pirates the original city was moved inland in 1528.The new city was built with a confusing lay-out of winding alleys that made...

 (Puerto Príncipe).

Cuba's railway history began on October 12, 1834 when the regent queen of Spain Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies was Queen consort of Spain and Regent of Spain .-Early years and first marriage:...

 approved the building of the first line. When the Compania de Caminos de Hierro de La Habana opened the 27.5 km line from Havana to Bejucal on November 19, 1837, it was the first steam railway line in Latin America. At this point Spain did not possess any railroad lines. The 27.5 km long line from Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

 was extended by an additional 17 km to Guines
Guines
-Similar spellings:* Gines * Güeñes, municipality in Biscay, Spain* Guinness...

 on 19 November 1839. By December 1843 the cities San Felipe and Batabano
Batabano
Batabano is the name of the Caribbean Carnival held in the Cayman Islands. It is an annual event held in May. There are two parades held during this time in Grand Cayman: one for adults and one for children...

 were added to the rail network and further extensions were added in 1847 (17 km), 1848 (21 km), and 1849 (21 km).

Havana had its first streetcar (Ferrocarril Urbano de la Habana) when its service commenced on 3 February 1859.

Pre-Revolutionary Cuba

American born Canadian railway builder Sir William Van Horne helped expand Cuba's railway network in the early 20th Century. He was an investor in the Cuba Railroad Company (founded 1902).

In 1924 Ferrocarriles Consolidados de Cuba was created from a dispute between Ferrocarriles Consolidados de Cuba and Ferrocarriles de Cuba.

Other railway companies would form and merge together in the 1920s:
  • Ferrocarriles del Norte de Cuba 1916
  • Ferrocarril Espirituano Tunas de Zaza
  • Ferrocarril Guantánamo y Occidente


From 1940 to 1959 Cuba's railway system was interrupted by fuel shortage during and after World War II. They were replaced by buses, which transported both passengers and freight

A few sugar factories switched over to diesel electric locomotives to haul freight.

Train ferry

  • Prior to the revolution there was a train ferry between Miami and Havana.
  • The West India Fruit and Steamship Company
    West India Fruit and Steamship Company
    The West India Fruit and Steamship Company operated a railcar ferry service between the Port of Palm Beach, Florida and Havana, Cuba from shortly after World War II until deteriorating relations between the United States and Cuba culminated in the United States embargo against Cuba...

     was one of a number of companies to provide such service.

Post-Revolutionary Cuba

The destruction of Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

's armoured train
Armoured train
An armoured train is a train protected with armour. They are usually equipped with railroad cars armed with artillery and machine guns. They were mostly used during the late 19th and early 20th century, when they offered an innovative way to quickly move large amounts of firepower...

 by the revolutionaries in the Battle of Santa Clara
Battle of Santa Clara
The Battle of Santa Clara was a series of events in late December 1958 that led to the capture of the Cuban city of Santa Clara by revolutionaries under the command of Che Guevara...

 in December 1958 was an important stepping stone in the Cuban revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

.

After the revolution in 1959, the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Cuba was created by nationalizing the private and public railway systems. MINAZ continued to operate a separate railway system, mainly to transport sugar products.

From 1963 to 1966, British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

 helped the national railway obtain newer locomotives which were based on the Brush Type 4 locomotives at the time being built at Brush Traction
Brush Traction
This article is about a British rail-locomotive maker. For the Detroit auto-maker, see Brush Motor Car CompanyBrush Traction is a manufacturer and maintainer of railway locomotives, part of the FKI group , based at Loughborough in Leicestershire, England situated alongside the Midland Main Line.-...

 in Loughborough, but the final assembly of the Cuban locomotives was performed at Clayton Equipment Company
Clayton Equipment Company
Clayton Equipment Company Ltd, now known simply as Clayton Equipment Ltd or CEC and CEL, is a locomotive construction company that specialises in locomotives for underground mining operations.-Inception:...

 Hatton, Derbyshire. After the Cuban missile crisis, it became harder for Cuba to buy new railway equipment because of the United States embargo against Cuba
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

. Some trains were delivered via shipment with ships from third countries like the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

. For example, the British locomotive shipped from Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

 using Yugoslavian ships.

Purchase of new trains and parts to Cuba with the Western Bloc
Western Bloc
The Western Bloc or Capitalist Bloc during the Cold War refers to the powers allied with the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact...

, stopped from the late 1960s, was replaced through trade with the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

. This trade link collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Cuba was able to obtain used trains, and even new locomotives, from friendly nations not affected by the embargo:
  • 5 Type RSC18
    MLW RSC-14
    The MLW RSC-14 was a diesel-electric locomotive rebuilt by Canadian National Railway from locomotives originally supplied by Montreal Locomotive Works.These locomotives began life as MLW RS-18s for the Canadian National Railway...

     locomotives were shipped from Canada
  • 9 electrical motor coaches from Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) (Catalonian Government Railways) of Spain


Starting from 2000, the Cuban railway network was improved by more second hand equipment. Larger number now used vehicles were coming from Canada, Mexico and Europe. In 2002 used light rubbing cars (BR771) from Germany.

Much of Cuba's trains are diesel and only a handful are steam locomotives remain for the sugar industry and the tourism industries.

After the 1990s, China became the new supplier of railway cars for Cuba. In 2006, 12 new locomotives (Type DF7G-C at 2500 HP) were shipped to Cuba. China Railways
China Railways
China Railways is the national railway operator of the People's Republic of China, under the Chinese Ministry of Railways.China Railways operates rail commuter and freight transport via several smaller companies....

 also sold some of their retired cars.

Recent developments

On September 25, 2007, investors from the Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

n Bank for Socio-Economic Development (BANDES) reached an agreement with transportation officials in Cuba to invest US$100 million for infrastructure improvements and repairs to Cuba's rail network. The work is expected to help increase the average speed of trains on Cuba's railways from 40 km/h (25 mph) to 100 km/h (62 mph). As part of the agreement, Cuban engineers will also work on similar projects on Venezuela's rail network.

In October 2007, the Cuban railways ordered two hundred passenger cars and 550 freight wagons from Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian manufacturer Wagon Pars
Wagon Pars
Wagon Pars is an Iranian train manufacturing company established in 1974, in Arak, Iran.Products include locomotives, trains, metros, freight and fuel wagons, and equipment for passenger boarding of aircraft.-History:...

.

In May 2010, the Cuban government announced wide-ranging plans to repair the railway network, buy new rolling stock, and open four centres to train railway workers.

Roster

Model Manufacturer Numbers Notes
TE114K Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

 [ru]
Voroshilovgrad Locomotive Factory
Luhanskteplovoz
Luhanskteplovoz , earlier known as Voroshilovgrad Locomotive works is a large industrial company in Luhansk, Ukraine, manufacturing locomotives, multiple unit trains as well as other heavy equipment....

, USSR
108
TEM2TK Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

 [ru]
Bryansk Engineering Works [ru], USSR 79
DVM-9 diesel electric locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

MÁVAG
MÁVAG
MÁVAG was a Hungarian rail vehicle producer. MÁVAG was the property of the Kingdom of Hungary. After the World War II MÁVAG was nationalized, and "Királyi" was removed from its name.The company employed thousands of workers. The buildings were in the VIII...

 (Ganz
Ganz
The Ganz electric works in Budapest is probably best known for the manufacture of tramcars, but was also a pioneer in the application of three-phase alternating current to electric railways. Ganz also made / makes: ships , bridge steel structures , high voltage equipment...

), Hungary
70
MX624 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

MLW
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

, Canada
50 imported in 1976
G8
EMD G8
The EMD G8 was a General Motors-built diesel locomotive of which 382 were built between 1954 and 1965 for both export and domestic use. They were built by both Electro-Motive Division in the United States and by General Motors Diesel Division in Canada for use in ten countries, being equipped to...

 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

General Motors Electro-Motive Division, USA 51
TEM4 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

Bryansk Engineering Works [ru], USSR 40
040-DE diesel electric locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

Brissonneau et Lotz, France 42 Similar to French BB 63000 [fr]
TEM15 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

Voroshilovgrad Locomotive Factory
Luhanskteplovoz
Luhanskteplovoz , earlier known as Voroshilovgrad Locomotive works is a large industrial company in Luhansk, Ukraine, manufacturing locomotives, multiple unit trains as well as other heavy equipment....

, USSR
25
GMD GMD1
GMD GMD1
The GMD GMD1 was a diesel locomotive produced by General Motors Diesel , the Canadian subsidiary of General Motors Electro-Motive Division, between August 1958 and April 1960. This switcher locomotive was powered by a 12-cylinder EMD 567C diesel engine, capable of producing 1,200 horsepower. The...

 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

 switcher
General Motors Electro-Motive Division, USA 21 Sold in 1990s by CN Rail
M62K Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

Voroshilovgrad Locomotive Factory
Luhanskteplovoz
Luhanskteplovoz , earlier known as Voroshilovgrad Locomotive works is a large industrial company in Luhansk, Ukraine, manufacturing locomotives, multiple unit trains as well as other heavy equipment....

, USSR
20
C30-7 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

GE Transportation Systems
GE Transportation Systems
GE Transportation, formerly known as GE Rail, is a division of General Electric. The organization manufactures equipment for the railroad, marine, mining, drilling and energy generation industries. It is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Locomotives are assembled at the Erie plant, while engine...

, USA
19 Acquired via Mexico
BR 771 railbuses [de] VEB Waggonbau Bautzen, GDR 17 all sold after 2000
BR 971 railbuses [de] VEB Waggonbau Bautzen, GDR 3
BR 772 railbuses [de] VEB Waggonbau Bautzen, GDR 15
BR 972 railbuses [de] VEB Waggonbau Bautzen, GDR 22
DF7G-C diesel electric locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

CNR
China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation
China CNR Corporation Limited formerly known as China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation is a state-owned enterprise supervised by the State Council of the People's Republic of China.-History:...

 Beijing February 7 Locomotive Works, China
47/112 again supplied 2005/2006/2008–2009–2010
DF7K-C diesel electric locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

CNR
China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation
China CNR Corporation Limited formerly known as China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation is a state-owned enterprise supervised by the State Council of the People's Republic of China.-History:...

, China
5 First 5 arrived in 2008
GMD1
GMD GMD1
The GMD GMD1 was a diesel locomotive produced by General Motors Diesel , the Canadian subsidiary of General Motors Electro-Motive Division, between August 1958 and April 1960. This switcher locomotive was powered by a 12-cylinder EMD 567C diesel engine, capable of producing 1,200 horsepower. The...

 Diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

General Motors Electro-Motive Division, Canada 12 From Canadian National Railway
Canadian National Railway
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

 to Cuba in 1999


Freight cars are mainly acquired from the former East Bloc countries and the then USSR whereas passenger cars from Cuban friendly countries (Spain, Japan, Canada and France)].,

External links

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