Extreme weather disrupts Cuba’s railways

CUBA’s railways have been badly affected by severe weather several times in recent months.

During the second week of September 2017 the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, Hurricane Irma, left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean and the southern USA.

The north coast of the island of Cuba was particularly hard hit leading to all long-distance passenger trains from Havana to the east of the country being cancelled for some days.

General Motors G8 diesel locomotive No. 50902 (EMD 19820/1955) with a passenger train from Zaza del Medio (only a few hundred metres from a viaduct) to Tunas de Zaza on March 18. This service, for Sancti Spiritus and Tunas de Zaza, is currently suspended after a viaduct was damaged by floodwaters at the end of May. CHRIS WEST

The Hershey Electric Railway, which runs close to the north coast from Casa Blanca, situated on the bay opposite from Havana, to the city of Matanzas, suffered extensive damage, especially to the overhead line equipment, and the operator decided it was not practical to restore the whole of the network.

The decision was taken to concentrate efforts on restoring services on well-used lines close to the town of Hershey, effectively abandoning much of the mainline.

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