W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

Worldwide Narrow Gauges => Other Narrow Gauge => Topic started by: Brendan Barry on January 01, 2015, 05:47:36 AM

Title: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Brendan Barry on January 01, 2015, 05:47:36 AM
Wonder what one of these would sound like coming up the mountain. Only have to press the wheels in  1 3/4 inches on each side.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=137179&nseq=190
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Mike Fox on January 01, 2015, 02:15:58 PM
That is an awesome looking locomotive
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Wayne Laepple on January 02, 2015, 02:26:38 PM
Unfortunately, it's probably been scrapped. I understand many Cuban steam locomotives have been scrapped in the last decade. When the Cuban sugar industry tanked after Russia stopped buying, the desperate Cuban government sold many of the abandoned sugar mills for scrap, and everything went, right down to the concrete foundations. Everything included locomotives, cars and track.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Allan Fisher on January 02, 2015, 03:37:41 PM
Actually, you see all kinds of narrow gauge steam stored in three different places around Havana. The official line is they are being saved for a railroad museum to be built in the future - but I think they are there to be sold to the highest bidders.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Wayne Laepple on January 02, 2015, 04:46:41 PM
While the Cuban government has gathered a substantial number of steam locomotives in several places, they represent only a small percentage of what was active there 15 years ago. According to sources who have been to Cuba in recent times, more than 200 mills and their associated railway infrastructure have been scrapped since 2004, and during the 2014 season, only four of the remaining mills operated, and none used steam power. The remaining locomotives, according to the folks I know who have been there as recently as 2013, are mostly standard gauge, with less than two dozen narrow gauge engines, including two of the 27-1/2 inch gauge engines, still in existence. I am told that the only operating steam in Cuba as of this date are a handful that operate in tourist service.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: John Stone on January 02, 2015, 07:02:55 PM
If only the museum had access to a four-masted schooner to go retrieve such a gem!
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Steve Smith on January 03, 2015, 05:43:05 AM
27-1/2 inches seems like an oddball gauge. Might they have been built as 700 mm gauge? There's only a 1.5 mm difference.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Glenn Christensen on January 03, 2015, 01:31:44 PM
Hi Steve,

Yes, the locos at Centrals Simon Bolivar and Obdullio Morales were speced for 700mm gauge.  But that gauge is so unusual, I surmise earlier railfans didn't know to use a metric ruler.  As a result, I've seen the gauge variously reported as 27", 27.5", and 27.75" gauge.
 
The book "Narrow Gauge Railways of Cuba" by Christopher Walker, the most authoritative work I have on the subject, lists both lines (and a few others), as 700mm gauge.


Best Regards,
Glenn
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Keith Taylor on January 03, 2015, 08:42:32 PM
I was thinking of something a little more along these lines from Cuba. This rascal with the wooden cab would look right at home at the WW&F.

Keith
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on January 23, 2015, 05:58:50 PM
All;
I've just booked a trip to Cuba for November. While we will be highly scheduled does anyone know the areas where I should be on the look out for narrow gauge steam?
Dave
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Glenn Christensen on January 23, 2015, 11:41:08 PM
Hi Dave,

Going to Cuba seeking steam!!!

AWESOME!!!  I wish I could go with you!  Maybe a future trip.

Other than the Rafael Fryre (which Keith kindly depicted above) I wish I could tell you which other narrow gauge lines have still not been torn up.  

The Rafael Freyre was/is located in the town of Santa Lucia, which is located in Holguin province at the northeastern end of the island. The railroad is 30" gauge.  The resort town of Guardalavaca is nearby and the hotels offer bus tours to the railroad where a tourist train utilizes their little 1882 Baldwin 0-6-0 tender locomotive #1, "La Mambista", with two or three open excursion cars.  I understand at least two of the railroad's beautiful, outside frame, Baldwin 2-8-0s remain on site.  Another 2-8-0 locomotive has been repainted and placed on roadside display in the same general area.  I believe the railroad also runs a railbus service for local residents.  Before 2004, the Rafael Freyre was widely regarded by rail fans to be the longest, most scenic, and all-round beautiful narrow gauge railroad in Cuba.

The second-most highly regarded 30" gauge line was the Mal Tiempo which was located just south of the FCC station in Cruces, Cienfuegos province. Unfortunately, Google Earth's satillite view seems to show the line has been torn up.  So too are other Cienfuegos province 30" railroads like the Espartaco (in Hormiguero) and Pepito Tey (in Soledad)

The two 700mm lines were the Obdulio Morales and Simon Bolivar, both centered in the town of Yaguajay, Sancti Spiritus province.   I understand the Simon Bolivar mill has been torn down.  I don't know whether the Obdulio Morales mill has been torn down or not.  I also don't know whether the track has been lifted either.

Nearer Havana, other 30" gauge lines included: the Humberto Alvarez in Matanzas province and the Gregorio Arlee Manalich in La Habana province.

The Augusto Cesar Sandino railroad was a 3' gauge sugar line that ran in La Habana province, which is sadly long gone. Happily, I understand all its equipment has been moved to the railroad in Lenin Park, Havana.  

I also understand that a few of the locos from the 30" gauge lines have been moved to Lenin Park, and to at least two other locations in Havana.  But I don't recall where at the moment.

Please contact me directly if can can help further.


Best Regards,
Glenn
  
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Roger Cole on January 24, 2015, 12:47:33 AM
Pentrex put out a VHS tape in 1996 titled "Cuba Steam".  I have a copy and have watched it several times.  The 50s US automobiles are an added bonus.  It has been re-released in DVD form.  It pretty well covered all the sugar mills that still used steam at that time.  With the attempt to relax travel restrictions to Cuba, it should be a popular-selling title.  There is also a DVD by Machines of Iron titled "Cuba 1998" of which I do not have a copy.  If you check on Ebay, you will find both titles listed for sale.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Philip Marshall on January 24, 2015, 04:30:43 AM
Hi Dave,

The folks at internationalsteam.co.uk have compiled a handy list of preserved steam locomotives in Havana as of 2011, with several narrow gauge engines represented:

http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/trains/cuba0901.htm (http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/trains/cuba0901.htm)

Have fun and please take lots of pictures for us!

P.S.: One engine I'm curious about in particular is MINAZ 1326, a 30" gauge Baldwin 2-8-0. Its Baldwin builder's plate (C/N 14436) recently came up for sale on Ebay, but by all accounts the engine the plate was formerly attached to is still in Havana. It's a bit of a mystery, and suggests some unscrupulous behavior on the part of a visiting railfan with cash and/or screwdriver in hand.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Baldwin-Locomotive-Works-Builders-Plate-Burham-Williams-Co-1895-/221657387184?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item339bcf50b0 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Baldwin-Locomotive-Works-Builders-Plate-Burham-Williams-Co-1895-/221657387184?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item339bcf50b0)


Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Glenn Christensen on January 24, 2015, 03:15:52 PM
Thanks Phillip!  That is a GREAT reference!!!

The last I heard, the Espartaco mill had closed and some of the locos had been moved.  I don't know if the #1326 was one of the locos moved at that time or not.  I can't imagine a railfan getting a locomotive's builder's plate out of Cuba without some bill of sale or something.  Someone was clearly determined to "live dangerously."

Well David, with Phil's list in hand it looks like you're loaded for bear as you explore Havana.


Best Regards,
Glenn!
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0 OT
Post by: Ira Schreiber on January 24, 2015, 09:00:21 PM
 I was able to get several builder's plates out of Russia in 1993. It was even done almost legally.

Ira
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0 OT
Post by: Mike the Choochoo Nix on January 25, 2015, 02:54:49 AM
I was able to get several builder's plates out of Russia in 1993. It was even done almost legally.

Ira
from US manufactured loco's?
Mike N.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Ira Schreiber on January 25, 2015, 03:16:49 PM
No, Russian and Polish.
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on January 27, 2015, 02:05:25 AM
Thank you all for your suggestions. I'm looking forward to the trip. I'll make sure to take plenty of photos.
Dave
Title: Re: Cuban 27.5 gauge 2-8-0
Post by: John Kokas on January 27, 2015, 06:40:54 PM
Looking at the list from 2011 I noted with interest a 27 1/2" Baldwin 2-6-0 still remaining.  Hmmmmmm..............