Cuba invests billions in railway modernization

Posted: 29-Jul-16 13:14

Featuring the Caribbean's most extensive railway system, Cuba has been left behind in terms of technology for their trains. After signing several financial agreements with other countries, Cuban authorities announced they will invest $1.3 billion in the modernization of the rail sector on a plan that will extend from 2016-2021.

Cuba invests billions in railway modernization

When one thinks of transport in Cuba, the railway system is usually the last option anyone considers. This fact is sadly due to the poor state of existing wagons and the inefficiency and tardiness of its service. This year, however, we can certainly be optimistic about this situation changing as Cuban authorities announced they would invest billions to modernize the rail sector.

Enrique Valdes, general director of Empresa de Ferrocarriles Centro Este (Centre-East Railway Enterprise), part of Union de Ferrocarriles de Cuba (Cuban Railway Union), recently informed the national media about this ambitious plan which will extend from 2016 to 2021. $40 million will be addressed to the computerization of the railway system and other amounts will focus on fibre optic data transmission, a project that is currently being carried out in Camaguey and will extend all the way to Santiago de Cuba. Improving the rail communication system and ensuring a more efficient, faster and safer rail traffic management are the main targets.

This bold announcement comes after the Cuban government signed a loan agreement with the Export Insurance Agency of Russia to finance the modernisation of its locomotive fleet in June. During St Petersburg International Economic Forum, both parties signed and agreed to a close inspection of various locomotive maintenance facilities in Cuba by officials from Lyudinovo locomotive works.

The loan will be used in part to overhaul the existing fleet of type TGM4 (Cuban class 37) and TGM6 (Cuban class 38) locomotives. This includes modernisation of the Cienaga Locomotive Shops in Havana and spare parts for modernisation and overhaul of 75 TGM locomotives.

Another interesting development that took place before this final decision to optimize the island’s rail sector was the renovation of Havana Central Railway Station. On 24th June, the building closed its doors for the start of a three-year rebuilding and upgrading project, which will include the construction of additional platforms.

If all goes according to plan, this mean of transportation which has existed in Cuba since the early 19th century can regain its former glory and become not only an advantage for locals but also an attractive option for tourists. Travel experts with deep knowledge of Cuba always recommend the unique travel experiences in the Hershey Train that runs the Havana-Matanzas route, as well as new programmes like the Cuba by Rail and Cruise package which allows you an authentic and vintage feel of the nation’s city and countryside.


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