Thursday 29 September 2022

Cuba debuts modern Chinese train

The Havana-Guantanamo trip costs from 200 Cuban pesos (US$8) roundtrip,

Paying the bills

Latest

Ministry of Housing approves rent adjustment at 10.64% due to inflation

QCOSTARICA - Do you pay rent? Pay attention: the...

Vaccination against Covid-19 for children between 6 months and 5 years of age will start on Tuesday

QCOSTARICA - Pediatric vaccination against Covid-19 will start next...

Viaduct would be a definitive solution for Ruta 27 with serious sinking problem

QCOSTARICA - Kilometer 44 on the Ruta 27 has...

Diplomatic slip? President Chaves congratulates Italian political party

QCOSTARICA - Experts in international relations consider unconventional  Costa...

Costa Rica legislators reject global income tax

QCOSTARICA - The Treasury Affairs Legislative Committee rejected a...

Therapeutic abortion: how accessible is it for women in Costa Rica?

QCOSTARICA - In Costa Rica, therapeutic abortion is allowed...

Best Things To Do in Costa Rica

Stunning beaches, lush rainforests, mountains with waterfalls, and charming...

Dollar Exchange

¢628.19 Buy

¢636.39 Sell

29 September 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

Paying the bills

Share

HAVANA (AP) — The first train using new equipment from China pulled out of Havana Saturday, hauling excited passengers on the start of a 915-kilometer (516-mile) journey to the eastern end of the island as the government tries to overhaul the country’s aging and decrepit rail system.

Passengers board the first train using new equipment from China , in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 13, 2019. The first train using new equipment from China pulled out of Havana Saturday, hauling passengers on the start of a 915-kilometer (516-mile) journey to the eastern end of the island as the government tries to overhaul the country’s aging and decrepit rail system. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The 14 gleaming Chinese cars and a locomotive departed the city’s central train station and will wend their way through nine cities before ending in Guantanamo 15 hours later. It has four air-conditioned wagons and a rolling restaurant car. Previously the trip could take days because of equipment breakdowns and track erosion.

It marks a first step of an overhaul Cuba’s communist government started early last year, repairing some 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) of aging tracks and dozens of tumble-down stations scattered around the island.

A passenger in an American classic car watches as the first train using new equipment from China rides past, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 13, 2019. The first train using new equipment from China pulled out of Havana Saturday, hauling passengers on the start of a 915-kilometer (516-mile) journey to the eastern end of the island as the government tries to overhaul the country’s aging and decrepit rail system. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
- Advertisement -

“It’s a blessing from God because we had to take this trip and private cars are very expensive, but we got a very good low fare and we are proud to be taking this train,” said 69-year-old passenger Virginia Pardo.

But much remains to be done to bring Cuba’s ailing train system up to acceptable standards with miles of rusting tracks and just a handful of reliably equipped trains.

Cuba received a shipment of 80 new train carriages and locomotives in early May, part of a promised consignment of 250 pieces of new equipment by the end of 2019.

The first train using new equipment from China rides past, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 13, 2019. The first train using new equipment from China pulled out of Havana Saturday, hauling passengers on the start of a 915-kilometer (516-mile) journey to the eastern end of the island as the government tries to overhaul the country’s aging and decrepit rail system. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

“We have more work to do because there needs to be better organization to travel on the train, so people don’t get so overworked and desperate to travel on it,” said 57-year-old passenger Angel Matamoros.

The government hopes a revamp of the system will restore one of the region’s first country-wide rail services, heavily used to move goods and people around the island. It is part of a plan that runs until 2030, when the government hopes the system will be fully functional.

According to the Cuban Transportation Ministry, trains carried 6.7 million passengers in 2018, a sharp drop from almost 11 million passengers in 2004. The government hopes to increase ridership by 1 million in 2019 on long distance routes. Train service to the far-eastern cities of Santiago, Holguin, Camaguey and Guantanamo are heavily used by locals.

Cadets board the first train using new equipment from China, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 13, 2019. The first train using new equipment from China pulled out of Havana Saturday, hauling passengers on the start of a 915-kilometer (516-mile) journey to the eastern end of the island as the government tries to overhaul the country’s aging and decrepit rail system. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
- Advertisement -

The Havana-Guantanamo trip costs from 200 Cuban pesos (US$8) roundtrip, to as little as 20 Cuban pesos (80 US cents) between Havana-Matanzas, the first stop on the island-wide circuit.

The low costs are still challenging for many Cubans who only earn on average $40 a month, but are far cheaper than bus, plane or car travel.

Cuba is the only country in the Caribbean that offers island-wide rail service and once boasted the first country-wide rail line in Latin America, which started service in 1837 with a 17-mile (27-kilometer) long line built to transport sugarcane.

- Advertisement -
Paying the bills

Related Articles

Cuba legalizes gay marriage

Q24N - Cubans approved in a referendum with 66.87% of votes...

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua without invitation to the Summit of the Americas,

Q REPORTS  - Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, led by the regimes...

Subscribe to our stories

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.