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Railway Museum in Cuba attracts holidaymakers' visits

Updated on March 26, 2012

Old trains in Cuba

Steam Train, Cuba
Steam Train, Cuba | Source

Railway fans have a new attraction in Cuba

Foreign tourists visiting Cuba and on Havana holidays become more interested in visiting the island's Museum of Railway. Many efforts have been done to preserve and restore old locomotives that once served the solid national sugar industry.

Cuba treasures the oldest and best-preserved American and British steam locomotives in the world, to the point that some of them are fit for riding on railways. In this context, foreign visitors spending Havana holidays become more interested in knowing and visiting the Cuba's Museum of Railway.

This museum, located in Old Havana, Cuba; a quaint town declared World Heritage since 1982 and one of top holiday destinations in Cuba, is home to antique locomotives that were brought from Great Britain and the United States in the first half of 19th century.

The Caribbean island was the first country in introducing the locomotive and building railways in Latin America, second after the United States and seventh in the world, by setting in motion the locomotive that inaugurated the Havana-Bejucal section on 19th November 1837.

Jorge Castro Columbie, specialist of the Museum of Railway, explained that the oldest locomotive in the island is La Junta, from the U.S., one of the 10 best preserved in the world and declared National Heritage, with more than 70 per cent of its part being original.

Castro added that the second oldest locomotive is from Great Britain, manufactured in 1873 by Manning Wardle and Co., the only one of its kind in the world. The small British locomotive, used for decades in the sugar industry, has today an important place in the Museum.

This institution, situated in the heart of the city's historical centre, where everyday thousands of Cuban locals and foreign tourists visit the network of museums in this area during their Havana holidays, displays 175 years of history of railway in Cuba.

The theme rooms of the museum show steam, diesel and electric locomotives; communication and sign equipments; and an operation room of a railway station from mid 20th century, with telephones, telegraphs, lamps, furniture and other original materials.

These old locomotives, legally protected as Cuban heritage, can also be found in other parts of the country where the sugar industry played an important role, especially near sugar factories.

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