Hershey Electric Railway

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Hershey Electric Railway
Hershey Electric Railway.JPG
OwnerFerrocarriles de Cuba
LocaleHavana and Matanzas Provinces, Cuba
TerminiHavana Casablanca railway station
23°08′32″N 82°20′41″W / 23.1423°N 82.3448°W / 23.1423; -82.3448 (Havana Casablanca railway station)
Matanzas Versalles railway station
23°03′08″N 81°34′27″W / 23.0521°N 81.5743°W / 23.0521; -81.5743 (Matanzas Versalles railway station)
TypeCommuter rail
Operator(s)Ferrocarriles de Cuba
Depot(s)Hershey railway station
Rolling stockBrill Interurban
Opened1917 (Hershey railway station to Havana Casablanca railway station)
1918 (Hershey railway station to Matanzas Versalles railway station)
Number of tracksSingle
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Hershey Electric Railway
Havana Casablanca station
to and from Cojímar
to Havana La Coubre
from Havana la Coubre
from Havana la Coubre
Las Playas
to Playas del Este
La Lima
Penas Altas
Elio Llerena
San Francisco
Milto Padrón
San Matías
Río Blanco
La Sierra
Hershey (Camilo Cienfuegos)
to and from Jaruco
San Mateo
to Rubion-Caraballo
San Lorenzo
San Juan
Las Canadas
San José
San Esteban
San Adrian
San Antonio
Corral Nuevo
San Miguel
Los Mangos
Matanzas Versalles station

The Hershey Electric Railway, also known as the Hershey Railway, is a standard-gauge electric interurban railway that runs from Casablanca, Havana, to the city of Matanzas, approximately 92 kilometres (57 mi) to the east.[1] There are a number of intermediate halts and a station and depot at the town of Camilo Cienfuegos, better known by its pre-revolutionary name of Hershey. The railway is the only surviving electric line in Cuba.[2] The railway was built by The Hershey Company to transport sugar to the port of Havana. The original electric interurban cars were bought from the JG Brill Company, but these were replaced by 60-year old cars from the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya in the 1990s.[3][4]


Train waiting to depart at Havana Casablanca station

There are usually three trains per day, each way between Havana Casablanca and Matanzas, meeting at Hershey Station, the midpoint. The early morning and later afternoon trains allow commuters to go to work at the end-points, the mid-day provides supplementary service. The end-to-end time is approximately ​3 12 hours. The service can be irregular and journeys may be truncated without prior notice.[2] The main stops are at Guanabo, Hershey, San Mateo, Jibaco, Canasi, San Antonio and Matanzas, which have modest station buildings. There are also other stops with small platforms and there can be numerous intermediate halts at road crossings serviced on demand. There are four branches from the main line in current use, running to Playas del Este, Jaruco, Bainoa and Santa Cruz del Norte. There is local passenger service from Calle 7 Station in Hershey (near the maintenance facility) to San Antonio de Rio Blanco and Jaruco. There may also still be local passenger service from Hershey Station to Caraballo on the Bainoa branch. These are rarely used since 2000, but in the summer months, diesel hauled excursion trains run from Havana's La Coubre station to Playas del Este, a popular destination for city dwellers. In March 2012 there were 4 daily trains between Caraballo, Hershey and Playas del Este, having to reverse at Guanabo Jct. Other branches exist but have not been used in recent years. The branch to the Havana Club dark rum factory in Santa Cruz del Norte is no longer electrified and tank cars of molasses are delivered by diesel locomotives running out of Matanzas.

The maintenance facility is in Hershey, near the Callé 7 platforms, and the remains of the Hershey sugar refinery. Apparently one or more Brill cars are stored there for occasional tourist use, along with a GE steeple cab locomotive and a tower car to maintain the overhead catenary lines. Line voltage is 1200 volts DC. Ties are concrete, rails are jointed (not continuous/welded) and power poles wooden, usually on the south side. To minimize construction costs, the scenic roadbed tends to follow the contours of the land, with many curves to minimize grades. The line serves communities and regions roughly midway between the Carretera Central and coastal Via Blanca highways, between Havana and Matanzas. These areas would otherwise have no public transportation and poor road service.

When the Hershey line was constructed circa 1916, largely to support the Hershey sugar refinery, the main railway operator in Havana province, United Railways, refused to allow the Hershey train access to its tracks so a new terminus was built at Casablanca, which is across the harbour from Habana Vieja, connected by a ferry service.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Enoch, Marcus; Warren, James P; Valdés Rı́os, Humberto; Henrı́quez Menoyo, Enrique (January 2004). "The effect of economic restrictions on transport practices in Cuba" (PDF). Transport Policy. 11 (1): 67–76. doi:10.1016/S0967-070X(03)00054-4.
  2. ^ a b Ewing, Ed (21 February 2008). "Slow train across Cuba". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  3. ^ Delgado Valdés, Elio (11 November 2012). "Cuba's only Electric Train, the Hershey". Havana Times. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  4. ^ "World Update". Railway Age. 199 (6): 24. June 1998. ISSN 0033-8826.
  5. ^ Maller, Yury. "Hershey Electric Interurban Network". World Tram & Trolleybus Systems. Retrieved 4 April 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Hershey Electric Railway at Wikimedia Commons