Hershey Electric Railway

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Hershey Electric Railway
Hershey Electric Railway.JPG
Overview
Type Commuter rail
Status Operational
Locale Havana and Matanzas Provinces, Cuba
Termini Havana 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)
Operation
Opened 1917 (Hershey railway station to Havana Casablanca railway station
1918 (Hershey railway station to Matanzas Versalles railway station)
Owner Ferrocarriles de Cuba
Operator(s) Ferrocarriles de Cuba
Depot(s) Hershey railway station
Rolling stock Brill Interurban
Technical
Number of tracks Single
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Hershey Electric Railway
Havana Casablanca
to and from Cojímar
to Havana La Coubre
Molina
from Havana la Coubre
Bahía
Guanabacoa
from Havana la Coubre
Cuadra
Elisa
Bacuranao
Tarará-Barrera
Justiz
Las Playas
Corona
Guanabo
to Playas del Este
La Lima
Portilla
Penas Altas
Elio Llerena
San Francisco
Milto Padrón
San Matías
Río Blanco
La Sierra
Hershey (Camilo Cienfuegos)
to and from Jaruco
Paula
San Mateo
to Rubion-Caraballo
Camagoira
from Santa Cruz del Norte
Jibacoa
San Lorenzo
Calderán
Concuni
Armenteros
Avendanos
Canasí
Desquite
San Juan
Las Canadas
San José
Nano
San Esteban
San Adrian
San Antonio
Corral Nuevo
San Miguel
Margot
Mena
Los Mangos
to Santa Clara
Matanzas

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 J. G. Brill Company, but these were replaced by cars from the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya in the 1990s.[3][4]

Overview[edit]

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 1/2 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 Callé 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. Other branches exists 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]

References[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". 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. ^ Staff (June 1998). "World Update". Railway Age. 199 (6): 24. 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