Tren Francés

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Tren Francés
TEE L'Étoile du Nord Cuba.jpg
A coach of the Tren Francés in Las Tunas station depot
Service typeInter-city rail
Locale Cuba
Current operator(s)Ferrocarriles de Cuba
EndSantiago de Cuba
Distance travelled854 km (531 mi)
Average journey time14 hours, 45 minutes[1]
Service frequencyEvery 3 days[1]
Train number(s)1 and 2[1][2]
Line(s) usedHavana-Santiago
On-board services
Class(es)1st and 2nd[3]
Sleeping arrangementsno
Auto-rack arrangementsno
Catering facilitiesOn-board cafeteria
Rolling stock1 diesel locomotive (from CR)
12 ex-TEE coaches (from SNCF)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Route map
Tren Francés route map within Cuba
The TEE coaches (right) used for the Francés. The pictures shows the TEE Étoile du Nord in Paris Nord station (1995)

Tren Francés (Spanish for "French Train") is the name of the flagship Cuban InterCity service between Havana and Santiago.[4] Owned by Ferrocarriles de Cuba, it is operated by SNCF ex-Trans Europ Express (TEE) PBA coaches [fr], originally used in Europe between Paris and Amsterdam, on the Étoile du Nord service and Mistral 69 coaches [fr] used in France between Paris and Nice on Le Mistral. Both these two french flagship trains were replaced by TGV and Thalys from 1982 (Mistral) to 1996 (Étoile du Nord). The Tren Francés is formed by 12 coaches and a Chinese-built diesel locomotive.[5]


The Tren Francés (also spelled El Francés or Especial),[2][6] named after the country of origin of the coaches (France), donated by SNCF to FFCC in 2001,[3][7] is the fastest long-distance service in Cuba. It has the most modern coaches and is divided into two classes named primera especial (1st) and primera (nominally 1st, idenfitiable as 2nd). There are no sleeping cars, couchettes or car-carrying wagons.[3]


Travelling along the Havana-Santiago line, the Tren Francés makes intermediate stops only at the main cities of Santa Clara and Camagüey. Other important cities traversed along the route are Matanzas, Colón, Ciego de Ávila, Florida, and Las Tunas. Some junction stations to nearby provincial capitals are served at Cabaiguán (for Sancti Spíritus) and Cacocum (for Holguín).

Havana – Santiago (eastbound)[1]
Station Time Km / Mi City served
Havana Central 18:27 0 km (0 mi) Havana
Santa Clara 00:06 286 km (178 mi) Santa Clara
Camagüey 03:39 538 km (334 mi) Camagüey
Santiago de Cuba 09:12 854 km (531 mi) Santiago de Cuba
Santiago – Havana (westbound)[1]
Station Time Km / Mi City served
Santiago de Cuba 20:17 0 km (0 mi) Santiago de Cuba
Camagüey 02:07 316 km (196 mi) Camagüey
Santa Clara 06:38 568 km (353 mi) Santa Clara
Havana Central 10:57 854 km (531 mi) Havana

See also[edit]


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