ZAFRA 2002 ReporT         




441 Diez de Octubre.
The mill continues to have regular close co-operation with mill 440. 1910 and 1661 reported to have substituted for failed diesels on line work. 1661 also used on loads from LP adjacent to the mill and on intermills to mill 440. The overhaul of 1639 has progressed. Staff claim that there will be more steam line work in the future.

443 Pepito Tey.
Mill closed.

446 Carlos Balino.
Mill open, but with only 1 LP used. No work for the steam. 1555 dumped. 1432 in reserve, but not even ticketed for use in 2002. Plinthed 0-4-0 1157 now numbered 1011 instead of 1439.

448 Simon Bolivar.
The decline continues. Mill closed. This year, both Centeno and the Centro Limpieza LP's were operational, but serviced by 418's diesels. Steam's only duty most days was the intermill working bringing the molasses tankers back from 418 to the transhipment point to be taken on by road. There was not always a loco in steam. Only 1354/60 were seen in use, although 1366 may also have been serviceable.

449 George Washington.
Where is the 0-4-0 tram? It was not on the plinth when the mill was driven past in April.

1551 awaiting a re-tyred front bogie from Matazas after a derailment due to worn flanges. 1517 provided the regular motive power for the tourist train. Some trains did not run due to a dispute between the railway company and the Mayor of Trinidad. This was in regard to building a fence to separate the railway from the old station building, which is being renovated as an art college.

503 Orlando Gonzales Ramirez.
As 2001. The mill now has money for the overhaul of 1736 and work has started.

504 Ecuador.
On occasions the mill ran short of fuel oil for their steam. 1821 suffered a spectacular derailment on April 8th, when it jumped the points at speed 1km. from the mill. The crew were lucky that the loco did not roll over as it ploughed into the ground. It was seen back in action later in April without ill effect. 1904 is now the 2 time winner of the Moron steam festival. 2002 festival is planned for Dec.12-14. 1564/78 in use. 1461 under overhaul.

505 Carlos Manuel de Cespedes.
No steam activity. 1173/1445/1838 seen out of use.

506 Bolivia & 511 Brasil.
Mills not working.

515 Ciro Redondo.
1826 was the mill's only working steam for the Zafra. 1829 under overhaul. 1827 is still at the permanently closed Patria o Muerte mill (517) for the tourist operation, but is little used. Most of the other locos still survive but can (at best) be described as derelicts.

520 Noel Fernandez.
Super fireless 2-8-0 1664 in use. The only working fireless on the island this year?

522 Venezuela.
Mill closed with cane to mill 515 (via mill 504's lines) mostly with diesel and mill 504 with diesel or steam. After mill 504 closed, some cane went to mill 503 by diesel, but on May 2nd, it was worked by 1742 through Ciego de Avila. 1657 was the mill's other working loco. There is evidence near to the mill that some scrapping of locos has taken place in recent years.

601 Salvadore Rosales.
1592 in use some days.

608 Cristino Naranjo.
1591 dumped. No.1 preserved in a playground.

613 Costa Rica.
1671 dumped, 1710 derelict.

615 Bartolome Maso.
Mill not working. Cane to 637 by diesel or steam. 1589 plinthed. 1590/1757 used.

620 Arquimedes Colina.
3 (1675) plinthed. 1575 out of use. 1588 scrapped.

621 Antonio Maceo.
1586 reported scrapped.

627 Jose N Figueredo.
1676/77 derelict. 1455/1746 reported scrapped.

635 Rafael Freyre.
What a shambles! During the first 2 months of the Zafra, if there was loco fuel available, water supplies could be accessed, telegraph poles did not fall across the tracks after rain-storms, the loco did not fail on the outward run with the empties, or derail at the loading point, there was an outside chance of getting a chimney first shot on loads before darkness! On some days, afternoon trains were arriving back at the mill as late as 10 or 11pm.

The mill's inactivity during 2001 impacted greatly on the system's performance during 2002. 5 steam locos received attention during June 2001 and were (with the exception of those used for the tourist train) mothballed for this year. But when the harvest started, their lack of use since the summer of 2000 brought almost daily failures, even on shortened trains. The most common problems being bearings running hot and tubes blowing. Nor could the diesels be relied upon. 2413 and 34049 have been completely stripped for spares to try and keep the others running. On some days, only one working locomotive was available. The mill was often waiting for enough cane to arrive before starting up again.

All the mechanical loading points at Princesa, Luciano, Mangos and Purial were in use, as were the chuchos for hand-cut cane at Jobal, Peluda and Santo Tomas. The track to the latter was not in good enough condition to use a steam loco and cane was collected by the Hawaiian diesel. It is unlikely that the other loading points will reopen in future years, bringing to an end the sight of steam climbing out of Latour, Teche or the Honduras branch. The Port line is closed for relaying as part of the Marina tourist line project. Fuel supplies were again arriving by road although not always on the day that it was required!

Over a three day period during March, a morning run to Purial was attempted on each day. On the first day, water could not be accessed at Purial and 1391 ran back to the mill light. On day 2, the loco failed at Americana with the empties. Day 3 witnessed 1391 derail on the points at the LP, after slipping as it started to haul 5 loads out of the siding. By this stage there was a total of 34 loaded wagons at Purial, a further 10 in the siding at the top of the bank and the LP completely wedged full with tractor trailers awaiting unloading.

By late April, the motive power situation had improved with 4 of the 5 working steam (1386/7/90/91) and 4 diesels (2414/34056/58/61) available. Of the others, 1388 had tube problems and was unlikely to work again this Zafra, 1385 under continued overhaul and 1389 dumped pending a workshop visit. Even though, cane was still only arriving at the mill in small quantities. On April 23rd, 2 afternoon trains to Peluda and Princesa only managed to bring in 5 and 9 loads respectively, due to problems at Luciano and Princesa loading points. Both trains were back at the mill by 5.30p.m. The Zafra was expected to run on until at least mid June. A full month behind schedule! Havana considers the sugar operation here to be only 'marginal'. Such a performance does not bode well for the future of the system outside of the tourist capabilities. Without those, there probably would not be any operation at all!

637 Ranulfo Leyva.
1464 in action on some days.

640 Frank Pais.
Only 1256 survives, dumped in the shed. Security very strict.

641 Rafael Reyes.
1673 reported scrapped. No.1 'preserved'(?).

Parque Lenin.
The railway does not have the finances necessary to complete the overhaul of No.3 or the repairs required by No.1. When No.2 was out of action earlier in the year all services were suspended. Contrary to one report, No.2 did not go to mill 105 Sandino for repairs, although the railway is hoping to receive one of Sandino's locomotives. This will not please many enthusiasts as the loco in question is reported to be the sole n.g. Henschel 2-6-0 No.1405.