The elevated access to the train terminal in Havana
Photo Feature by Ernesto Gonzalez Diaz
HAVANA TIMES – In 1837, Cuba became the first Latin American country to have railways, with the construction and operation of the Havana-Bejucal section. Spain, which was the metropolis of Cuba at that time, would take eleven more years to inaugurate its first section.
Initially it was used for cargo purposes and later to facilitate the mass transportation of passengers from one point to another in the national territory. More than 2,000 workers died in the construction of its first sections, many of them slaves.
Seventy-five years later, in November 1912, the Central Railway Station of Havana was inaugurated, and with it the elevated constructions that give access to the entrance and exit of trains, one of the most important works of Cuban civil engineering.
This work consists of an overpass of more than 1 kilometer in length at a height that varies between 3.2 and 7.3 meters. Consisting of iron frames adjusted with lateral tensors, also made of iron, these elevations allow the passage of trains that depart and arrive to and from the west of Havana, through the upper part of it, and at ground level are built the branches that give access to the courtyards of Cristina and La Coubre.
As a curious fact, on both sides of this work are the oldest and most modern thermoelectric plants in the country. The “Otto Parellada” Power Plant, better known as “Tallapiedra”, and one of the three Turkish floating plants that arrived in the country just months ago and are synchronized to the National Energy System, and which, as can be seen in the photos, bears the slogan “Power of friendship” (The power of friendship) flying the Turkish and Cuban flags.
Unfortunately, the development of the railway in Cuba has not been faithful to its initial tradition and today it is among the least modern in the continent.