Seeing Cuba by the Hersey train
Posted: 25 February 2008 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The Hershey line was built in 1917 by the chocolate company to transport workers. Now anyone can jump aboard for a fascinating - if somewhat unreliable - insight into the country, reports Ed Ewing

The Hershey Train seemed like the most interesting way to leave Havana. Built in 1917 by the Hershey Chocolate Company, it still rattles 60 miles east to the port town of Matanzas every day, stopping at tiny stations and villages along the way. The journey should take three hours, or maybe four, or maybe you won’t get there at all.

The train leaves from Casablanca, a suburb of Havana across the harbour from the capital’s Old Town. The easiest way to get there is the ferry across the bay. However, whether or not the ferry is in service is another thing. Local public transport might be cheap in Cuba, but it certainly isn’t reliable, or in most cases even timetabled. (Tourist buses, on the other hand, are efficient, but no fun and certainly no way to meet Cubans.)

Finding the boat out of service, we joined the queue for a bus, and took a tour of the city as it rolled around town, finally making its way under the harbour tunnel. It took us past the statue of Christ, a smaller version of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks the city and its harbour, and dropped us near the station.

We joined half a dozen people waiting for the 12.30pm train. Our little group had swelled to about 20 by 1pm, all of whom checked watches, tutted occasionally to each other, and shrugged their shoulders. Even the ticket office didn’t know if or when it would arrive.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Posted: 25 February 2008 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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brought back many pleasant memories when I took this train both directions in Apr 2007.  In my case, on Matanzas-Casablanca stretch we had an extended stay in Hershey for about 90 min while they “fixed” the train.
Considering the trains were already 50 years old when Cuba obtained them from Spain in 1995, its amazing that they are still running.  Although tourists on it are rare, it covers a route very important to the local population.

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Posted: 30 May 2008 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Is it still safe to ride that train considering it’s already 50 years old.

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—Check more of my experiences at http://travelbargainhunters.ning.com/

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