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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Railroad and Tourism

Cuba, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean, combines its natural and historic wealth with a wide range of patrimonial values linked to the country's development that provide an additional value to the tourism sector.

In that regard, Cuba's railroad has a history of 177 years, as it was inaugurated on November 19, 1837, to carry cargo and passengers, thus becoming a major means of transportation.

The Railroad Museum is located in Old Havana, in the former Central Station of the West Railroad Company, founded in 1859, and was designated a National Monument in November 2002.

The emblematic institution exhibits the history of the first railroad system in Ibero-America and the seventh in the world, and visitors have the opportunity to watch a wide range of machines, instruments and documents about Cuba's railroad system in different epochs.

The Museum exhibits steam, diesel and electrical locomotives, including the one called La Junta, which was built in 1842 and was operational a year later in Matanzas.

In the late 19th century and the early 20th century, Ferrocarriles Unidos de La Habana acquired and unified railroad transportation in the Cuban capital, when it built the Central Station and took La Junta to that place, thus contributing to its preservation.

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As a peculiar element, more than 70 percent of the current parts of the locomotive, built by Thomas Rogers, are original.

The equipment exhibited at the Museum include the locomotive known as Manning, after the name of the British factory where it was built in 1873. At present, it is the second oldest locomotive in Cuba.

In addition, it is the only British steam locomotive preserved in the country and one of the oldest made at the Manning factory that exist in the world.

The Museum has an area that reproduces the hall of operations of a train station in the first half of the 20th century, as well as a steam crane, cargo cars and passengers.

The construction of the railroad in Cuba was a major step towards the country's economic development.

Some of those locomotives were operational until 2005, so they were active for 127 years, especially in the sugar industry, and they were rescued from all regions of the country.

The Museum's Gallery exhibits communications equipment and railroad signs for works, operations and constructions, in addition to machines and tools linked to the railroad.

The Train Model-Making Hall shows models and railroad equipment made of different materials at different scales, and has a specialized library, and a newspaper and periodical library.

The Museum is an important element to diversify the options available for domestic and foreign tourists.

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