Obdulio Morales and Simon Bolivar
Only two steam operated mills are to be found in Sancti Spiritus - Obdulio Morales and Simon Bolivar.  Both are narrow gauge mills built
to a gauge of two feet three and a half inches and are effectively operated as a single system.  Most years only one of the two mills is
actually open but cane is grown throughout the region and brought to whichever mill is in use.   The lines are almost exclusively
worked by 2-8-0 Baldwins although there is a solitary 2-8-0 Vulcan.   Despite their relatively small size these engines can often be seen
at work on long, heavily loaded trains.  The Obdulio Morales system is fairly short but the Simon Bolivar system is more extensive and
includes a little used line which climbs steeply into the hills some distance from the mill.
Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1333 receiving running repairs
outside of the engine shed at Obdulio Morales
Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1366 standing out of use at
the western end of Obdulio Morales shed
Given the very basic facilities it is a miracle anything runs - No.1333
stands over the inspection pit (above)

However ...... a couple of hours later and No.1333 is at the head of a
short train of loaded wagons (upper right)

Although strictly a Simon Bolivar engine, No.1360 works a long train of
loaded wagons into the mill patio at Obdulio Morales (middle right)

Close up of No.1360  (lower right)

No.1363 (also from Simon Bolivar) brings another long train of loaded
wagons into Obdulio Morales mill (below)
Simon Bolivar is certainly one of the friendliest sheds in Cuba.  Although the actual mill rarely works, the cane from the surrounding
fields is taken to the nearby Obdulio Morales mill and so the locomotives are usually to be found hard at work.  On my first visit to
this shed I was presented with a works plate from one of the derelict Baldwins which stood in the shed yard, and the shedmaster had
to be reluctantly persuaded to accept a half bottle of whisky as a token of my gratitude!  On a subsequent visit with a group from
'Steam In Paradise' it was arranged that we should take a train up the little used 'hill branch'.  The mill's security chief however would
not allow us to travel on the train as he considered that the somewhat neglected state of the track made this potentially unsafe.  
Despite the considerable heat we decided that we would 'chase' the train on foot!   After two or three runpasts, each followed by a
further slog up the hill, the security chief was so impressed by our determination (or downright stupidity) that he relented and we
were allowed aboard the train for the remainder of the afternoon!
Our arrival excites a degree of interest amongst the
shed crews outside the traffic office at Simon Bolivar
Baldwin No.1360 collecting loaded wagons from the
furthest loading point on the Simon Bolivar system
No.1360 heads back towards the mill having picked up
more cane wagons from loading points along the way
Amongst the more unusual motive power to be
found in use at Simon Bolivar is this rail mounted
Evening light illuminates the fine lines of Badlwin 2-8-0 No.1360 (above)  

All locomotives at Simon Bolivar are Baldwins except Vulcan 2-8-0 No.1362
seen here approaching Simon Bolivar mill with a loaded train (left)
No.1360 climbs the 'hill branch' with our special train.  
By this stage we were allowed to ride in the caboose!
The sky is blackened by the exhaust from one of the oil
burning 2-8-0 Baldwins as it heads past the loco shed
China steam
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WEST OF HAVANA            HAVANA                           MATANZAS                                    VILLA CLARA            
CIENFUEGOS                      CIEGO DE AVILA             SANCTI SPIRITUS                          HOLGUIN   
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