Bulleid diesel 0-6-0 Ashford Works shunter No. 11001 circa 1949 Photo: BR courtesy Rob speare
A neglected-looking Minaz 1173, its numbers barely visible in this photo taken on 30 March, 1993
Photo: Courtesy David Eatwell to TRLOTTTE, with our many thanks ©David Eatwell 2010

Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1915, this one-of-its kind 0-6-0ST+PT locomotive (plate #42671) worked the then-named Céspedes Sugar Company in Camagüey Province, Cuba. The locomotive, originally numbered "No. 1" was built to standard gauge 4' 8½" and was fueled by oil to create steam power - the oil stored in the pannier tanks and water in the saddle-tank. At the time the locomotive entered service working cane-laden rail-cars around the vicinity of the sugar mill, Cuban industry and railroads were taking advantage of the oil boom, with U.S. based Sinclair Oil becoming a big oil supplier to Cuban industry. Oil burning locomotives such as this one appealed to the Cuban industrialists because of their much-reduced operating costs versus their coal-burning cousins. Switching to oil offered another added advantage over coal - oil burning locomotives did not emit cinders that could result in economically disastrous cane field and cargo fires.

After Castro's revolution in 1959, all Cuban industries and railroads became nationalized. "No. 1" was renumbered to "MINAZ No. 1173", and the haunt where the loco spent all of its years of service became officially registered and named as 505 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Sugar Mill. The ensuing years were not so kind to 1173 as the mill suffered economically which led maintenance being prioritized to their diesel locomotives. As a result, 1173's sorties became less frequent in the late-1990s, and based on the unconfirmed information at hand, likely withdrawn from service and is either rusting away in a shed or siding, or has been scrapped as some sources report. It is difficult to determine exactly what has befallen 1173 as free-ranging exploration of the area by tourists is not encouraged by the Cuban authorities. With that being said, we'll certainly endeavor to find out more about this locomotive's early history and of its current whereabouts or fate.

Photo © David Eatwell for use on TRLOTTTE with our thanks. Photo taken 30 March, 1993
MINAZ No. 1173 with its cargo of sugar cane, 505 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Sugar Mill
on 30 March, 1993

Photo: Courtesy David Eatwell to TRLOTTTE, with our many thanks ©David Eatwell 2010

With Special Thanks

TRLOTTTE would like to extend our special thanks to David Eatwell for sharing rare glimpses and information about No. 1173 with us. David is known in railway circles as a book author and photographer of steam locomotives. The photo at the top of this page is featured in B&W in David's Canadian-published book: Today’s Steam on the Sugar Lines of Cuba Vol. 1.  Though many of David's books are now out of print, they are still available through used book shops via Amazon and Abebooks.

We would also like thank another David - Dave Longman, for putting us in touch with his friend Mr. Eatwell. Dave is a seasoned world traveller, visiting and photographing surviving steam railways wherever they can be found, often in the remotest of places. Visitors are welcome to browse through Dave's fascinating photographic travelogue and write-ups on his website.

Visitors wishing to know where 505 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Sugar Mill can explore this Satellite view of the area where the rail lines and sidings are quite visible. The obvious differences between 1173 and its TV counterpart are that the TV version has been fitted to Narrow-Gauge not to mention its general cosmetic condition!

*** Special Update ***

TRLOTTTE visitor Jim Kelley did some further digging about the fate of Minaz 1173, and has some good news to share with "Victor's" fans. According to his Yahoo Cuban Railways Group source, #1173 and a few other steam locos were rescued from Cespedes in early August 2012, and relocated to the Patria Sugar Mill which is also a railway museum. 1173's new home is near Moron in northern Cuban province of Ciego de Avila. The museum intends to restore 1173's appearance with the aim of putting the loco on static display. Thanks, Jim for the update!

*** 2012-Nov-17 ***

The restoration of 1173 has apparently progressed very quickly. The photos below have been forwarded to us by our contact Oscar Jalice with full credit to and courtesy of the JRC Album of the Cuban Railways Yahoo Group. TRLOTTE extends our many thanks to our Cuban railway aficionado friends for sharing these photos of 1173. We wish to also extend our thanks to Jim Kelley for putting us in touch with Oscar.

1173 rescued at Cespedes Mill ready for the transfer to Patria Museum
1173 rescued at Cespedes Mill ready for the transfer to the Patria Museum

Ex-Cespedes loco 1173 already restored and plinthed at the Patria Museum
Ex-Cespedes loco 1173 already restored and plinthed at the Patria Museum

Ex-Cespedes locos 1173 and companion 1838 restored and plinthed at the Patria Museum.
Ex-Cespedes locos 1173 and companion 1838 restored and plinthed at the Patria Museum.

 

Collector's Corner
LC Wooden Victor from Amazon UK and US LC Take-n-Play Victor available from Amazon UK and US
Wooden version of Victor Take-n-Play version of Victor
Track Master Victor from Amazon UK and US
Trackmaster version of Victor

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