The Hershey Train was built in 1917 by the Hershey Chocolate Corporation of Pennsylvania. It was built to transport workers and refined sugar from the company’s sugarcane refinery about 45 km east of Havana. It was first electric train system implemented in the world!
Reading a small blurb in the guidebook, we went to Hotel Nacional to do some internet research. What we found were both unsettling and confusing but we were all the more attracted to it. Below you can see the official train schedule as of December 2010.
The train travel through the small towns along the way, often accompanied by stops to greet and buy some drinks.
The atmosphere inside is relaxed, unhurried. The people are curious and often start chatting with each other during the stops.
Little has changed since its inception, the tracks are in disrepair and trains outlined by rust.
The control panel for the conductor. They have to honk to warn off animals sleeping on the tracks.
To get between the carriages, wait for the carts to stop jolting and take a big step!
Due to our schedule we couldn’t take the train all the way to the sugar mill or Matanzas. Reluctantly, we waved goodbye to the train & crew at Playas de Este to continue our journey toward the sandy beaches.
In the summer months, the locals from Havana flock to these beaches for a break from the heat. But in the winter the beaches are deserted.
Playing dominos on the street.
The Old man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Beautiful sunset at the beach. The end of our adventure filled excursion from busy Havana.
I stumbled across this great article about the Hershey Train, check it out if you have time!