A Trip Along Cuba’s Slowly-Modernizing Train System

At their peak, Cuban trains featured dining cars and other high-end services in a place that became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century. Now, the system is in disrepair and the longstanding U.S. trade embargo makes it hard to get parts.

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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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A family on a horse-drawn carriage crosses the train tracks that connect Trinidad with the "Valle de los Ingenios," or Valley of the Sugar Mills, in Cuba, Oct. 12, 2015. After decades of neglect due to the fall of the sugar industry, dozens of empty mills remain standing. In 1988 the area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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A man looks at a tank being transported on a paused cargo train, as he travels by train through Holguin, Cuba, March 23, 2015.
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A girl sleeps on a moving train with her family as they travel from Santiago de Cuba, to Santa Clara, in the Holguin province of Cuba, March 23, 2015.
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A woman uses the tracks to cross a bridge after arriving to her destination in the province of Holguin, Cuba, March 23, 2015.
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
People pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba, March 23, 2015.
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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AP
In this March 23, 2015 photo, passengers pass the time chatting on the landing of a train car as a farmer rides his horse alongside the tracks in the province of Holguin in Cuba. Cuba became the first Latin American country with a train system in the mid-19th century when colonial Spain began connecting Havana with the sugar-growing regions outside the capital
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