The International Steam Pages

For the Narrow Minded

What is left today is just a fraction of a network of earlier narrow gauge lines covering much of the island. Many mills are recorded as having once had such systems and it is likely that these were either abandoned or converted to standard gauge. In some areas, the divide between common carrier and mill railways is blurred. Hence the main line west at Obdulio Morales Mill was once part of a longer line running east from Caibarién. The trend away from the narrow gauge continues today. In the west, Gregorio Arlee Mañalich and Osvaldo Sánchez Mills have seen line closures and the legendary bank at Simón Bolivar Mill has been reported closed in the last few years. This trend is bound to continue as Minaz strives to move to a more efficient production system. Hopefully, though we shall have a few more years to experience authentic American style narrow gauge steam in action.

This section is divided into two parts. The first looks at the main surviving locomotive types and action at the mills at the west end of the island. The second covers the mills in the centre and east. You can get a better idea of the previous diversity by looking at the other two programs on this CD-ROM covering the mills in detail and the individual locomotives. 


Rob Dickinson