Welcome to the islands! I hope you have brought along plenty of sunscreen, your shades and some colorful clothing. Grande Barbosa is a little known island just off the southern coast of Cuba. The year is about 1980 and the sun is hot. The sun is always hot here and the palm trees always sway. In addition to mining and fishing, tourism is an important “industry”. The Barbosans are a friendly people and welcome tourism to their island. There is a resort, of sorts, up on the tallest mountain just above the rock quarrying operation. You will need to take the little 15” narrow gauge railway up to it. The island has very few automobiles available. The streets are way too narrow. Bikes and Vespas are the order of the day. Of course, there is always the railway. The power is a collection of machines worthy of any rail museum.
The first thing you will see upon your arrival is the small port and shipping pier. Oh yes, you need to arrive by boat. There is no airport. A small town is by the foot of the pier. Several tourist stands and restaurants are available for you to scout. Up on the hill above town is where the locals live. Very primitive cabins and shacks climb the hillside, one on top of another. I hope you brought your camera and plenty of film. You can catch the train right on main street (the only street) in town. This will take you to the resort. If you bring along something to barter with, you may get a ride out to the quarry and far end of the line. The crews usually are very fond of liquid refreshment of the fermented variety.
In the future, I will post photos of the island and its sights. For now, here are a couple of photos of the railway equipment for you to enjoy.
Photos Coming Soon ....
Grande Barbosa was inspired by a trip I took to Cuba in 1981. I shot 36 rolls of slides and B&W film of the sugar lines. That was a trip to end all trips! I fell in love with the island and its scenery – not to mention all the steamers still running in revenue service without funny stacks! They could be colorful though. I decided then and there I would have to model something along these lines. Well, it’s taken this long to finally get to doing something, but the Grande Barbosa Island Railway is now a reality.