Russia sends locomotives to Cuba

Shipment includes first experimental light rail prototype

A locomotive from Russia arrives at Havana's port. (Granma/Ricardo Lopez Hevia)

HAVANA – Seven locomotives and the first experimental light rail prototype arrived Thursday at Havana's port from Russia. 

The shipment is part of a contract with the Russian government in order for Cuba to modernize its rail system. 

This latest arrival will be an addition to 43 locomotives already in Cuba. A total of 75 will be built at a Russian company through 2021. 

According to Cuban state-run media, the light rail was designed by Russian engineers with a technique developed by the Cuban Railroad Union (UFC). 

Rolando Navarro, UFC assistant director general, explained the light rail will be tested during a 45-day period, where it will undergo technical testing and adaptation to the Cuban rail lines. 

At the end of 2018, Cuba also received equipment that will help with the transport of cement. 

Russia and Cuba continue to enhance their bilateral cooperation as a part of a relationship that goes back decades to the Cold War era. 

In early November, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel started a foreign tour with a 12-day visit of Russia, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

During that time, Russian companies announced agreements worth $260 million, which includes the improvement of Cuba's railroad system and construction of three power plants. 

It has been reported, the Russian government offered Cuba $50 million in credits for Cuban purchases of Russian military weapons and spare parts.

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