Transport in Cuba
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Official daily: 90 pct of Cuba's railways deteriorated

Official daily: 90 pct of Cuba's railways deteriorated
Havana, Nov 8, 2009 (EFE via COMTEX) —

Some 90 percent of Cuba's 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) of railways are
deteriorated and that is the cause of frequent train accidents and
delays, a situation that will require a large investment to address, the
official daily Granma reported.

Between January 2008 and September 2009, there have been 19 serious
accidents and 320 minor ones due to the "critical" state of many points
along the country's railways and the poor condition of 286 of the
system's 1,839 bridges, the Cuban Communist Party's official newspaper said.

Granma denounced "lack of discipline" and "negligence" among the train
crews and station operators, as well as the lack of supervision and
control by some managers who are not demanding compliance with existing
regulations.

The main cause for the increase in accidents is, without doubt, the
"accumulated deterioration" of the railways over recent decades, the
head of the rail sector for the Transportation Ministry, Ricardo Aguiar,
told Granma.

A machinist and an operator quoted by the daily confirmed that there is
"big" deterioration of the railways and added that there are also
deficiencies in the signal system.

Granma noted that the poor condition of the railway system "hurts the
country's economy" and adds considerably to the consumption of fuel.

Without providing figures, the daily said that there is an investment
process "under way" with loans from Venezuela and China that will become
available in 2010.

In 2006, the Cuban government announced contracts values at more than $2
billion, with purchases being made mainly from China, to improve
automotive and railway transport on the communist island.

Cuba is suffering the effects of a serious recession that has reduced
its foreign trade by 36 percent since last September, causing an acute
lack of liquidity, and authorities have reduced from 6 percent to 1.7
percent their growth objective for this year. EFE

(8 November 2009)
http://www.individual.com/story.php?story=109811145

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