Cuba will invest heavily in the next 5-8 years to upgrade its railroad system as part of an overall strategy to improve public and cargo transportation, according to Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodríguez
The main issue here, he said, is not only to acquire new equipment, but to achieve discipline and control, as well as an adequate training of workers.
During his report to the standing committee for the Attention to Services of the National Assembly of People's Power, Minister Yzquierdo explained that the program of improvement, recovery and development of the railway system will have an impact on both national and municipal services, as some villages have this alternative as the main transportation route.
Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, deputy minister of the branch, emphasized that the main challenge is to get the financing to execute the millionaire investments to develop after several years of insufficient maintenance.
The long-term objectives, until 2030, are to double freight transportation, triple the number of passengers, increase the quality, efficiency and safety of services and modernize the road infrastructure, he said.
He stressed that the improvements are now visible in the cargo service, but in the passenger´s people will see the progress from the arrival in the country of cars and locomotives at the end of next year and beginning of 2019.
The deputy minister told reporters that they are also looking to secure financing to buy spare parts and maintain equipment stability, and work closely with the national industry to reduce imports.
Eduardo Hernández Becerra, vice-president of the Union of Railways of Cuba, said that last year the training of specialists of the sector abroad was resumed, working with the Ministry of Education to complete the technical force and qualified workers.
In this regard, he pointed out the existence of a strategy to reorient students of specialties related to rail transport and the incorporation of young people who complete the Mandatory Military Service.
Hernández Becerra said that while the investments materialize, some measures are taken such as the reorganization of the main train scheme, the incorporation of locomotives that became available from the activities of the sugar harvest and the incorporation of the direct trains of continuous service.