Cuba is planning an upgrade to its railway system and will invest about 1.3 billion dollars in the modernization between this year to 2021. According to press reports in the Cuban media, Enrique Valdes, director of the Eastern-Central Railroad Company (FFCC) (Ferrocarriles de Cuba – Railways of Cuba) was quoted at a recent meeting, there will be a $40 million dollars computerization update of the railway system in the provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camagüey and Las Tunas.
Cuba was the first country in Latin America to have a railroad system and the seventh in the world to have its own railroad. Spain constructed the railroad in Cuba before they had even built a railroad in their own country. The first track was constructed in 1837. A railway system was needed for the transport of sugarcane to the coastal ports. Today the Cuban railroad today runs for 835 km from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. Despite the embargo, over the years, friendly nations such as China, Canada, Spain and Venezeula have assisted Cuba with new trains, improvements and repairs to the railway system.
Currently the railway system is reported to be slow and unreliable. For example, a trip between the cities of Holguin to Havana, will take nine and a half hours unless there is a breakdown. The train network serves as a transportation system for citizens, tourists and freight service.
The implementation of a fiber optic transmission system will improve communications and operations of the railway system. It is expected to be completed in by the end of this year in the provinces of Camagüey to Santiago de Cuba. The total cost of the computerization project is expected to cost about $40 million dollars.