Sancti Spiritus: the Rail Accident that Shook Zaza del Medio

Delia Proenza

The news, at this time, is not that the section of line at kilometer 360 of the Central Road gives way to national trains again, because that event occurred last Sunday in the evening hours; nor that Zaza del Medio shook when it was known that a freight train derailed just on the bridge over the ravine that borders the town through the north.

Rail Accident in Sancti Spiritus: Traffic through Central Road Restored

Sancti Spiritus: Rail Accident Reported Near Zaza del Medio
What makes the place so crowded is not the imminent danger of a viaduct collapsing or the urge to repair the damage to rails and sleepers, for such contingencies were already dealt with. What drives tens of men in that location is the imperative to remove as soon as possible, the tons of cement that remain within the silos, and the need of evacuating the masses of iron that most railroad parts turned into following the accident.

Until Friday morning forces of the Interior Ministry (MININT) had only rescued the contents of four cement silos, of the eight damaged, which amounted to less than half of the product stranded on Sancti Spiritus soil as a result of the derailemt.

Ignacio Rodriguez, commercial director of Tabacuba’s Central-East Division said there were 136 bales with 103 leaves kilograms each, for the manufacture of cigarettes. All of them were placed for safekeeping after several days of work, which included improvising a second gauge (the first, opened in short time, connects the place with the Highway) by the right side of the bridge to access the product.

Due to causes still under investigation by the Railway Inspection Specialists, in conjunction with the Interior Ministry, 15 of the 30 wagons traveling from Havana to Camaguey derailed. Eleven of them were fed into the bridge known as Zaza Norte, with 426 tons of cement, 48 soft drinks pallets and a tobacco iron container, according to data provided by Jose Lorenzo Garcia, vice president of the Provincial Administration Council.

Immediately after the accident, the highest government authorities in the territory, led by José Ramón Monteagudo, first secretary of the Party in the province, presented on the place. Railway officials and workers mobilized from the very beginning, in an effort that was supported by forces of the neighboring province of Villa Clara.

The accident was described as of great importance, taking into account the damage to the road and the transported parts, as well as the economic losses.


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