Cuba warns of rising rail danger, faster trains

May 7, 2012, 6:24 PM

Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) – A railroad upgrade project in Cuba has trains traveling faster and that means more danger for careless motorists and pedestrians, authorities said Monday, reporting 33 collisions involving cars and 47 pedestrians hit last year.

An article in labor union newspaper Trabajadores did not say how many of the vehicular crashes were fatal, but 30 of the people hit by trains died. That alone was about 50 percent more than the 19 deaths from all train-related accidents reported the previous year.

The trend appears to be worsening, with 27 pedestrian accidents in just the first three months of 2012, including 10 fatalities.

This Caribbean island’s state-run media are mercifully free of grisly stories about crashes and violent crime that are common in newspapers elsewhere, and accidents generally go unreported until officials give a yearly tally.

But Trabajadores carried accounts of impatient and inattentive drivers being mowed down, including a motorcyclist who tried to race across the tracks and an animal cart that failed to stop for a passenger train.

Many crossings here lack descending barriers, and not all drivers come to a full stop and look both ways as they are supposed to.

Ronald Bofil, director of rail safety and inspection for the Ministry of Transportation, said a national campaign to overhaul Cuban railroads means the trains themselves are operating more safely, but efforts to improve signaling have not resulted in motorists reforming their own bad habits.

“On the tracks today, the (safety) measures must be extreme. With the current revitalization of the railways, the trains are gradually reaching greater velocities,” Bofil told Trabajadores. “Nevertheless, many drivers and pedestrians ignore the danger inherent in crossing train tracks even when they see the locomotive approaching.”

Bofil also said collisions with free-ranging cattle is a significant problem that joint efforts with the Agriculture Ministry has yet to solve.

He did not give numbers on incidents involving livestock.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives his regularly scheduled morning press conferenc...
Associated Press

Mexican president says Tesla to build plant in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president announced Tuesday that electric car company Tesla has committed to building a major plant in the industrial hub of Monterrey in northern Mexico. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the promise came in phone calls he had Friday and Monday with Tesla head Elon Musk. It would be Tesla’s […]
24 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks with children after delivering a speech at the Royal Castle Arcades on F...
Associated Press

Day after Ukraine visit, President Biden in Poland to affirm Western resolve

President Joe Biden, in Poland, said the Russian invasion of Ukraine has hardened Western resolve to defend democracy around the globe.
1 month ago
People search a collapsed building following an earthquake in Azmarin town, Idlib province, norther...
Associated Press

Death toll soars after powerful earthquake rocks Turkey and Syria

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing and injuring thousands of people.
2 months ago
FILE - A fuel trucks drives along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 27, 2023. European Union go...
Associated Press

Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine

The new sanctions create uncertainty about prices as the 27-nation European Union finds new supplies of diesel from the U.S., Middle East and India.
2 months ago
(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
3 months ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...
Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Cuba warns of rising rail danger, faster trains