Sleeping Giants

“Hi Al,

Just a quick email to thank you for the various tips you send, I always enjoy reading them.

I don’t have any tips and the attached photos aren’t even model railway related, but I thought some of your subscribers, particularly from overseas may like to see them. They were taken on a recent trip to Cuba where I stumbled upon this yard in the middle of Havana behind the Capital building.

I model 1930s GWR and really have no idea what these locomotives are and would love to know if anyone can identify them.

Best regards


Well, I enjoyed Simon’s pics so much I thought I’d jump off the models for a day and I’d post them.

Let me know if you did too, because I have quite a few emails like this – not really modelling, but still train related and interesting (well, I think so).

Or if you’re bored stiff with stuff like this, fill your boots with the ‘ebay cheat’ sheet.



37 Responses to Sleeping Giants

  1. These were awesome. It is a pity that thay are not in a railway museum.

  2. they’re wonderful! i don’t know much about the switchers but the 2-10-0 look like Baldwin models also sold to Imperial Russia. i’m not saying that these arrived from Russia somehow; after the 1917 Revolution, Baldwin was stuck w/dozens of these as they would not sell to the Bolsheviks. these eventually were distributed among US railroads (Erie, NC&StL, Frisco, etc) after they were re gauged to 4′ 8 1/2″ from the 5 foot Russian gauge. if you have an order number, serial nos; i’d be interested in where they were purchased.

  3. Great photos and layout well done Peter norfolk UK

  4. Totally enjoy all the articles and videos you send. Very helpfull to me, thank tou very much.

  5. Hey Alistair, I am curious where is OZ in relationship to your 10/20? Also where are those steam engines rusting away at. There are many running Steam excursions that would possibly want to see about purchasing/just moving out of the neighborhood to restore them back to their beautiful looking shape they deserve.

  6. Most, if not all of those locos are American built, Baldwins or Alcos. Some are standard gauge, a few are narrow gauge. All likely were used at some point in the various sugar plantations. Because of US trade embargo those locos can’t be repatriated to the US. Sad they can’t be brought back to some museums.

  7. Al,
    I enjoy photos of “real” locos as well as models.
    Thank you.
    –Ben Z

  8. i think those locos were made in the USA. The Saddle tank could be made by Davenport. The others could be Baldwin.

  9. tremendous photos a restorers dream well done send more.

  10. Hi Al, and gang. I loved the layout of John’s, and the sound. But was the sound just mounted on the layout, and not on the Diesel? It sounded great, but it would have been great to hear it constantly on the actual diesel. I guess N gauge would be extremely hard to fit sound to, if possible at all.
    Also loved the pics of the steam graveyard, and agree, that it’s such a shame to see them rusting away. But still, gives an insight into the past, and I for one, wouldn’t mind more pics like this. Thanks Al.

  11. Heck man they sure are model related who’d pass up photos like these to copy for a layout, not model related phuey.


  13. My father always loved steam engines…in fact every year he would go to Connetticut ride a steam train with a club and their wives…have the train stop all men would get off with cameras …the train would back up and then steam by as all the guys took pics…my mom got a big kick out of it and at home we were told all those “damn old fools” made of themselves…I love steam engines and when I can will build a layout with them being the hi-light…if my wife allows….many kudos to Simon and his pics

  14. Enjoyed the pics! Just received a new athearn Big Boy in N. beautiful and runs great. I have min 16 in rad. So it looks good. Has good sound ,also.

  15. Hi Al

    In answer to your question, I will always be interested in anything railway, be it full size or model, so keep the pikkies coming



  16. love the photos, shame that they havn’t found a home to go to

  17. Great pics and I think they we old engines that might have been modified so much over the years they do not look the same anymore. The wheel base is familiar.

  18. I totally agree with Dingo. Show us MORE cool old-train pix!

  19. Keep up the good work. Great web site you and Dave make my day. Ted

  20. Hi Al well worth a trip to Cuba. By the way Al haven’t received any E.mail for a while hope every thing is ok with you,Kind regards Ged

  21. Hi Al:
    Cool old train pix from Cuba. The little “narrow gauge” locos were likely used on a sugar cane plantation.
    Please throw more “found” trains pix into your mix where you’re able.
    Kind regards,

  22. Just want to add my two cents worth to the ‘petition’ to post more ‘found’ train photos.
    And thanks for everything, Al. Please, keep up the good work.
    Best to you,

  23. I won’t be surprised to see the “grave yards ” of old engines showing up on the model lay outs now .I have some old steamers that no longer run. Diesels and old cars also. Its an idea for just a separate diorama for the train room . an old closed down engine house with the junk rusting away.I just built a new HO fire station that’s to big for the layout. its going on a shelf above the trains so i guess a train junk yard is in the further also.

  24. Can not get enough of those old steam engines. Now that we are assuming normal relations with Cuba, it may be possible to get the word out to the many organizations and museums who would love to get their hands on some of those engines.

  25. Loved the Cuba pictures!

  26. excellent pictures. Too bad they aren’t restoring them and either running them or at the least put them on show.

  27. Nifty pics !! Does anyone have pics of the Shays at Cass Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in West Va it’s really beet !!

  28. Without pictures of the prototype we don’t know what we are modeling. Great pictures,keep them coming.

  29. WOW. Would give up my models to have these in my back yard.

  30. Bring it on, anything closely related to trains…..I just love them all. Keep um coming…all types. Thanks for your work. Captain Dennis

  31. The 2-10-0 are called Decopods, as your previous writer said they were built for Russia, but once the Bolshevik took power the USA would not sell or ship them over so they found homes were ever they could. Several of the others look like switch engines and narrow gauge engines. All look like American (USA) types.

  32. the first sleeping giant is the Minaz 186, a 2-8-0 by Alco in 1919 for the United Railways of Havana . It was absorbed into the Ferrocarriles de Cuba (FdeC). After working in the sugar can lines it was was selected in the 1990’s for modifications by Livo Dante Porta. Porta made several design changes which resulted in increasing doubling the draw bar horspower, increased its operating efficiency 50%, and increasing its speed to 60 mph.
    Source -” La Locomotive A Vapeur” by Andre Chapelon

  33. correction Minaz 1816

  34. All the locos have been salvaged from the Cuban Sugar cane industry. They hauled car loads of cane from the fields to the massive “Centrales” that were spaced along the length of the sugar producing part of the island. One rail line ran along the long dimension of the island, with lines perpendicular to it going into the fields. They’ve been collected through the inspiration of the Historian of Havana, Eusebio Leal Spengler. Most of them are in a park next to the main passenger station, which is now being rehabilitated. There are some more down near the harbor in front of the arts and crafts market.

  35. not being knowledgeable on early British steam locomotives I wondered how many of the old, dilapidated, broken down engines were last extant examples of their types and should have been preserved as historically significant steps in the evolution of GB’s great railroad system!!!!!

  36. Great photos of the old steamers! Sure, model railroading is our focus, but trains are trains !

  37. Alastair,

    Not having the opportunity to read all the comments regarding these photos, I must say I appreciated your sharing them with us. While these are not pictures of model railroad(way) layouts, I do believe they have a place here in this forum.

    Most of these types of engines have been reproduced as models and a number of those in this forum actually attempt to capture historical and/or modern lines with their layouts. In that light, these types of pictures of that which has been or is today become relative to the forum.

    While I agree that the forum is not about the sleeping giants or the alive and currently functioning systems, there is a place for pictures like these and I for one would appreciate your occasionally sharing them with us.

    I further appreciate that these pictures were taken by a member and was shared from the real life experience he had while visiting another country.

    Please keep up the great work you do of sifting through all the e-mail you get and sharing relative content with us.

    Mark G.

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