Pulled along by horses and later powered by electricity, trams circulated in Cuba until the early 1950s. Approximately 65 years later, a “self-employed” worker from the south-central city of Cienfuegos has “rescued” this form of transport from oblivion. Although his tram is very unique.
Made out of wood, aluminum and steel scraps, Paul Lima Arecibia’s vehicle has made possible sightseeing tours of the city’s historic center in carriages pulled by animals.
Suffering from acute emphysema after working as a bricklayer with cement for nearly 20 years, Lima Arencibia claims that he found his inspiration in old photos at his son’s primary school, an old tram station until 1953.
“It wasn’t a tram in the beginning. For two years, all I had was a small boat that I added wheels to and I used to take children all over the city with my horse Caramelo’s help. I then thought that this city was missing some things and the tram was one of them. I used to see railway lines on our streets everywhere, so I decided to investigate.”
His research took him to the city’s archives and libraries and to consult various cultural institutions directly, several of which underestimated his proposal.