El camello. Defying extinction
TXT: YOSS / RÓMULO SANS PHOTO: COURTESY OF ADRIÁN FERNÁNDEZ / ROLANDO PUJOL
At the end of the 1980s, the capital’s public transport system was going through its worst crisis. The average capacity of the National Urban Omnibus was 13 passengers per square metre. International levels established 5 passengers per square metre. Incidentally, the Guinness Record is set by 18 women in a Mini in Birmingham.
In 1988 the young design team from the Department of Development of Equipment and Machinery were convinced they had the answer to the problem: Project TRAIN BUS.
The concept was based on two principles:
a) The construction of a giant omnibus with a capacity of between 260 and 300 passengers and high percentage of locally made parts.
b) The establishment of an exclusive network made up of 10 or 15 direct routes.
The initiative appeared to tread on the territory of the much earlier and respected City Metro project. But the sheer amount of work and the enormous cost involved meant that the City Metro project was inevitably shelved. Meanwhile, the Train-Bus was a more feasible Project and one more immediately relevant to the Special Period and its needs.
Although it has been described as an over ground metro, the vehicle was actually conceived as a high capacity multi-articulate, carrying some 300 passengers with separate engine unit that pulled as many passenger wagons as might be needed. The main idea was to turn it into the biggest bus in the world.
The main lines proposed were to cover around 240 km with rates of consumption of fuel per passenger at less than half those of the ordinary buses.
With the development of technology, design and production being 100% home-grown, costs would be reduced as would the long waiting periods for spare parts. For these, Cuba maintained a plan for the design and construction of petrol motors with the brand name of Taíno and also the manufacture of tractor wheel base...
+ information pág. 78-83 The H Book 2007 08