The International Steam Pages


Steam in Asia (East) 2014

Russia and the Asian countries of the former USSR are covered in the rest of Asia (West).

 Asia (East)

Cambodia
(13th May 14)

China
(18th Sep 13)

Cook Islands
(15th Jul 14)

Fiji
(22nd May 14)

Indonesia
(12th Aug 14)

Japan
(16th Jan 02)

Laos
(13th Dec 13)

Malaysia
(3rd Apr 13)

Mongolia
(8th Aug 13)

Myanmar
(7th Feb 14)

New Caledonia
(29th Nov 98)

North Korea
(18th Mar 06)

Philippines
(23rd May 13)

South Korea
(11th Jan 14)

Taiwan
(7th Jun 14)

Thailand
(6th Apr 14)

Vietnam
(3rd Apr 14)

Steam Cranes
(26th Feb 14)

         

Fascinating Steam Age
Industrial Archaeology

International Steam DVDs


Cambodia Index

Tiger Steam
Our CD-ROM covers REAL steam here.
Read Chris Walker's review.

Cambodia was briefly fashionable as a steam tourist destination in 1999/2000 (see below) since when it has seen relatively few visitors for steam. Michael Pass reports (16th March 2012) that 231-501 has been overhauled and steam tested and will work a tourist special train towards Takeo on 18th March 2012 - tickets for which were sold out almost as soon as the trip was announced, not surprisingly as they were just USD 15 each and there is a large expatriate community now always looking for something new to do. Michael has now sent a report on the start of the day's activities (19th March 2012). PTG tours charter a train here on 26th March 2014 and I have uploaded a photo report (3rd April 2014). There is a short YouTube video available (13th May 2014).

Later Hans Hufnagel tells me (29th October 2005) that the only working steam locomotive, 231-501, needs heavy repairs for which there is no money.... For an illustrated report on Cambodia's railways on a December 2006 visit with information that confirms this see http://www.phantasrail.com/cambodia.htm (added 23rd July 2007). James Waite stopped off here in March 2008 and found the railway staff friendly but the railway still steamless (13th April 2008).

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Andrew Robinson was here in early 2005 (report added 21st May 2005) and although he was unable to gain entry to the shed because it was a public holiday, he was told that the steam stock is still intact. It seems unlikely that there is much work if any for steam here, especially as the Chinese are delivering new diesels, which won't last long unless they have done some work on the track since I was there. One change is that the Franco-Belge 1912 2-6-2 131.06 previously in store has now been stuffed and mounted near the station (I wish they had chosen one of the surplus Pacifics as this delightful beast will rapidly deteriorate in the open). Further, Hans Hufnagel has told me that he ran trips here in 2001, 2003 and 2004 and that the only steam locomotive available was still 231.501.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand ran a public excursion on 5th February 2000 (8th February 2000) and had planned a further more ambitious tour between December 1st and 4th 2000. Floods in the country forced its postponement to January 18th to 21st 2001. I am not sure whether it finally took place.

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It had long been known that there were serviceable steam locos in the country - the problem was getting them to work, not least for security reasons.  Florian Schmidt succeeded (5th April 1999, pictures added 17th June 1999). And I joined the first ever (contradictions gratefully received) steam tour group (again organised by Florian)  here in November 1999 - read my report (9th December 1999) - another railfan tour group visited in January 2000 (9th February 2000). I have had some comments on a 1990 trip by Colin Martindale (added 17th December 1999). Probably the last gricer to see and ride with real steam here was Olaf Güttler in 1991 - contradictions gratefully received.

China Index

Logging Off
The Ultimate Chinese
Forestry Railway DVD
Read Keith Chester's Review

Shibanxi Heaven
The World's Last Real
Steam Narrow Gauge
Passenger Railway on DVD
Read  Keith Chester's Review

Shibanxi Gold
Updating Shibanxi Heaven
The World's Last Real
Steam Narrow Gauge
Passenger Railway on DVD

Battlefield Heroes
Henan's two 21st Century
Steam Narrow Gauge
Survivors on DVD
(Xingyang and Yinghao)

Coal in the Hills
The Huanan Coal
Railway on DVD
(With bonus Dahuichang short)

In general, this site no longer carries current China steam reports - if you want to know why then click here. However, all the old reports on this site are still available - click here for reports from 2000 to 2005. For a useful summary of Chinese steam activity in 2006, read what Bernd Seiler of Far Rail had to say (30th June 2006). Looking back further, I also have a number of reports dating from 1996 to 1999 available, although most no longer have their pictures.

Paul Molyneux-Berry was told on arrival at Shibanxi in late August 2012 that the Jiayang Company has bought the small coal mine at Huangcun with a view to turning it into a museum. Coal production is scheduled to cease on 31st August 2012, presumably there is a possibility that the steam powered coal trains will run for a day or two longer to clear any remaining coal in the bins (23rd August 2012). Wilson Lythgoe confirmed their demise during November and reported new bright blue (Darjeeling ++) tourist coaches in use with variously black, yellow and green painted steam locomotives. The basic passenger service is down to three trains a day and the new Bagou station looks like a cross between a church and a supermarket. Not many more gricers will bother to go to the railway now, I certainly won't be going within 1000 miles of it (19th November 2012). I've seen the pictures but I'm not going to sully my web site by uploading them.

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I make occasional exceptions to this rule such as my own visits to the transformed near-tourist railway at Shibanxi - click here for the latest report (updated 7th April 2011).

Otherwise we went in November 2007 to Jalainur/Zhalainuoer (updated 15th November 2008) and in December 2008 to the Xingyang Brickworks Railway (updated 29th June 2009). The big pit at Jalainur was living on borrowed time, reports on SY-Country indicated that it would be all over by August 2009 (6th March 2009), although in practice it lasted almost till the end of the year.

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Yuehong and I have now got a little more time to travel again for steam, the number of locations shrinks week by week, click here for some pictures from one of our expeditions, far left. (9th December 2007). 

Sights like this in Huanan, Heilongjiang were still available up till 2011, but the welcome for your wallet was warmer than for you.

The following represents a good starting point (links added 27th April 2007) for those wanting to know more about Chinese steam in the 21st Century. Some are mainly pictorial, others include background information including the dreaded 'modern traction', not to mention the model railway scene. Often they contain links to further sites.

And if you are travelling independently, then Duncan Peattie's English version of the Chinese Railway Timetable is what you need, check his site for the latest available version. Another essential companion is the Quail China Railway Atlas - the 3rd edition is now available - see http://www.quailmapcompany.free-online.co.uk/ (23rd June 2008).

Going, going, gone..... CNR steam was a mere 602 active locomotives on 1st January 2001, down from 1014 a year earlier, advises Florian Schmidt (26th September 2001) - of course this does not include industrial steam. Now it is effectively gone, (23rd June 2003) Zhang Xin Sheng told me that the Wuhai/Jilantai line was dieselised on 20th June 2003.

Henry Posner III (28th May 2007) updates the QJ export story (see below) - Railroad Development Corporation has found its first third party buyer for the Chinese QJ 2-10-2s that it has been marketing since mid-2006. R.J.Corman Railroads has signed a purchase agreement for a QJ to be overhauled in the next several months at the Jinzhou 701 workshop, under subcontract to RDC by Multipower International, arrival in the USA is expected late summer 2007. The ultimate destination is R.J.Corman's Kentucky operation, where it will be used for special events. RDC Chairman Henry Posner III commented, "Our next objective is to find homes for the other 2 QJs stored at the 701 Factory." RDC consultant Dennis Daugherty will supervise the overhaul, just as he did for the first 2 QJs which are currently stored and available for charter work. Henry Posner III told me that the third QJ mentioned above (7040) will be shipped to the USA from Dalian in late October 2007 (20th October 2007). QJ 7040 has now arrived at Corman's Central Kentucky base in Lexington. There are several pictures of it available on http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?locomotive=Steam%202-10-2. It is in the shops for complete repainting as of 15th April 2008 "It is black Imron epoxy enamel with a 2 foot red stripe from the tender to the pilot. It is edged with 2 inch white stripes and on the tender the RJ Corman name is spelled out on the red in white lettering. Underneath, on the black, it says Central Kentucky Lines in white lettering. The wheels are now black. The paint job on the engine when it arrived was over about 4 layers of dust, rust, and crud. Corman planned to spend one day prepping the locomotive and tender and then another 2 days to paint it. It's taken them 2 weeks to finish the tender. Joe Holbrook has been doing much work on the engine, including completely rewiring it and fabricating the class light mounting system for the boiler top. It has been under steam several times testing back and forth in the yards. Matt Schwerin stated they've probably put 20 miles on it just doing this. There were many steam leaks to be taken care of and they're still finding more. A late April debut is planned." Thanks to Alton Lanier and Thomas Schultz for this update. For regular news of the RDC QJs see this official page http://www.rrdc.com/news_QJ.html (added 3rd May 2009). 

In April 2000, I reported that China was again about to export second hand locos (to Canada), I am not sure what happened to that project but Geoff Noon sent me a picture of JS 8419 which did make it to the USA (14th November 2003) to which I added Raymond Lillie's picture of an SY in the USA. (updated 11th September 2006). In 2005/6, Henry Posner III purchased and overhauled 2 former Jitong QJs 6988 and 7081 and shipped them to the USA - see http://www.rypn.org/RyPN/briefs/viewbriefs.asp?filename=060422111818.txt for a report (27th April 2006). Wayne Weiss adds (22nd June 2006): "Photographed the 2 QJs being offloaded in Houston Sat evening June 10th. They were loaded on flats at shipside. The locos were loaded on QTTX 8 axle heavy duty flats and the tenders on standard 60' BNSF flats. Several days were spent tying them down and getting approval of the loads. They now sit in BNSF's South Yard (Houston) and will probably head south to Alvin then Northwest through Sealy and Cleburne and Fort Worth. Destination is Silvis where they will be offloaded and taken to Iowa City, Iowa where the FRA inspectors will be shown and look at anything they want. Then there will be a couple break in freight runs for invited guests and potential buyers, Henry Posner III who bought them doesn't really have a potential tourist operation on his Iowa Interstate RR (old Rick Island main from Chicago to Omaha). The locomotives were fully rebuilt at the ex military 701 locomotive factory near Nanpiao (not on the Nanpiao Coal Railway) with new flues, superheaters and circulators, new spring rigging, 3 new axles each (the US does not allow axle turning which they do in China).. New crown brasses were installed and the driver tires were turned, they trued the crankpins and installed new brasses, The cylinders and valves were bored and the pistons and valves got new rings and the feedwater heaters and pumps were rebuilt. The tenders were lifted and the tender trucks were fully reconditioned. They are like new and ready for years of service. They are being offered for considerably less than most lines spend to refurbish an engine every 5 years." Alan Crotty points out that pictures are available. Now, Henry Posner III tells me there are pictures available of 6988 on a test run in Iowa on 6th September 2006 - see http://www.iaisrailfans.org/gallery/BICBwith6988, Trevor Heath adds that 7081 hauled a short freight unassisted on 9th September 2006 http://www.iaisrailfans.org/gallery/Recent (added 10th September 2006). Both the QJs worked a further (very long!) revenue freight on 9th June 2007 reports Henry Posner III - read a full account which includes a link to a video clip of the action (9th July 2007). 

China Rail Publishing House in Beijing currently has two books of special interest. The first (added 13th September 1999) is "A Survey of Steam Locomotives", published by the China Steam Locomotive Association in October 1998 (in Chinese and English). The price is Y88 for soft cover and Y108 hardcover. It is also readily purchased in Da Tong where the Association has its headquarters. CRPH now has bilingual "A Picture Album of Steam Locomotives in China, 1876 - 2001", ISBN 7-113-04147-7, a much larger volume at Y288 (don't be put off by the price it is a great book), which includes many pictures of early locomotives (don't trust all the descriptions though!). It also shows a number of preserved locomotives, including those which were then in the Science and Technology Exhibition Hall, Ministry of Railways, East Beijing, but are mostly if not all at the Railway Museum, see below. Note that the easiest way to get to CPRH is to board a 59 bus at its northern terminus at Qianmen (on Metro circle line) and ride it to its southern terminus which is next to the southern moat, west of Beijing Nan station. CPRH is just a few metres back. Don't expect anyone to speak English here. I think it is generally accepted that taking a taxi instead of a bus will not save any time! (added 9th January 2002) 

Being almost exclusively interested in 'real, live' steam, it took me about 4 months to realise that the new Beijing Railway Museum at Chaoyang is just 20 minutes walk from my wife Yuehong's apartment in north-east Beijing, the museum is open 09.00 to 16.00 (not Mondays), admission is Y20. Robin Gibbons home page has a list of preserved steam locomotives in China.

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An unlikely source of a museum locomotive (29th March 2005) may be the bridge over the Lalin River on the border between Jilin and Heilongjiang as reported in the newsgroup Steam_in_China Steam_in_China-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Based on reports appearing on the internet in Chinese it seems that one of the 5 foot gauge Baldwin (#16117) built Vauclain compound 2-8-0s for the China Eastern Railway between 1898 and 1900 has been found more or less intact in the river bed having been buried under layers of silt for around 70 years. It is, after all, the second oldest steam locomotive in China and created a lot of media interest including live TV coverage of the excavation.

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 It has now been sent to Changchun for restoration and eventual display, its initial destination was the Changchun Puppet Imperial Palace (updated 8th May 2005). The first  picture above left (22nd April 2005) appeared in the China Daily, the second above right (courtesy of Chris Walker, 4th May 2005) shows how the locomotive will have looked when delivered (26th July 2005). Later news (31st August 2006) from Zhang Lantou is that the engine (but not tender) has been cleaned and painted and put on display. Now (18th September 2013) a picture shows it has gained a tender, thanks to John Raby for this.

China was home to trams in Changchun, Dalian and Anshan. The Changchun system is effectively converted to a light rail system and now (29th August 2003) I hear the Anshan system has closed pending the same change. The trams at Dalian, I understand, are still operating....

Nick Lera logo Nick Lera Video: Steam to the Gobi Desert

John Raby
Digital Railway Videos

(including material from
the forestry and other
narrow gauge railways)

Despite the decline in activity, more enthusiasts travel to China than anywhere else...

Cook Islands Index

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The Cook Islands are an unlikely site for a new steam enterprise in the 21st century. John Day has forwarded me a report (5th September 2000) which originated from Ken Wuschke. Tim Arnold Email goloco@steamshed.co.ck is the originator of the project and would be pleased to hear of anyone coming his way! Here she is courtesy of Tim (new picture 7th June 2003). Alas, the project stalled and the PX-48 has ceased running and will most likely be relocated to New Zealand - read a rather sad report (30th August 2011). I have now added a picture of the loco in steam in the early 2000s courtesy of Roger Smith (15th July 2014)

Fiji Index

Tiger Steam
Our CD-ROM covers REAL steam here.
Read Chris Walker's review.

Fiji finished with steam in the sugar mills in the early 70s. its main claim to fame being the 'Free Train'. Although several steam locomotives were reported preserved, the numbers on the island have steadily dwindled although two are now safe in the UK. Even the latest unexpected survivor will most likely not to be left to rust in peace. Read more about the sad story (updated 22nd May 2014 with a happier couple of pictures).

"Cane Train" by Peter Dyer and the late Peter Hodge is a marvellous account of the railways here. Published by the New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society Inc., in 1988 it is still available from them www.railsoc.org.nz. The Fiji Sugar Corporation has 'borrowed' the images from the book which provide a taste of its contents http://www.fsc.com.fj/history_of_sugar_in_fiji.htm (6th October 2012). John Browning has posted a blog of his September 2012 visit necessarily it is not a 'steam story' - http://trainrover.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/tuesday-august-28-2012-bula-welcome-to.html (added 19th October 2012)

Indonesia Index

An Indonesian  Photographic Archive?
Your help needed.
(10th November 2011)

PNKA Steam Locomotive Diagrams - now available! (2nd March 2012)

The main steam attraction of Java revolves around the sugar mills which in 2010/11 still operated up to 30 narrow gauge steam locomotives within the mills and in just one or two cases regularly out into the fields. This makes it, after China, number 2 in the world for real working steam locomotives, although numbers decline every year and the glory days are over. The reduced numbers of independent travellers attest to it with groups having to organise more and more 'plastic' events, just as in Cuba. In the days when I used to run tours and was an annual visitor I used to put up detailed reports, but in 2013 I received just one report from an independent traveller. If, like me, you've known and loved the island for well over 30 years, probably you will have no ambition to expend a lot of money and energy photographing what is left. But if you've never delved into the sugar mills and are broad minded enough to enjoy the 'critters' too then my favourite island explored independently should be on your list of things to do before you die. One day I'll be back for a last look, but quietly and almost anonymously.

The 2014 Java sugar season is upon us (more reports 12th August 2014). It is no longer the darling of the tour companies, although some three groups are visiting this year. I am summarising the steam news (as above), but John Raby is running a blog of visitors' experiences which is necessarily diesel orientated with some steam content (8th August 2014).

For more information looking back, follow these links:

And if you are a masochist and want to know what you missed, then my Sweet Dreams pages show steam in all its glory between 1975 and 1997 and now you can see them on video:.

Click for full size image.

For many years, the 'Jewel in the Crown' of Java sugar steam
was Olean mill near Situbondo, in East Java.
Uniquely, it combined daily steam in the fields AND
a mill operation which used around forty stationary steam engines.
You can relive those days on our Sweet Spot DVD.
Don't take our word for it, you can read Keith Chester's Review.

Click for full size image.

And inside the mills there is a mass of ancient stationary stream power too

Gula Java

The historic sugar mills of Java:
For full details and how to order, click here!

Long ago, it was the Iron Dinosaurs of the PJKA/PNKA that turned me into a fulltime international gricer and there are two open air museums in Java with representative collections:

Click for full size image. Those who like to dream will welcome the news that PT KAI has offered to re-open the Madiun to Ponorogo line, anyone for B5004 from Taman Mini, Jakarta to return to its old haunts?. The picture shows B5001 at Madiun in 1976 - there are more pictures of this line in the good old days on this site (29th January 2013).
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The Ambarawa Museum includes an operational rack railway, run by two B25 0-4-2RT (far left). The line north-east to Tuntang has now been upgraded and can take steam again. Day to day services, however, will be run by D300.23 reports Tjahjono Rahardjo (5th November 2010). IMPORTANT - the museum has been closed for renovations since 22nd July 2011 although it seems that trains can still be chartered.

For a while it also had an active conventional steam locomotive C1218, newly restored and working its first train for overseas enthusiasts in August 2006 (left). A proud moment for me as I helped organise its rescue from the back of the shed at Cepu a few years back. Click here for more pictures.

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C1218 went to Solo where it launched a tourist service on part of the Wonogiri branch commencing 17th September 2009 (12th September 2009). Far left is C1218 on a test run on 13th September 2009 (15th September 2009), the picture by Yuda Nugrahadi was originally uploaded to the Yahoo Keretapi Group, click here for more pictures (19th September 2009). I have now ridden the train myself, fulfilling a 35 year old dream (15th May 2010), see next left. The street running down the main drag, Jalan Slamet Riyadi, is challenging for photographers and especially videographers, but we featured a charter here during our 2010 Java tour. In April 2012, the local authority decided to cease funding the train, so I guess at some stage the loco will return to Ambarawa (21st August 2012). However, in March 2013, Railpage Australia reported that there had been a change of heart and the service would now continue (26th March 2013). The train was relaunched on 10th March 2013 - see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD4LN5zsE8o and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv6INGqJ_iY.

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B5112 has now been moved to the shed at Ambarawa in preparation for a return to steam (20th October 2011). The boiler was tested in early 2012 (21st August 2012) and the locomotive went on a test run to Tuntang on 4th December 2012 - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ff2aU-Xy1g and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Lo2liJCrfI. It looked glorious! (22nd December 2012). Rezza Habibie was there for a further run in mid-January and has supplied the pictures of the event - click on the thumbnails for the full size versions (18th January 2013).

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The other preserved steam operation has been on the Cepu Forest Railway, a great day out especially when the tourist coaches are left behind and and something resembling a 'real' train operates. Up to 2005 this worked pretty reliably - see my report of one such visit (21st August 2002), but since 2006, the railway has suffered from intermittent closures owing to rainy season damage but despite an organisation which is best described as shambolic, the railway has managed to operate charter trains for visiting enthusiast groups in recent years.

E1060 from West Sumatra was at Ambarawa (but only working on the flat) for 10 years between 1998 and 2008 but has now returned to its former haunts for the new Sawahlunto Railway Museum - where the coal mine for which the railway was built was sited (30th November 2008). Click here for more outline information on developments in West Sumatra (5th March 2009), but for a comprehensive report, read Thomas Kautzor's account of a visit in June 2010 (15th July 2010). I was here in late 2012 and you can read my report, basically E1060 is usually serviceable but is only steamed on special occasions and for charters (4th December 2012).

Apart from Java, there was still a little steam in the Oil Palm Estates in North Sumatra into the 1990s, I have added some archive photos (21st March 1998), but a German group visited (26th August 1998) and found only Dolok Sinumbah (2 locos shunting out of 5 serviceable) and Dolok Ilir (1 loco shunting out of 2 serviceable) had active steam. Certainly, I gave up on this after my 1993 visit. Geoff Warren found only a few preserved locos on a 2008 visit (29th August 2008), Joachim Lutz was here a little later and fills in most of the gaps (1st October 2008).

John Raby
Digital Railway Videos

These include Steamy Java 1999, PNKA Power Parade's Last Fling 1982 and Java Sugar Mills: Stationary Steam Engines and Steam Locomotives.

The front cover of Sweet Dreams

300 pictures of 20 years of steam in Java's Sugar Mills on CD ROM:
Sweet Dreams
For full details and how
 to order, click here!
(Click here for Keith Chester's review)
Read what other people have to say about Sweet Dreams.
Fur eine deutsche Meinung.

The front cover of Incredible Indonesia

If you like locos like this you'll love:
Incredible Indonesia
available on CD ROM!

Keith Chester has
  reviewed the CD-ROM
Most embarrassing for me
to read as the author!

Nick Lera logo Nick Lera Video: Wheels of Fire

Japan Index

I do not cover Japan in detail but Oliver Mayer's pages have useful information including planned steam runs. John Raby has put up some pics of Hokkaido steam in the snow (16th January 2002)

Laos Index

The only railway ever built in Laos (prior to the recent extension of Thailand's north-eastern line) was used to transport goods around rapids in the Mekong River on the islands of Don Det and Don Khon. It was 7km long and abandoned at the end of the Second World War. For some time I carried a picture of a surviving locomotive, Hans Hufnagel has been here and I have posted a report of what he found (2nd January 2004). Thomas Kautzor now points out that there are the remains of two locomotives here, the previously reported metre gauge locomotive probably was a wartime arrival and the second an incomplete small Decauville 0-4-0T. Both are shown on this page http://www.asienreisender.de/siphandon.html (13th December 2013). 

Malaysia Index

Tiger Steam
Our CD-ROM covers REAL steam here.
Read Chris Walker's review.

Long ago (1972-9) I lived in Penang, Malaysia. I have 2 children and a set of nameplates and numberplates from 563.09 to show for it. I saw the end of steam there and enjoyed the early preservation scene. I even drove a steam loco from Seremban to Port Dickson and back in 1987. In the mid 1990s there was a report in an Indonesian newspaper about a proposed steam-hauled tourist train from Gemas to Tampin, but I gather it was not a success and did not last very long. I have  added some historical background to 564.36 Temerloh and the Malayan Railway, provided by Fergus Moffat (22nd February 2001). Andrew Bremner has provided some pictures of the restoration and rolling stock (11th May 2002).

Zakaria Bin Yusof told me that "a few months ago in 1997, I saw that steam loco at the KL Railway Station during a joy ride for the school children." Does anyone have any further information? On 16th December 1999, I was told by KTM that their steam engine was not available for charter 'for technical reasons'. However, Brian Garvin reported to the Continental Railway Circle News Group that he was told by a loco inspector on 13th February 2006 that 564.36 was fully operational if in need of a steam crew and some tender loving care.... (added 9th March 2006). Since when the locomotive has had a repaint for a celebration of 100 years of railways in Gemas. See http://www.ktmrailwayfan.com for information - this site also has some nice historical pictures if you hunt around among the diesels and other crap (link added 11th September 2006). Latest (and very interesting) news from Thomas Kautzor is that 564.36 has been moved to Johor Bahru with the intention of returning it working order with the intention of operating steam specials in the south of the country (21st May 2010), however, Mark Torkington reported (14th November 2010) that it has been sent to a new railway museum/display to be established at the new Johor Bahru Sentral station (along with a couple of vintage diesels from the 1970s).

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Click here for my list of preserved steam in West Malaysia - (final two pictures added 3rd April 2013).

For up to date information on the Malayan Railway, check out http://www.keretapi.com/. For more historical information see Malcolm Wilton Jones's site http://members.lycos.co.uk/railsing/ and  http://searail.mymalaya.com/ (amended 16th January 2008). These links added 15th December 2005. 

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Meanwhile in East Malaysia, Victoria Hilley sent me information about the tourist North Borneo Railway project (December 11th 1999). Briefly as from January 22nd 2000, there were twice weekly trains for individual travelers (FITs), scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday departures at 10:00am, with return by 14.30. Journey is between Kota Kinabalu, Tanjung Aru station, to Papar station and return (66km), with the train available for private charters on a 7 days notice basis. It was officially launched by the Chief Minister of the State on 22nd January 2000 (24th February 2000) and their own web page is now available (20th April 2000). Following which there were a number of visitors including Hans Hufnagel in July 2000, myself in January 2001 (with steam up the Padas Gorge to Tenom - final pictures added 2nd February 2001) and John Raby has also been here (added 21st February 2001).

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James Waite has sent some background information (including a steam loco list) of this relatively unknown railway (7th February 2013).and told me that by May 2006 the train was running on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with 6-016 instead of 6-015 which needed some repairs, rather belatedly I have now uploaded his illustrated report with pictures of four different outings (7th February 2013). For some time services were suspended (at least on the coastal section between Kota Kinabalu and Beaufort) while the railway was given a much needed make over. Re-opening was repeatedly put off, during that period John Douglas reported that 6-015 and 6-016 were under heavy overhaul (17th January 2008) - picture below left. For news of a March 2010 visit click here (6th June 2010).

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The railway restarted steam services on 4th July 2011 (30th June 2011). For current information, click the North Borneo Railway link on http://www.suteraharbour.com, there are reports on their preparations blog pages http://suteraharbour.com/blogs/. Despite what has appeared at various times and in various places, the BR have confirmed to me that the trains will initially run TWICE a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays (1st July 2011). At RM 250 (GBP 50) even including breakfast and lunch, it's not cheap. Chris Jeffery was here in September 2011 and confirms everything was as before with 6-015 running and 6-016 waiting for spares (20th September 2011), while Chris Yapp has provided an illustrated report which also shows facets of the 'new railway' (27th December 2011).

Mongolia Index

Colin Young saw a small open air museum in passing in Ulaan Bataar in 2006 with at least three steam locomotives (one was a P36). Torsten Schneider has provided more information and some pictures (2nd December 2008).

It seems that L 3634 is in working order, there are several pictures on the web of it in action for the celebration of 65 years of Mongolian railways in early June 2014, for example see https://www.flickr.com/photos/batkhurel/14156933129, https://www.flickr.com/photos/batkhurel/14614956779 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/54330726@N08/14226102340 (8th August 2014). Thanks to Thomas Kautzor and Heiko Mueller for this.

Myanmar (Burma) Index

Tiger Steam
Our CD-ROM covers REAL steam here.
Read Chris Walker's review.

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Pictures of the Burma Mines Railway before the enthusiasts got there in quantity in the late 1990s are distinctly rare. Click here for Wilhelm Wisch's pictures of the Burma Mines Railway in the 1970s (20th November 2003). Click here for my own visit to the Burma Mines Railway in 1999 (but, alas the steam was no longer 'real'). For a more recent survey of the railway check out this page - with further pages linked - http://www.drehscheibe-foren.de/foren/read.php?30,4255932 (20th May 2009), the 200+ pictures are all grouped here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/12906273@N05/sets/72157615814027547/ (4th July 2009). It's a bit late but I now have James Waite's illustrated account of a group visit in February 2006 (25th January 2013).

Don't hold your breath time, but the new government in Myanmar has declared its intention to rebuild the 'Death Railway' at least from Thanbyuzyat to the Three Pagodas Pass, see http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/4338 (16th May 2012, link dead by 26th April 2014).

British built YB and YC 4-6-2 and YD 2-8-2 were still at work here in small numbers well into the 21st century, although the FarRail tours newsletter of August 2008 reports that all steam was withdrawn on orders from HQ in June 2008 (22nd August 2008). Few people visit these days so confirmation will be difficult but what follows may well be history and bear this in mind in planning a visit. Thomas Kautzor has provided a December 2008 update on this depressing news (24th December 2008).

Now in 2014 comes news on the FarRail website (registration required to read the report) that "YD 967" has been put through Insein Works and did a run with two coaches from Yangon to Bago and back on 8th December 2013. Now a YC is also going through works and will be followed by a second YD. Another YC and YD will be sent from Pyuntaza soon. I haven't quoted numbers as these locomotives are being heavily cannibalised. It's not a steam revival, they are said to be intended for tourist charters which will cost megabucks, but at least it ensures for a while a safer future for steam than seemed possible (all this 7th February 2014)..

The principal steam shed was (and will be, see above) at Bago, some 50 miles (80 km) north-east of Yangon. From there, irregular workings occurred along the mainline between Yangon and as far north (probably) as Pyinmana or even Thazi and also on the branch main line to Mottama/Moulmein. You had to be prepared for a significant gap between trains, but where else in the world could you have seen real steam on a double track main line on a state railway in the 21st century? Click here for the visitor reports, essential readings if you are thinking you ought to have visited, the last came from Shane O'Neil's June 2007 visit (23rd July 2007), these also contain other reports of visits to the Burma Mines Railway (see above). 

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This is YD 972 on on a freight train at Pyuntaza, 30th December 2005, the same locomotive I had seen in Insein Works (see below) nearly a year before. 

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In September 2006, China donated 130 carriages from the Yunnan metre gauge system to Myanmar (I rode several in early 2007 and while their condition was better than average for Myanmar they were pretty worn out by current Chinese standards). In return the Chinese got two ST 2-6-4T (and a couple of wagons), reportedly one has gone to the museum in Kunming and one to Beijing. 'Bizarre' is the word that springs to mind (23rd May 2007), the picture looks like Yangon station to me.

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As 144 4-6-4T (Beyer Peacock 1916), last reported at Insein Works in 2004 has been plinthed outside Yangon station according to a local newspaper report (original link dead 26th April 2014), thanks to Harvey Smith for spotting this one. This is not a class which many visitors will be familiar with, Basil Roberts' picture, taken from our Tiger Steam CD-ROM, shows sister locomotive 143 at Myohaung Junction shed, just south of Mandalay on 10th December 1971

Not strictly a 'steam' story, but there are plans afoot to relocate the main station in Yangon, 'more eccentricity' would be the most polite comment I could make (26th November 2007).

New Caledonia Index

Definitely not 'working steam' but here is a snippet from Jacques Daffis which I found fascinating.  For some background read 'Rails to the Setting Sun' by Charles Small page 147ff:

"I don't remember if I informed you that we have repatriated Decauville steam locomotive N° 288 from New Caledonia in July 1998. This 600mm gauge locomotive was built 1898, delivered 12.03.99. to Higgison International Nickel Corporation, Noumea, New Caledonia. It is a 3,250 tons "new model", the smaller one in the Decauville catalogue. At some time, the locomotive was regauged for 500mm gauge, and sold to Société Le Nickel, New Caledonia. It worked until about 1945, and later was abandoned in the jungle. The locomotive together with his sister 287 was rescued with the help of the French army, and taken to Noumea with a helicopter. 287 was restored externally and exposed as monument at the society Le Nickel headquarters in Noumea (it is 287, but with 288 plate). 288 was left rusting in a siding in Noumea. After long negotiations, and huge help of a resident, we were able to import it to France. New Caledonia is in a process towards independence, and it impossible to export old objects, they are "patrimony". I suppose that it is the only locomotive coming from so far (about 20 000 km), and it is also as far as I know the only Decauville type 3.250 t in France and perhaps in Europe.

North Korea Index

North Korea has never been an easy country to visit and effectively absolutely impossible for independent travellers. Many years ago there were a few short-lived tours but since 2002 a small number of groups have visited and the curtain has been raised slightly. The authorities seem to blow hot and news of scrappings and an end to the trips tends to be followed by a new discovery. There was still real working steam in the country at that time, but just how much was impossible to guess - bear in mind that owing to fuel/power shortages there were very few trains of any description running! I have now moved the tour reports to a separate page (this link went AWOL and I have now restored it, 5th November 2010). If you consider joining a tour here then you should read them carefully, although I haven't seen one advertised since 2005!

These pictures were taken by me in early 2003 and show standard gauge and narrow gauge charters:

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No large image available.

Several readers sent me notes on an article which appeared in the UK Daily Telegraph on 19th September 2000 concerning work to re-establish a rail link with South Korea which included this contraption (photo is from Reuters, no larger version is available):

One of James Hefner's contacts notes: "...no cylinders and visible gear, at least from the side you see on the picture as well, instead axleboxes. Spoked wheels, nevertheless. The "boiler" has no smokebox door. And ... would be wondering about the exhaust design, as it has two smokestacks. The "rear end" bears a "coal box". He felt, and James agreed, that it is either a diesel with steam bits added to it; or something built on a steam locomotive frame. It is not clear whether it came from South Korea or North Korea. Marcelo Benoit sent this note from Kass Franklin which seems to solve the mystery (13th October 2000)

" In Alfred W. Bruce's "Steam Locomotive In America" (1952) I found this on page 369:

STEAM TURBINES FOR THE SOVIET UNION

Some very interesting mobile, but not self-propelled, steam-turbine electric power plants were built in the United States to furnish temporary electric power in devastated Russian areas. These power plants were mounted on railroad-car type of underframes and trucks and could be located wherever there were rail connections. Only the 3,000-kw size as built during World War II with a conventional locomotive-type boiler is described here.
The fuel specified was a poor grade of native lignite, stoker-fired and required a very large grate area. The boiler was short and of large diameter. Induced stack draft was furnished by a turbine-driven fan located on the boiler unit, with two boiler units for each intermediate 3,000-kw plant. Each boiler unit had its adjacent conventional locomotive tender for coal and water supply, the coal being replenished from any nearby outcropping, and the steam was condensed. The entire power plant consisted of ten car units, as separate car units were provided for the switch gear, turbine set, and cooling set. In all, ninety-seven power plants were built, a total of 217,000-kw. They included forty-seven with 1,000-kw capacity and water-tube boilers; forty with 3,000-kw capacity and locomotive-type boilers; and ten with 5,000-kw capacity and water-tube boilers."

Philippines Index

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Negros went out of fashion at the tail end of the 20th century as working steam here ground to a halt and I have now archived all the reports up to the time when regular working steam finished (1997-1999). Click here to read them.

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Bernd Seiler took a tour group here in February 2007, lots of nostalgia and American diesels, with just a smidgeon of very nice geriatric plastic steam, see below courtesy of Hans Hufnagel). Read about it (new link, updated with more pictures 24th January 2013). Thomas Kautzor also visited Luzon and Panay, no active steam but an interesting account with quite a bit of preserved steam among the diesels... (updated 23rd May 2013 with news of one the five locomotives pictured in the previous update of 22nd March 2013, information on new stock, 25th February 2013). The repeat tour in February 2008 was not overly successful and the end is in sight not just for steam, but all the sugar cane railways in Negros (26th May 2008).

Sad news for me as a two time visitor was the news that Hawaiian Philippine have their 3ft gauge roster for sale. I received the following email (24th April 2003) "We are a company in the Philippines operating at least 8 steam locomotives, mostly built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, Pa, USA. Some are still operational, and others need only minor repairs. I would like to inquire if anybody is still interested to buy these machines. I could provide each of the equipment specifications if somebody is interested. Thank you." Point of contact is J Cristales, email jlcristales@hpcosugar.com. I need hardly mention that these are highly desirable beasts! The company have also provided (25th April 2003) a specification list of the locomotives (#2 was sold recently). Colin Rainsbury tells me (23rd June 2004) that the locomotives have now been sold. According to a report in Continental Railway Journal (edition #142), 0-6-0ST 8 and 9 which went from Hawaii to Negros in 1948 have returned there to run on a new tourist railway on the island of Kauai (26th June 2005). I have heard since (12th February 2006) that the railway expects to start operating in Summer 2006, but initially with a vintage Whitcomb diesel. Bernd Seiler visited in April 2006 and found all work in the hands of diesels but La Carlota (one loco) and Hawaiian Philippine (2) had serviceable steam locomotives (30th April 2006).

A visitor to Negros in December 2010 went to Hawaiian-Philippines Sugar Company and reports that "apparently the locos are regularly steamed on Thursdays, the only two still operating in the Philippines" (23rd December 2010). Ralf Mandera was here in March 2011 and reports (22nd March 2011) that 5 and 7 are serviceable and can be steamed for visitors and that four other locomotives are still present (I believe these will be 3, 4 and 6 the other standard Baldwin 0-6-0s and 1, the Henschel 0-6-0 RD.)

For news of a proposed new railway museum see my 'Railway Museums in Asia' page (4th June 2010). 

South Korea Index

No live steam for a long time, but on searching the web it seems that there quite a few preserved steam locomotives in the country. 

John Middleton was in South Korea in January 2012 and his report includes the railway museum at Uiwang and a list of known preserved steam locomotives (3rd August 2012). I have now (11th January 2014) added pictures from Bill Pugsley of the locomotives at Imjingak and Jeju.

Taiwan Index

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There are a number of active preserved steam locomotives on Taiwan including CK101 and CK124 on the mainline. Continental Railway Journal  150 notes that specials were run from 22nd to 24th December 2006 and again on 3rd/4th February 2007, the latter based on Changhua (this added 23rd July 2007, see also the earlier report below), click here for more information and the full reports from Taiwan which includes active preserved industrial steam (updated 27th July 2007). The two pictures on the left are courtesy of Su I-Jaw:

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I have posted a list of known preserved locomotives (updated 12th December 2011), which includes many industrial steam locomotives and the surviving Shays of the Alishan Railway; 26 was restored some time ago, now I have been told that 25 is again a runner having been converted to oil burning in April 2006 (23rd July 2007). The third picture above of 25 is courtesy of Hsieh Ming Pin. I have now added some pictures of all the restored locomotives on the island, courtesy of Su I-Jaw (15th April 2011).

Steve Pratt has since advised that DT 668 was reported to be resuming services from 11th November 2011 on the Neiwan railroad in Hsinchu County (12th December 2011). Tpm Schultz has sent me news of CT 273 which was last reported at 'the Folks Valley of Taiwan, Chang-Hua' and which has now been restored to running condition - http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/around_asia/AJ201406060050 - and will be based at Changhua. It's first public run will have been on 9th June 2014 (7th June 2014).

I got this from old friend Ray Gardiner (15th May 2007) - "Have you seen this website on Taiwan sugar mills? Has some great old photos of the mills and steam locos. Later photos cover the diesel locos very well. Also photos of a lot of other industrial railways, http://www.citycat.hdud.idv.tw/indexeng.htm ". Unfortunately for reasons beyond my control I can't actually read this myself, but it sounds a very welcome resource! For a view of the surviving ex-forestry steam locomotives and for surviving ex-logging steam locomotives (Lotung and Alsihan) see http://www.citycat.hdud.idv.tw/logging.htm (23rd July 2007). 

"For frustrated, non-Chinese speaking Railbuffs!!!!" see Taiwan Railways in English (added 23rd May 2007). There are some first class maps and one link on it is to this page with an amazing selection of old steam (and human) powered operations http://www.kurogane-rail.jp/eindex.html.

There are plans to convert the old steam shed at Changhua into a national railway museum - noted in a report from the Taipei Times about a heritage steam run in early 2007 (added 17th May 2007).

Thailand Index

Tiger Steam - Thailand - Available On Line (10th Dec 2013)

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The annual March 26th steam train to Ayutthaya has been brought forward to Sunday March 23rd 2014 reports Richard Barrow (via Michael Pass, 20th February 2014). You can now read a report of the day on Richard's blog - http://www.richardbarrow.com/2014/03/steam-train-ride-to-ayutthaya/ - which also suggests that the August 12th 2014 run will be to Nakhon Pathom (3rd April 2014). 

Don't hold your breath time, but the new government in Myanmar has declared its intention to rebuild the 'Death Railway' at least from Thanbyuzyat to the Three Pagodas Pass, see http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/4338 (16th May 2012). They are entering discussions with the Thai government, one problem that will need sorting is the fact that the original route has been submerged under the waters of a large dam on the Thai side.

The working preserved steam fleet consists 5 locomotives, Pacifics 824 and 850, Mikado 953 and Moguls 713 and 715. Normally they are kept at Thonburi shed (west Bangkok) and two of the larger locomotives are used on the annual special trains from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and back on 26th March, 12th August, 23rd October and 5th December, normally they work tender to tender as there are no turning facilities in Ayutthaya. The trains are exceptionally good value and tickets tend to sell out well in advance of the day, however, I have yet to hear of any visitor who was not able to board the train and buy a standee ticket. The moguls are used as part of  the annual 'Son et Lumiere' at Kanchanaburi in late November/early December (but not in 2010, 20th December 2010). The reports up to 2001 (which include the short lived Kanchanaburi excursions) are now available on a separate page.

Jan Willem van Dorp wrote (11th November 2010): "The Thai King's birthday steam specials for this year are now announced on the Thai version of the State Railways of Thailand website. This announcement contains a very pleasant surprise. In 2010 three specials are planned and the East and South lines feature in the program. Several enthusiasts covered the event and you can read about it and other preserved steam news in a composite report (20th December 2010). I missed it all by a week as I was in Burma, but I did visit the Death Railway and have posted a report (20th December 2010). Jan Willem sent me a link (now dead) which gave details of the programme for 2011. In the event the ambitious plans were aborted by mid-year and few of the trains ran, by the middle of the year those that did were diesel hauled (this paragraph updated 12th November 2011).

"No steam on December 5th, 2011" reports Chris Jeffery (12th November 2011). SRT staff at Hua Lampong station, Bangkok said their absence for the last 6-7 months was owing to 'mechanical condition' and unrelated to the floods. This year's King's Birthday train is advertised to Chachoengsao and will be diesel hauled, steam will not return until 2012. At the same time he established that "the last part of the line from Wongwian Yai to Mahachai (Samut Sakhon) is impassable. Trains are running to a 'halfway' point (12th November 2011). Michael Pass tells me that the regular March 26th 2012 steam run has been cancelled and there is no immediate prospect of further runs until substantial repairs have been carried out - the problem seems to be boiler related with sets of new tubes being required and presumably no money available (7th March 2012). Now, Wisarut Bholsithi reports (11th April 2012) that repairs have commenced and the locomotives should be ready for the 5th December 2012 train. Peter Green (15th June 2012) has sent three pictures from Thonburi which show that Pacifics 824 and 850 have had their boilers lifted, presumably they are to be sent to Makkasan Works (click to see a larger picture in a new window):

In fact, it seems that these boilers were 'life expired. Peter Green reports (4th November 2012), "Pacifics 850 and 824 hauled a test train to Nakhon Pathom yesterday. Their overhaul included the fitting of new boilers which were made in Thailand to Japanese specification. According to my informant, a senior manager at Thonburi Depot, this ensures the future of steam in Thailand for the next ten years. They were certainly a splendid sight as they moved off the depot (picture 4 above). Shortly after, the light failed". Chris Jeffery tells me that there was a further successful test run, this time to Ayutthaya, on 26th November and as a result the revival of the King's Birthday December 5th run is confirmed (28th November 2012). Chris Yapp has sent the two pictures of the actual run (7th December 2012).

Hans Hufnagel confirms that 713 and 715 are at Kanchanburi for the annual son et lumiere starting on 7th December 2012 (7th December 2012). He confirms 715 worked without a diesel during the grand climax (9th December 2012). Of course, back in 1973, the real stuff looked a lot better! (9th December 2012).

Chris Yapp and Michael Pass tell me that the March 26th 2013 steam special went off satisfactorily, there was a fair number of non-locals (farangs) present, this is Chris's photo of the train between Bang Khen and Laksi (4th April 2013). The 5th December 2013 run was diverted to Chachoengsao owing to problems on the Ayutthaya route (10th December 2013).

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A surprisingly good source of current and historical information on Thai railways is http://www.2bangkok.com, clearly the webmaster is a transport enthusiast. Dig around for information and it will be very rewarding (link added 30th July 2005). I have at long last got hold of a reasonably up-to-date list of preserved steam in Thailand (latest update 6th April 2014). Like all such lists it needs careful scanning for corrections/additions, please let me know and I will pass them on. James Waite points out (10th December 2007) that many of these feature on the Thai Railfans site - http://gallery.rotfaithai.com/index.php especially under 'others'. He had been in the country for the Kanchanaburi festival, Kings birthday train etc. He reports all went well. Most readers will have no problem working out what is happening here! Note that after many years, 'steam' was conspicuously absent from the S&L shown left in 2010 (20th December 2010), I suspect there was not enough money available in the current tourist slump.

James Waite stopped off here in March 2008 and investigated some preserved steam south east of Bangkok (13th April 2008). He was back again in December 2009 for a steamy weekend which included several preserved narrow gauge items in the north of the country (12th December 2009). On the static preservation front, Chris Yapp reports that the Railway Hall of Fame at Chatuchak closed on 23rd October 2012 (9th December 2012). 

SRT is cosmetically restoring five steam locomotives at Makkasan Works reports Chris Yapp (19th January 2013); Henschel 0-6-0T 54, Brush 0-6-0T 61, North British 4-6-0 165, Hanomag 4-6-2 278 and SLM 2-8-0 336. As always the numbers are dubious. 338 is ex-Rh and 54 is notable as being built to standard gauge and the last survivor of its kind. Railpage Australia carries a report that SRT is currently losing THB 20,000 a minute, so perhaps it is not surprising to learn that they are said to due to be displayed in the Roal Grand Palace. The pictures show 54, 165, 278 and 336, 61 being impossibly placed inside.
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After a 5 year gap I was back in Bangkok at the end of November 2005. Read about some interesting preserved rail and road items in the city (updated 25th May 2008). One incidental was a ride on the King's Birthday Special from Bangkok to Ayutthaya on 5th December 2005 (left). The weather was not kind, I spent most of the day familiarising myself with Beer Chang.

Click for full size image. Peter Green reports that former Chatuchak Museum 750mm gauge 0-4-0T (Kyosan Kogyo 10089/1959) is alive and well at the Thong Soombong Club located 4km N of Pak Chong. It is used at weekends on a continuous run as the line has balloon loops at each end. It runs on compressed air, the smoke coming from a smoke generator in the firebox (30th November 2013)..

Patrick Rudin reports that the steam locos failed to reach Ayutthaya on 5th December 2006, which, given the general state these days of both the steam locomotive fleet and the railway as a whole doesn't come as any great surprise.... (added 9th December 2006). Aya Kakuma and Chris Jeffery now tell me that actually 824 did make it all the way but that 953 was detached at Bang Pa-in, the return run was diesel, presumably because 824 was north facing (12th March 2007).

I was briefly in Bangkok in April 2006, I had just enough time to finally see the two Japanese Mikados entombed at the former Asia Rice Mills (26th April 2006) - James Waite saw them later in 2007 (10th December 2007).

Click for full size image. Click for full size image. Peter Green has sent these pictures from his December 2011 visit to Nakhon Chaisi (west of Bangkok, near Nakhon Pathom). It shows 263 which has been cosmetically restored (it previously had its boiler sectioned) and a relatively new arrival in the country, a standard gauge industrial Hanomag 0-4-0T (6039/1912). They are reported to be part of the nearby Jesada Technik Museum - http://www.jesadatechnikmuseum.com/activity_detail.php?qid=84&v=1 (link and website not working 26th April 2014).The Hanomag was sold to the museum by its previous owners, the Süddeutsches Eisenbahnmuseum, Heilbronn, Germany, www.eisenbahnmuseum-heilbronn.de/. All this 16th December 2011.

John Baker has sent (19th February 2005) this fascinating story from the Bangkok Post. "Ratchaburi: After six decades lying under water, a locomotive from a Japanese military-owned train that was bombed by the Allies during World War II will be retrieved from the Mae Klong river in Muang district and put on display as a tourist attraction. During World War II, the locomotive fell into the water when Chulalongkorn bridge was bombed by the Allies. The train was carrying weapons and supplies for Japanese soldiers and was crossing the Mae Klong river on its way to Burma. Lt-Gen Chaiyuth Theppayasuwan, chief of the army's Engineering Department, yesterday took technicians and divers to inspect the locomotive, which they found was still in good condition but surrounded by explosives. Each point where bombs were found would be marked and navy experts would be invited to survey the area and find ways to remove the locomotive and the explosives from the water. The train would then be put on display. Light and sound performances after its restoration would be held at Loy Krathong every year to show that war did no good to anyone and caused only damage, death and grief." I have since read that it is yet another C56 (7xx series 2-6-0s in later years), note added 3rd August 2005.

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I know it's not steam, but the 2Bangkok forum has some amazing colour pictures of the trams in 1964/5 - http://2bangkok.com/category/trams (link amended 16th December 2011). This is a sample (with permission, the original sample disappeared from their site at one stage, beware even this index page above has several broken links...

Vietnam Index

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At the time when this website was established, there were a number of metre gauge 141 class 2-8-2 steam locomotives still at work and a 131 2-6-2T and GJ 0-6-0T at Thai Nguyen Steelworks. Slowly the level of steam went down until there was no more main line activity by the end of 2002. The reports from this period have now been moved to a separate page. Parts of Vietnam are still a beautiful country but it seems they won a war and lost the peace; given the mercenary attitude of the railway and its staff, few will mourn its passing.

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After the end of regular working steam, it was assumed that no further tours would be possible. But Hans Hufnagel then reported (29th December 2003) on a change in policy from the country, however, Hans later added (21st May 2005) that he had been told that since no tours at all ran in 2004, DSVN had decided not to continue to offer steam tours.

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The Far Rail group in March 2008 was surprisingly offered an active 141, but it failed to materialise. However, the group did find active steam in the form of GJ 0-6-0Ts at the Thai Nguyen Steelworks reports James Waite (13th April 2008). A recent CRJ reported standard gauge 0-6-0T 1032 active at the steel works in January 2010 (17th August 2010). You'll need an expensive permit to visit here, Fabrice Lanoue joined another Far Rail group in November 2010 (21st December 2010). There has been one GJ active at Thai Nguyen Steelworks but now that is to finish according to the FarRail Blog (15th December 2013).

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Surprisingly 141.158 has now turned up preserved outside the station in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) reports Sebastien Schramm (27th July 2004). Chris Newman has supplied a recent photograph of 141.182 outside the workshops at Di An (click image left for full size). Chris also reports that privately owned 141.190 is still under active restoration inside, eventually it is expected to appear on a train designed to attract international tourists (6th February 2013). I have since heard from a second source that the main restoration effort is concentrated on 141.165 and that 141.190 is being cannibalised (12th March 2013). The main remaining issue is with the boiler.

A posting on the Far Rail Blog in March 2014 claimed that the following is a list of the remaining steam locomotives in the country (3rd April 2014), although identification may not be 100%:

1. Thai Nguyen:
131-428 has been transferred to China, leaving 4 steam locomotives: 030-1035, 1037 (best, after repair and using spare parts of 1032 and 1034, last check 1st December 2013), 1042 and 1045 still in good condition, ready for running.
2. Yen Bai:
131-402 dumped
3. Hanoi
141-165 was transferred in December 2013 to Di An, Saigon. There it is now together with 141-190 which was transferred 2 years ago for repair.
141-122 in Gia Lam in bad condition.
141-159 in Hanoi in good condition.
4. Plinthed:
141-179 in Di An Depot, Saigon (actually 141-82, see above)
141-158 at Saigon Station
a 141 in Danang Station (said to 141-206 by http://railwaysinvietnam.com/141.html)
a 141 in Vinh Station (said to 141-179 by http://railwaysinvietnam.com/141.html)

Steam Cranes

Steam cranes have always been the 'Cinderellas' of the railway steam scene, but as their more glamorous steam locomotive sisters ended their working days, they have often continued to be active in countries with no other real steam, but in this region the only known active survivors are in China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. You can read more about these and other survivors (updated 26th February 2014).


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk


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