The International Steam Pages

The Malayan Railway

The late Peter Hodge was based at the New Zealand High Commission in Kuala Lumpur for some 3 years from early 1969. As such he was witness to the last significant steam activity on the Malayan Railway although the fires were only finally dropped in early 1974. I am very grateful to the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society for passing this part of his photographic collection to me which I am now privileged to share with fellow enthusiasts. I would also like to thank John Browning for scanning Peter's slides and John Benson for allowing me to use some of his own collection which dates from the same period while he was based with the British Army in Singapore.

Peter's slides were not well protected against the ravages of time, many had fungal attack and scratches and all were dusty to varying degrees, some of the colours were no longer true and many were taken under a high tropical sun. As such, the only safe option was to clean and adjust them digitally and with time at a premium and a large quantity of images (250) involved, this has required some brutal 'Photoshopping' particularly of the sky areas. I make no apology for this, let the trains (and Peter's camera) speak for themselves. Apart from my own 'Tiger Steam' CD ROM, I know of no other significant public source of images of steam at work on the Malayan Railway (or Keretapi Tanah Melayu, KTM, to give its later name). Tiger Steam contains some of Peter's pictures shown here but also that of a number of others including the late Basil Roberts. 

The project is now complete (12th February 2016) with the processing of the slides of Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding region. It will be followed at some stage by a broad sweep through the world of Malaysian industrial narrow gauge railways with barely a whiff of steam to be seen but don't hold tour breath waiting for it, I need a break. I also have a very large quantity of parallel black and white negatives to process. Eventually I will offer a cheap download which will include pictures without the watermarks and saved to a higher quality. Producing material like this is not cost free and apart from significant expenses it has taken very many hours of hard work.

If you want to see Peter's pictures of the North Borneo Railway (Sabah) then you'll have to buy the 'Tiger Steam' CD ROM or download, the latter exceptional value.

Rob Dickinson