The International Steam Pages

Garratts in Asia

This page illustrates examples of articulated steam locomotives - click here for the introduction to Garratt locomotives.

Railways in Asia were never heavily into Garratts, those that worked here were bought to do specific localised tasks, by and large the inconvenience of having non-standard locomotives meant that their working life was not long.


There are two metre gauge lines out of the plains into the hills of Shan State and by the time the design was established Garratts were the obvious power, earlier Fairlies and Mallets not really being up to the job. World War 2 put paid to the earlier locomotives and by the 1970s the lines were effectively dieselised and the surviving wartime GB and GC Garratts were reduced to menial duties.

Basil Roberts caught 2-8-0 + 0-8-2 Garratt GB 827 working an engineer's train at Pyinyaung on the mountainous branch above Thazi on 16th November 1972.

The later GC 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 Garratts were also based at Thazi. By 2nd February 1977, they had no regular work and Peter Mosse was officially declined permission to photograph 834 on shed, but shortly after it was found conveniently positioned. (PM)

Garratt GC 837 (BP 7134/1944) is preserved quite complete at Insein works, Yangon, seen here on 1st February 2005.


The National Railway Museum in New Delhi has N Class 4-8-0 + 0-8-4 815, it seems a trifle heavy for the track underneath it, photographed in 1993 (left) and 2004 (right).

Sister locomotive 811 was plinthed at Kharagpur for many years. Now it has been returned to working order, Subhasis Ganguly, SE Railway’s Chief Heritage Officer took this picture of it in 2006, it has since made several runs.

War Department 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 32086 was officially preserved in Guwahati in Assam where James Waite photographed it in 2004. It is from the same batch of locomotives that became the East African 55 class. It was later disassembled for a restoration project that stalled and has since been sent to the museum at Tinsukia and put back together where Rahul photographed it in 2009.


Two Garratts delivered to the 762mm (2' 6") gauge Nepal Government Railway, on its closure they were transferred to the Janakpur railway. Here, the terrain was flat and they saw little use. The railway has been dieselised since 1994.

This Richard Pelham's picture of 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 #4, 'Mahabir' on 7th February 1992

This is Basil Roberts' picture of 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 #6, Sitaram on 19th January 1981

Sri Lanka

By January 1976 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 Garratt 345 at Nawalapitya was the last 'working' example on the broad gauge, unfortunately I caught it on a day when it was not rostered to go out on the line, looking back this was one of my greatest gricing failures.

The late great Basil Roberts was on hand to record sister locomotive 344 in the hills in January 1973.


8 Henschel 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 Garratts were bought specifically for the Khaen Koi - Pakchong section. They were early victims of dieselisation but 457 has survived. Basil Roberts photographed it outside Bang Sue, Bangkok, shed in 1971, but it has long since moved to Kanchanaburi.

Rob Dickinson