The International Steam Pages

Temples of Steam - Sagaing Division, 2006

All these pictures were taken in Shwebo District in January 2006. Necessarily, there were again large numbers of Marshall and Tangye engines seen, but among the others, some absolute delights....

This old engine of unknown provenance provided the steam for the 'temples of steam' picture above:

Earlier the same morning we had seen this tiny Ruston, Proctor engine:

There was no number on that one, but this larger engine from the same manufacturer had a plate identifying it as 28725:

There are many mysteries in Burma. This is a so-called 'MacDonald Engine', carrying the name of Geo. Garrett of Glasgow, (agents I am sure) and no relation to the better known Richard Garrett of Leiston. It is very similar in many ways to the first unidentified engine and the next one below. There are many others similar with various names attached, most of them no doubt agents of some kind, every name has drawn an internet search blank....


This early Cowie Bros, Glasgow, engine was working in a mill erected in 2004.... 

A search on the internet for Cowie Brothers again drew a blank. Their plates appear on a variety of engine types (including one engine we saw in 2005 which is definitely a Tangye), several of their engines in the Shwebo area seem to be almost identical with those constructed by Shore of Stoke-on-Trent like this one. We were told later in Bago Division they were agents and in Irrawaddy Division we were shown one of their catalogues produced by their Rangoon branch.  Maybe if I still lived in the UK, I could resolve some of these mysteries...


Perhaps the most delightful engine we saw was this one, which was clearly a portable conversion (I was standing on its boiler for the shot). Note the lever regulator at the front of the cylinder as opposed to the otherwise universal wheel and what appears to be a railway wagon wheel added for balance. It is very similar to the confirmed Foster in Mon State and can be confidently assigned as such.  

This is a typical ex-portable engine boiler, shown below is the unidentified engine with which it was presumably once united:

The Robey Trust was uniquely helpful after my 2005 visit. This is one of their older engines (15873):

By way of contrast, this Robey with piston valves (54878) must have been the most modern engine I have seen in the country. The pile of tools indicate that the engine was under repair when we visited - the staff quickly put it back together and ran it for us as you can see!

This Marshall, said to be a 14" machine, alternates with an electric motor. It still has its Hartnell governor, but it is now out of use in favour of the standard Pickering type.

While most engines were at the very least a little dusty, you could have eaten your dinner off this working Tangye (Tanyge's Patent, Birmingham, J Size, which means a 12" cylinder) 

When you get bored with the belt engines then there are a few lovely pumps, this from Lee Howl of Tipton was certainly the classiest we have seen....

These are the individual pages from the 2006 trip:

Read more about our travels in:

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson