The International Steam Pages
Good news from Vietnam
Hans Hufnagel reports:
In November 2002 - the DSVN (Vietnamese State Railways) announced the end of steam operations in Vietnam. They said also that they will no longer repair steam locos. The fact was that steam shunting in the Bim Son cement factory and in the harbour of Hai Phong had changed to diesel. Special trains at this time were operated by the last working 141. The loco was in very poor condition and my impression from this trip was that the administration of DSVN was not very interested in the organisation of further special trains.
But what a change in 2003! Just before I arrived in Vietnam in November 2003, I was informed that DSVN was preparing the overhaul of two more locos for special trains in the future: 141-108, the last original French loco and 141-122, "thu luc" one of the 2 sole locos built in Vietnam. Together with 141-190 they will offer 3 serviceable locos for the future. During my visit to Hanoi works, I could see that the repair work on these two locos had started already.
At the same time, 141-190 was running with special trains for a German tour operator on 4 days between Hanoi and Luu Xa, Dong Dang, Haiphong and Than Hoa.
The organisation by the DSVN was well prepared this year, and together with the unusually sunny weather - especially on the most misty line to the Chinese border - it was an excellent tour.
This is 141-190 on the special train leaving one of many tunnels near Bac Thui on the way to Dong Dang:
In Luu Xa the steelworks locos 1042 and 131-436 did some shunting work in the station yard for the group.
Following to the shunting, a special train pulled by the 131-436 was organised for a 15 km trip over the steelworks industrial line to the hilly section. Just before the train reach Khuc Rong station it has to pass this bridge: