The International Steam Pages
Burma Mines in the 1970s
The Burma Mines have always exerted a certain fascination for narrow gauge enthusiasts. I finally got to visit in 1999 but when we researched our CD-ROM Tiger Steam, we were unable to find any source of pictures of the railway when steam was in regular use over the line. Now Wilhelm Wisch who worked in Burma as a geologist in the early 1970s has sent me some slides which I have scanned.
He writes: "I worked in Burma from 1972 until 1975 as a member of a group of German geologists and engineers, according to the framework of the German techincial aid for Burma. From 1973 to 1975 we did mine exploration and geochemical prospecting at Bawdwin mines. We had an office in Rangoon and from here we went to Bawdwin for a 4-6 week period. First we went to Lashio by air. From Lashio to Namtu we were taken by an army aircraft (single engine de Havilland Otter) and finally from Namtu to Bawdwin we went by trolley of the type shown in your report (the Wickham RD). Of course we passed Tiger Camp and Lopa station. This trip from Rangoon to Bawdwin usually took us 2 days with an overnight stay at the Namtu Guesthouse. Security at that time was not good, so there were always Burmese army bodyguards around us....
This is a view of Bawdwin from the hill slope. The big building on the left hand side in the foreground was the mine office main office of the Myanmar Bawdwin Corporation (later No. 1 Mining Corporation).
Loco 13 at Bawdwin station (Despite appearances this cannot be 3 which was an old Dick, Kerr loco... RD)
Loco 13 at Bawdwin station, details of the loco are on the plate:
The daily train connecting Namtu and Bawdwin, arriving between 12.00 and 13.00 at Bawdwin.
This is a train at Lopa station. Please observe the 2 locos pulling the train. I took this photo from the trolley on our way to Bawdwin. You can see some sand on the loco. Several times I watched a man sitting on the bumper and scattering sand on the rails when the wheels were rotating on the slope. (This slide was damged and I have had to severely crop the image. RD)