The International Steam Pages
Steam in Thailand and Vietnam 2002
Hans Hufnagel reports on his visit:
As it does every year, the River Kwai Festival at Kanchanaburi took place from the end of November to the beginning of December. The short scene of crossing a Japanese military train over the River Kwai Bridge was performed by the 2-6-0 steam loco 715. The same type of engine 713 was waiting as spare loco at Kanchanaburi railway station. The Garrat loco ( 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 ) nr. 457 has been removed from the area of the railway station and is now plinthed on a short track in the park in front of Kanchanaburi railway station.
The special steam train for the 75th anniversary of the king's birthday was operated on the 5th of December from Bangkok Hua Lamphong to Ayutthaya by the locos 824 and 850. As usual, the locos were connected tender to tender because of the lack of turning facilities in Ayutthaya.
The end of steam in Vietnam!
The administration of Vietnam railways have decided to do no more repairs on steam locos. That means the end of steam time will come very soon. At the end of November 2002 were only two ( !!! ) serviecable steam locos on the rails of the state railway on duty: 141.210 was doing the shunting work at the cement factory in Bim Son, 141.190 worked several special trains for a European railfan group.
The shunting duty at Hai Phong habour has been worked by a diesel for some time. They said a year ago, that after repairs the steam shunter would be back at the harbour, but unfortunatelly this never happened. Two more steam locos, which are not owned by DSVN, were working at Thai Nguyen steel works as shunters. These were meter gauge 131.436 and sg 1032
For the above mentioned travelling group two steam locos were agreed in Spring 2002. One (!!!!) week before the trip the railway informed us that only one loco was able to work. For the non-working second loco, which was a part of the contract, the group got a very small amount of money back.
What will happen to future special steam trains we shall see at the earliest in January 2003!.
These pictures show that the Vietnamese weather was 'normal: