The International Steam Pages

"Pecawi", Sind, Pakistan, 1992

This is the fourth part of "Two Weeks in Pakistan, 1992" - click here for the index.

I arrived in Hyderabad after an overnight journey from Lahore. I discovered that I was to travel on to Mirpur Khas in a special saloon attached to the rear of a regular train and there was just enough time to photograph HGS 2257 attaching it before we set off.

Sind as a whole was considered a security risk and I was allocated a set of armed guards for any appearance I might make in a public area outside the railway - fortunately the bungalow I was staying in was within the station and shed complex. By now it was afternoon and with all steam departures to the east, there was little point in exposing more than the bare minimum of slide film. I paid a night visit to the shed where YD (new) 2-8-2 734 was getting special attention, it was being 'hand painted', literally as there were no brushes available.

Next morning the reason for the special attention was apparent, the loco was to work an inspection special for the divisional superintendent. It may have looked good when stationary, but once it moved, it leaked steam everywhere, but no doubt as in the film 'The Titfield Thunderbolt', the locals were careful not to let their important visitors lean out of the train while it was moving.

Before that departure a much shabbier YD 728 had left with the first train of the day. This would have been a far better choice for the special but no doubt those in charge at the shed doubted 734's ability to handle a real train...

My plan for the day was to ride YD 722 round the Jhudo loop in an anticlockwise direction, everything went well as far as Jamrao where we saw YD (old) 519 arrive from the main line to the east. 722 came out of the station and stopped for me as planned but, alas, while the loco was in fine fettle, the tender was not and the scale of the leak was such that the train had to return to Mirpur Khas.

It was too late to ride a train out, I had no choice but to watch from the lineside just outside the station limits.

4-6-0 127 which had arrived earlier from the east on a lightweight train then later departed back again:

While 519, which I had seen at Jamrao also went back, but with this kind of light it was time to take a rest:

I couldn't resist a final night visit to the shed where I found 4-6-0 65 well positioned:

Next morning, I caught the train to Nawabshah, I had lost the armed guards by now but gained a travelling loco inspector, which made for easier photography on the generously timed run, starting with the departure round the sharp curve leaving Mirpur Khas:

A false start of ridiculous proportions and coasting along in the middle of nowhere.

I did expect 138 leaving Nawabshah on its way back to Mirpur Kas would be my last metre gauge steam loco. 

However, after catching the overnight train to Samasata, I spotted 69 (together with 727) on low loaders, their condition suggesting they were on their way to Mughalpura as opposed to from there. At the time it was a welcome sight, but years later in 1997 another visitor's report suggested they were actually being sent for scrapping...

Rob Dickinson