The International Steam Pages

Steam in Vietnam, February/March 2001

This is Dick Franklin's report of the LCGB trip.

141-182 06.30 Hanoi, north to Luu Xa arr 11 15. This is where the Thai Nguyen Iron & Steel Co is and 131-436 was brought out to the station for fots. GJ 0-6-0T noted in distance on Steel Works line - was thought it might be 1034, but uncertain. 141-182 16.37 Luu Xa to Hanoi arr 21.02.

Yen Vien Depot
GP6 1007 der, GP6 1027 der, GP6 1019 der, 141-184 der, 141-106 der, 141-175 der. Three other locos GP6 1055, 141-179 & 141-211 although on the du line looked in reasonable external condition.
Hanoi Station Depot
141-189 reps, 141-210 steam test, 141-191? du-rods missing, 141-199 in steam, 141-122? Str for preservation, 141-182 in steam, 141-164 dead/du, but pushed inside shed? for overhaul, 141-192 du, 141-202 du, 141-158 der, 141-108 du. 141-178 du& 141-186 du. Shed official said has 15 locos- other two were at Bim Son cement factory, but he could not remember the numbers. Should it have been 16, with the one at Giap Bat - see later.
Did not manage to get inside Gia Lam Works, but could see top of loco over the wall. When questioned which loco it was - reply came 141-123!!

141-182 06.29 Hanoi to Hai Phong Docks arr 11.52. 141-199 o/r. 141-167 shunting in Docks.
141-199 14.11 Docks to station. 141-182 o/r. 141-182 16.07 HaiPhong to Hanoi arr 21.20. 141-199 o/r. Railway official who was on the train with us reckoned there were nine working steam locos - I Gia Lam (not seen - ?works), 1 Hai Phong (seen), 3 Hanoi (not seen, or had we taken them away from normal duties?), 1 Giap Bat (seen), 2 Bim Son cement factory {not seen) and 1 Ninh Binh (not seen).

141-199 06.29 Hanoi, north west to Pho Lu arr 20.55. Not far from Chinese border at Lao Cai.
141-182 o/r. 131-402 der at back of Yen Bai shed, visible from main line.

141-182 07.32 Pho Lu to Hanoi arr 20.50. 141-199 o/r. 6 x 141's der. At KP 148.4 just south of Van Phu station. Completely missed on way north except for one eagle eyed female member of the party. Only a few yards from the line but houses and foliage screening them. Not enough time to examine properly although nos. 161 & 168 were thought to be two of them. Possibly a seventh here but supposedly seen by only one person as we were leaving.

141-182 06.37 Hanoi, south on main line to Thanh Hoa arr 16.48. 141-165 in steam at Giap Bat yard. No steam seen around cement works at Bim Son. No steam seen at Ninh Binh although small coaling plant exists just north of the station on the east side of the line.
141-182 17.17 Thanh Hoa to Hanoi arr 00.13!

141-199 08.11 Gia Lam north east to Kep arr 10 47. Box Kep to Uong Bi.
GP6 1029 & GP6 1040 du at Dong Trieu station

Box Uong Bi to Kep and south to Bac Giang

141-199 06.06 Bac Giang north east to Dong Dang arr 14.36. Line to Luu Xa going off just north of Kep looked disused. Stopped at Dong Mo at KP 113 for servicing. Scenery starts getting good from here. Viaduct at KP 124 good for fots. Line climbs to KP 134 just short of Bac Thi and drops to Lang Son in and out of tunnels. Spectacular scenery - rolling hills with stepped paddy fields then higher hills, deeper valleys dotted with farms. By road from Dong Dang to view border and noted dual gauge seemed to go over to China. Dong Dang is at KP 162.4.

Although we were shedded at Lang Son for the night and due to be roaded to Dong Dang to start return journey, arranged for train to start from Lang Son earlier to enable fots to be obtained on the scenic section. It rained all day! The desperate got out at the viaduct.
141-199 07.22 Lang Son to Hanoi arr 15.50.

This day was originally a free one for sightseeing etc. It was suggested to our guides earlier on in the week that could it be arranged for an extra steam run around the Hanoi circle. Yes, it could be done, but at a high cost. So we said forget it and the matter was dropped. A few days later the guides said that if we still wanted to do the run the price would be one half of the original! So after paying our respects to the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh in his mausoleum we departed Hanoi at 11.33 behind 141 -210 south towards Giap Bat. Here we thought we had arranged for the train to stop and perform some shunting with the yard pilot, but the train stormed through and kept going. At which point the Party Leader went spare! Quite rightly so as 2 x 141's were noted and one person thought he saw a third. The facing junction on the main line for the circle line is at KP 9.5 and immediately we encountered KP 38.5 which gradually went down. There are stations and we passed a pass en route. The track looks to have been standard/dual gauge once, but is all metre now. The line joins the main line at Bac Hong, approx. 6 km's north west of Dong Anh (jn for Thai Nguyen line). A connection is also available direct onto the Lao Cai line heading north west. We had agreed to terminate the train at Yen Vien for the convenience of getting to the airport by road. Arrival was at 14.51.

End of bash.

Rob Dickinson