The International Steam Pages
Vietnam Update, June/November 2001
Vietnam resident Takahide Yamamoto reported on recent observations (12th June 2001): The first section is his November 2001 update:
Round Hanoi Tourist Train
Round Hanoi tourist train on every Sunday still boasts good popularity, but it is now diesel hauled. To my knowledge, the last steam was on July 15. DSVN seems to have found out that all what Hanoians are interested in is an air-conditioned coach with reasonable payment (VND20, 000 = about USD1.4) and not steam traction.
Thai Nguyen Steel Works
On October 27 visit to Thai Nguyen Steel Works I reconfirmed 131-436 (ex JGR C12) on MG and two 030s (1034 and 1035, Gongjian made in China) on SG were in use. Two other 030s (1037,1045) out-of-use in the yard, and still other two (1032, 1042) under repair. Fresh black painting of 1032 suggested the repair work was nearing the final stage. They explained another 131 was under heavy repair somewhere else, which I have no means of confirmation. Since the local police put me on record at my last visit, I had no other choice but to get official permission this time. Admission fee to the steel works is of course incredibly expensive! Moreover, they demand every visit should be arranged through travel agencies in Hanoi, which further boosts up overall payment.
This is the June 2001 report:
Round-Hanoi Tourist Train
Vietnam railway has run a round- Hanoi tourist train from the end of March. The train runs the circle line counter clockwise every Sunday, leaving Ga Ha Noi (Hanoi station) at 8:00, passing Long Bien, Gia Lam, Yen Bien, Dong Ahn, Phu Dien, Ha Dong, Van Dien, Giap Bat, returning to Ga Ha Noi at 11:30 (or 11:40 according to another source!) The train consists of air-conditioned new coaches only, one of which is double decker. Good popularity has made the train longer, from six coaches to eight, and recently as many as eleven coaches are coupled behind a rugged but shabby mikado. The locomotive used is 141-210.
Shunting duty at Giap Bat
141-190 has been seen on shunting duty at the north end of the yard. The duty normally begins around 7:00. Duty in the afternoon is not busy, often none at all. Diesel locomotives take the charge at the south end. 141- 206,159,213 are dumped behind (west of) the buildings. There are always railway workers around them and taking out camera seems dangerous.
Recently 141-210, in stead of 190, is often seen although it is used for the tourist train on Sundays, which suggests that you can see the locomotive run along national highway 1A (Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh) if you have luck and patience to endure the heat and humidity (plus noise and pollution from the road). Giap Bat is the first station south of Ga Ha Noi.
Shunting duty at Bim Son.
141-164 is stationed at Ga Cong Nghep Bim Son (Bimson Industry Station) as previous visitors reported. The duty is limited to the station and the adjacent cement works only, even the short branch line from Ga Bim Son, which is on the main line, to here is served by a diesel locomotive. On the day of visit the shunting took place for about fifteen minutes around 16:00.
Dead GP6s in Mao Khe
GP6 1029 and 1040 were seen dead at Mao Khe station. This is passing observation from the train.