This past week I was on vacation with my parents and a friend. We visited
Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.
While going to Livingston from Butte, MT I saw a freight train which was
being pulled by a steam locomotive. The train had a greenish paint job but I
could not see the Logo of a company. I am wondering what company it could
have been. I did not think steam engines were still in use doing any work
except at tourist sites.
I am wondering do any other companies use steam engines.
firstname.lastname@example.org ( email@example.com) wrote in
That would be the Crab Orchard & Egyptian (or some name like that).
They had a 2-8-0, as I recall, that they ran freight with mostly
because it was all they had. Eventually they started running
into maintenance headaches (they de-superheated the engine at one
point to simplify things) and gave up. Last time I was up that
way they had a little butthead, an SW900 or something in that size,
to move things around.
There is a small hydro plant along the D & S which is not readily
reachable by road, for which they occasionally move a car or two.
As far as I know that's the only revenue freight on either of them,
altho both run photographer's specials from time to time.
Blue Mountain & Reading ran freight behind steam at times, simply
because the owner liked steam engines. I beleive the Ohio Central
has done so also.
Apparently there have been some special excursions or tours on the
TransSiberian route using all steam locomotives. A description of one
such trip was in one of the US railfan magazines a couple years ago.
I'm not sure this tour is done every year. I just did a brief check but
could not find the article, altho my recollection is that it appeared in
Railfan and Railroad magazine.
Sun Cheek wrote:
You wrote on Thu, 14 Aug 2003 15:52:48 -0600:
For sure, there are a few steam locos that are still in operational
condition. Even in Moscow region you can see a couple of them yearly on May
9th and August 3rd. Not sure, but it may be possible to get on these trains
almost for free. Same thing is possible for exotic tours and there is also a
private narrow gauge museum in Pereslavl which has continuously used small
steam loco. But these facts are rare exclusions, not the everydays railway
BTW, there are several so called 'railroad reserve bases' where you can find
a number of steam and older diesel locos. These bases are big open spaces
filled with tracks, somewhere outside civilization, in the woods etc. The
locos are stored there in 'conservated' state and in open air, so very soon
they become unoperational. I know that during three recent years there were
some attempts 'to put things in order' there which of course resulted in
scrapping dozens of steam locos.
With best regards, Sun Cheek. E-mail: snipped-for-privacy@No.spam.suncheek.tk
I doubt rather much that one could "conserve" railway rolling stock in the
open air without much checking and maintaining. The static displays at the
local transportation museum in my state of Virginia get great sums spent on
them just to keep them visually presentable. The pigeon factor weighs
heavily in the cost.
Regardless if it's been restored to operating condition, or only
cosmetically, railroad equipment requires continual exterior maintenance
when stored out-of-doors. On top of that (particularly passenger equipment)
you have to be concerned with the effects of heat and cold on the cars
interior. At one time, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum had to store the
Silver Crescent (former CZ dome-obs-lounge) in the open. On an 85 degree
Florida day, I measured 150 degrees in the vista-dome!
Eritrea has recently re-opened their railway from Massaua on the Red Sea
up through the mountains to Asmara and beyond, using old Italian built
Mallets for regular service on their Italian colonial gauge of 950mm, Fiat
What about the East Broad Top? Although that is more of a museum type
operation, I do believe I saw more thanm just tourist passenger cars
in their yards.
I also think that the line in Georgia, although another tourist line,
still operates Steam - Stone Mountain, I think.
But even a museum can have regularly scheduled trains, which would
count just as much as hailing freight would.
Back in the late '60s and early '70s, there was a rail line in
Vietnam, which originally connected the cities of Hanoi, DaNang, Hue
and Siagon, with Hong Kong; but due to the fighting between South and
North, the connection to Hanoi was severed.
The USArmy did try and operate the rail line, being successful on many
occasions, but it wasn't until late '72, that anything was done to try
and prevent the tracks from being totally destroyed.
Last I geard from there, was that the railroad was undergoing changes,
and would connect all the major cities together.
Motive power would probably be more diesel than steam, but given the
amount of wood to burn, steam may be more practical.
Perhaps one of the readers from Austrailia, might let us know what is
down there in the way of steam.
Re steam use in Australia, possibly some of the two ft. gauge sugar cane
tramways up in Queensland might still have a bit of working steam, the
regular Saturday pass. from Melbourne to Warrnambool on the coast and return
had steam haulage up to about Nov. of last year, then stopped because of
Summer Fire Bans, but has not resumed, even though summer is long gone, I
suspect that it will not resume. Perhaps best known tourist steam in
Australia is 'Puffing Billy', 762mm(30 inch) gauge 2-6-2 Baldwin designed
but locally built tank engines up in the hills n.e. of Melbourne, steam
operation every day of the week, except again on Total Fire Ban days.But no
regular freight.Steam also on other tourist lines and often on main line fan
Once again "Phaedra" posts a farrago of bullshit.
The Trans-Indochina railway was opened throughout in 1936, from the
Chinese border at Nacham to Saigon, and on to My Tho. It didn't go
Hong Kong. It only remained complete until 1940, when
the line was partially dismantled by the Chinese at their end. The line
was broken up into short, independently operated sections long before
the entry of the US into the war, and certainly long before 1972.
Current motive power is all diesel - sources report that
genuine steam operations finished early in 2003. Even the tourist
operation at Da Lat is now diesel hauled, when it runs. Prior to that,
all coal burning and many wood burning steam locos were converted to OIL
firing in 1963.
For a reliable account of the railway in Vietnam, you could try the
Trains Magazine, March & April 1969. A concise and well written article
by Jerry Pinkepank and Paul Stephanus.
Continental Railway Journal, various issues. Contemporary reports of
railway operation in Vietnam, by correspondents in Vietnam.
Or you could go online:
Or try one by a mate of mine, who visited Vietnam earlier this year.
Sort of. A couple of mills have some steam locos but they are only used
on over priced tourist trains.
There were problems with the loco, and the untimely death of Gary
McDonald who was a major driving force behind the steam workings. R711
is still out for repairs and conversion of R766 is still not complete.
But I would argue that although this was steam haulage of a regular
train, it not really extensive use of steam on a railway basis. Steam
was only used seasonally and only on Saturdays.
The last bastion of non-tourist steam in Australia was the Richmond Vale
Railway in the Hunter Valley. Coal trains out of Stockrington Colliery
were steam hauled until the mine and railway closed in October 1987.
Steam was run on a shoestring budget and to questionable safety standards.
They did it all the time on the CNR in Newfoundland. Standard gauge freight
cars retrucked to 36" (?) narrow gauge for transit over the Newfoundland
system, and that using the very much larger North American loading gauge and
consequently, much heavier freight cars carrying much heavier loads. Though
I'm sure there were probably some restrictions.
There's another alternative: transporter cars. The Leek and Manifold
Light Railway used them to carry standard gauge freight cars. This was
a British 30" gauge line, and the freight cars were the typical
british 4-wheel mineral wagon - like a short gondola.