Saturday, May 31, 2008

Out along the tracks

A well-preserved Pacific steam locomotive next to the railway station in Phnom Penh
Saturday afternoon = free time, so I paid a quick visit to the railway station in Phnom Penh, specifically on the hunt for the railway sheds that I was told contained some rusting, ancient steam locomotives. Not that I'm a railway buff, though as a kid I was a keen train-spotter back in England and used to travel all over the UK logging train numbers, before I discovered football and girls! Someone had asked me to seek out these old loco's, so I did a bit of ferreting around this afternoon. I didn't hang around the railway station itself as the guy at the gate was asking silly money, so instead I took the moto along the tracks for about half a kilometre, eliciting stares and smiles from the owners of the ramshackle corrugated shacks that pose as homes for the people who live next to the railway line and back onto Boeung Kak lake. The well-preserved steam locomotive in the top picture is located near the entrance to the railway yards. The two rusting and decrepit Pacific loco's pictured here can be found further down the line, alongwith a few shunting engines and two large railway sheds which I was told contain around eight steam loco's and various carriages and rolling stock, but the man with the keys was not about. So to get inside will require another visit, and no doubt a few dollars to grease the wheels, so to speak. It was my first time along the tracks and the people I met including the female security guards were all very pleasant. I rounded off the visit with a glass of sugar-cane juice and visited some friends in Tuol Kauk.
A Pacific steam loco left to rot and rust and now only good for scrap
Another Pacific steam loco left to the elements
The front of the steam locomotive, which will soon succumb to the bushes growing all around it
One of the regularly used shunting engines at the railway yards
These railway sheds are used for repairing both engines and carriages, though the ones in the foreground are not good examples of their handiwork!
The main railway sheds where eight steam loco's are housed
This is the main track that the trains used to take on the way to Kampot and Sihanoukville before they were stopped

2 Comments:

Blogger mythicaldude said...

Totally cool. I never heard about these and I've been there to poke around a bit in the past, but missed 'em somehow - except for the big refurbished one.

Next time you're gonna go poke around a place like that in Phnom Penh give me a call and I'll join you... camera in tow.

June 2, 2008 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Paul Ingraham said...

Hi, Andy,

Very interesting photos of the railways as they were when you visited a few years ago. Fortunately, they are now being resuscitated and, hopefully, will soon have connections with Thailand and Vietnam again.
One note: You identified the preserved locomotive in your first photo as a "Pacific". It is, in fact, a "Prairie".
A Pacific would have the wheel arrangement 4-6-2, or, in French notation, 2-3-1 (they count axles rather than wheels). As confirmation, the number plate on the smoke deflector reads 131.106. The first three digits indicate the axle arrangement, 1-3-1, which is known by the nickname "Prairie". The last three digits are the individual locomotive number in the series.

Paul Ingraham, Coordinator, AsiaNRail

April 20, 2015 at 12:23 PM  

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