Railway Preservation News

Regularly Operated Steam Around the World
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Author:  GTW Dude [ Fri Dec 22, 2023 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Regularly Operated Steam Around the World

After watching a video on the "Kriegslok" steam locomotives in Bosnia that are still in active freight service, it made me curious about what regular steam operations are still out there in the world. As far as I can tell, many countries like Cuba were operating steam into the 90's (and possibly still?) or China up until 2022 with Sandaoling.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Fri Dec 22, 2023 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Regularly Operated Steam Around the World

There is still "regularly operated steam" on railways around the world today.

But the important context here is "revenue operation in a setting that does NOT involve either tourism or historic preservation." This is what is normally meant by steam enthusiasts seeking out remote pockets of steam freight operation worldwide.

As 2023 comes to an end, it is all but impossible to find a steam rail operation that somehow doesn't involve tourism. As but two examples, the Strasburg Rail Road and the Everett RR in Pa. have both operated revenue freight with their steam locomotives in recent years, BUT both railroads own steam locomotives for tourist operations, and any freight run with steam was done either as a matter of convenience--the steamer was already hot--or as part of a railfan offering (passengers in the caboose). Taken to a rational extreme, one could argue that the steam locomotives at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are in "daily revenue service," albeit on captive, insular systems in a "fantasy land."

Most of the sugar plantation operations in Cuba have completely worn out their remaining steam locomotives, and a few that remain are ostensibly "performing for foreign tourists" more than working because they haven't a choice.

The Bosnian steam operations, like China's last holdout the Sandaoling mines which ceased about two years ago and the seasonal Cuban runs, are regarded as "industrial" operations in spite of the Bosnian operations using big standard gauge 2-10-0 "Kriegsloks."

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