After the Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Northeastern Japan, and while the entire nation struggles to change its mood and to struggle to continue and recover, many programs were started to bring Japan, as a nation, to a more positive mood. One such way of doing this was to inaugurate the return of the famous Japanese express steam locomotive from the postwar era–the C61. In February 2011, it was brought out from its short amusement park and museum locale, to begin test runs. From March through June, the C61 began its special excursion runs to motivate Japan. The C61, was one of the express passenger locomotives, to be built during the US Occupation of Japan, when new steam locomotives were NOT ALLOWED to be built in Japan, per Occupation orders. So Japanese officials built the C61 and C62 from the bodies and parts of older freight locomotives D51 and “Pacific type” passenger locomotive C57, with some modifications to fit the speed and smoothness, as well as power necessary for pulling passenger locomotives, resulting in the Hudson type C61.
China’s steam locomotives are among the most photographed in the world. People come from the world over to film their steam because of some spectacular vistas that showcase some of the beautiful and immense, and diverse landscape that is China combined with the best of what steam has to offer, showing its power, grit and beauty in spectacular fashion.
The region/rail line that became, perhaps, the most photographed steam rail line in the world for a decade, was the Jingpeng Pass along the JiTong Line in Mongolia.
There are remaining coal and other mineral industry steam still operating in China. Much of of it would’ve disappeared but due to the recent interest of Europeans, Japanese and American interest in China steam, some of the lines have remained.
I will be posting more as time goes. Here are a few videos to start.
http://www.trainbuffs.eu has some of the best professionally done video essays and documentaries on world steam, including those of China, North Korea, and others.
Unfortunately– trainbuffs.eu seems to have gone out of business. But there are many videos of Chinese steam.
Here are others to introduce you to Chinese steam in the 20th and 21st century —
Japan’s steam locomotive designs originally began with the first imports from Great Britain. Later, it became familiar with Dutch designs but were not known for nothing other than imitations of the Pacific and Mikado locomotives, and others.
The C62 became Japan’s most internationally famous for its Hudson design, but with a few original design techniques, as well as its amalgam of Dutch, British, American and Japanese sensibilities. Today, one C62 remains in operation in short runs in a part. It ran longer excursions into the early 2000 but was retired. Japan, however, prides itself in its history and the locomotives as a part of it and will most likely run the C62 at a later time, for longer excursions. The D51, the C57, C58, and C11 locomotives, other of the most famous and representative of Japanese steam locomotive designs, are still running in many excursions and specials year-round. Stations are usually packed by fans and photographers. The Japanese public, in general, are lovers of the steam locomotive, as part of their past.