The Peculiarities of Locomotive Numbers

Below, you’ll see a perfectly nice photograph of SZD 0-10-0 No. Er766-41 performing switching duties at the Museum of Railway Transport in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Image Source on Dmitri Zinoviev’s
But, “Wait!” I hear the eagle-eyed among you say. “That’s Er786-19, it says so clearly on the tender.” And therein lies the nuisance. Unlike practices in other parts of the world, in Russia, tenders are usually lettered prominently for the locomotive with which they were constructed. So this is, indeed Er766-41 dragging around the tender from Er766-19.

In times past, I fell into the trap of placing a photo with the record for the number on the tender (usually when I couldn’t see the number on the locomotive). After getting verbally thrashed over this a couple of times, I’m much more careful now. And I also thought a small explanation would be useful. And I liked the photo we’ve linked to here.

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Interesting Locomotives


Operational Steam at Umekoji, Japan

The Umekoji Depot Museum (now known as the Kyoto Railroad Museum) has long been home to operational steam. I had been unaware as to how much of their collection was operational until a recent Note from a site visitor (Yuki Taki) that outlined their status.

Locomotives in Japan can be operational, but not certified for mainline use. At Umekoji we have the following locomotives:

JNR 4-6-4 No. C62-2 Operational, Not Certified for Mainline Use
JNR 4-6-4 C61-2 Operational, Not Certified for Mainline Use
JNR 4-6-2 No. C57-1 Operational, Not Certified for Mainline Use
JNR 2-6-0 No. C56-160 Operational, Certified for Mainline Use
JNR 2-8-2 No. D51-200 Operational, Certified for Mainline Use
JNR 2-6-0 No. 8630 Operational, Not Certified for Mainline Use
JNR 0-4-0T No. B20-10 Operational, Not Certified for Mainline Use

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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Interesting Locomotives


An Operational 2-6-0 In Japan

Japanese National Railways (JNR) 2-6-0 No. 8630 became operational at the Umekoji Museum Depot in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Site visitor Yuki Taki recently provided some interesting details about this locomotive.

Copyright © Hahifuheho

Site visitor Yuki Taki provided some interesting background informatoin about this locomotive.

8630 is operational, albeit only within the Umekouji Depot premises. She is an unusual loco in Japan, in that she is equipped with a bell (just between her steam and sand domes). Also interesting to note that this locomotive belongs in the first batch of 52 Class 8620 2-6-0s introduced in 1914, which means that as-delivered, her running boards were not divided into two stages and she would have had the earlier, less sharply curved cab. Her cab and running boards are speculated to have been replaced by that of a retired member of her class at some point in her career.

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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Interesting Locomotives


An 0-10-0 That Isn’t (Anymore)

In the course of running this website, I’ve encountered steam locomotives that have come to odd places at the end of their lives. In South American there’s a locomotive that has been converted into a very large pizza oven. And in Russia there are a couple of 2-10-0s that have been shortened to their smokeboxes, and pilot truck and displayed in parks emerging from pseudo-tunnels or in one case a simple brick wall.

So it was, long before I’d seen a photo of this locomotive, I received the following description of it:

Er762-27 the middle part of the boiler was disposed of, the firebox was attached to the smokebox and used as a incinerator unit on 4 wheels from the 0-10-0 cut down frames.

I shrugged my shoulders, and said to myself, “Well that’s odd.” And thought little of it, until I encountered this image from Dmitri Zinoviev’s wonderful website,

Copyright © Dimitri Zakutnyaya

It is precisely what it looks like: a mobile incinerator on four wheels. The smoke box has been grafted directly to the firebox, and comments on indicate that this is precisely what this contraption was used for.

This is SZD 0-10-0 No. Er762-27 last noted in 2007 in Isakogorka, Archangelsk Region, Russia. Our page for this locomotive is Er762-27



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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Interesting Locomotives


Website News (June 28th, 2017)

Minor Disaster

Somewhere around 4:20 am, on June 25th, I made a colossal mistake, more through over-confidence and exhaustion, than incompetence, though that played a role as well. There are two fields in the database record for each locomotive, labelled ‘State’ and ‘Fullstate’.  The idea for these fields was that we’d be able to have a state or province, and its proper abbreviation. ‘Minnesota’ and ‘MN’, for example.

So, what did I do? There was a locomotive in Russia that was listed in the wrong province. Rather than using the site’s administrative interface (slow and clumsy) to fix it, I decided to edit the database directly. And I correctly set up the State and Fullstate values for the locomotive in question. And applied the change to the entire database instead of to the one locomotive I’d planned on fixing. This had no impact on countries where the two fields weren’t in use, but for Russia, Canada, the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Australia it was catastrophic. Essentially 10,689 locomotives suddenly became invisible on the website. If I editted the record for a locomotive to put the correct values back in those fields, it reappeared with its data intact. But the prospect of hand editting 10,689 records was somewhat daunting.

I opened an emergency support ticket with my hosting provider, and confusion ensued. They were intially of the impression that they were backing up our database nightly, but literally couldn’t find the backup files. After some hours, some discussion and a fair bit of self-loathing, I sat down and began the hand editting process. After a bit, I got a pretty good feel for how fast I could do this, and my initial estimate was that the site would be back to normal in about 3 months. So I sat down and began writing a tool to speed up the process. About midway through the writing process I got an excited phone call from the hosting provider stating that they’d found the backups, that they were about 27 hours old and did I want them to restore the database? Yes. Oh heck yes! Si. Da. Jawohl. And they did.

The website and database returned to the precise state they were in at 1:30 am on Jun 24th, 2017. If notes were posted, links or photos added, or even locomotives added to the site between the time of the backup and the time of the mistake, they were gone. Fortunately it was neither difficult nor tedious to re-enter most of it. And the prolific user of Notes, ILFORD, who has provided a vast quantity of useful information, simply reposted the information that disappeared.

So, the site is caught up, the database is clean and tidy, and I’ve developed a set of stored procedures that will protect me from myself. Thanks for your patience.

And to those of you who didn’t notice: you need to visit us more often (that’s supposed to be a joke).


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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Website


Website News

New Content

  • Over the past 30 days we’ve added a total of 84 locomotives to the website and database which were previously unknown to us. These are mostly “park locomotives”, but include several full-sized locomotives as well.
  • We’ve corrected the listings for 212 locomotives, adding details, correcting  technical details or changing the locomotives location to reflect current reality.
  • We’ve added over 1000 new satellite images/maps to the site, mostly in Canada and the United States. When we finish reviewing our information for these two countries we’ll move on to adding images/maps elsewhere.
  • We’ve added photos for over 100 additional locomotives in the past 30 days

New Features

We’ve created a new category and status called ‘Lost Locomotives’. These are locomotives which were known to exist in the recent past, have not been reported scrapped and whose location is currently unknown. You can see a list of these locomotives at:

If you visit the information page for one of these locomotives, you’ll see this icon. Click it and you’ll get a little window with a summary of what we know about the locomotive’s location, history and sometimes ownershiop.




Editorial Policy

Judging from the email that I receive, a brief explanation of some of the editorial policies we follow at may be in order. Often we receive email questioning differences between Wes Barris’ and our site. In some cases, Wes is more up to date than we are, in others we’re a bit ahead of him. We communicate often in hopes of keeping these differences to a minimum. Other differences result from differences in policies. To explain:

  • lists “Tender Only” as a locomotive. In other words, if only the tender from a locomotive exists, it will be listed on as a locomotive. We don’t do that.
  • (our site) does NOT list gas/mechanical or diesel mechanical steam outline locomotives unless, all or part of the locomotve was actually a steam locomotive at one time. If a steam locomotive has been dieselized, or become gasoline powered then we list it  If you’re looking for steam outline locomotives like these Wes lists a number of them at
  • We do NOT list steam locomotives with gauges less than 12″
  • Buried locomotives. We will not list a reported “buried” locomotive unless we have solid evidence that the locomotive is/was buried in the reported location and that it still exists.
  • Sunk locomotives. Treated the same as buried locomotives.


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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Website


Chinese Narrow Gauge in Wales!

Beijing Capital Steel & Chemical 0-8-0 No. 4 “Dahuichang” has found a new home on the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog, Caernarfonshire, UK. uk1620

Photo Copyright © Steve Frost

This locomotive was built in 1988 by the Harbin Locomotive Works as a C2 Class 0-8-0. The locomotive was imported into the UK in 2007 from China where it worked on a 2 km long line linking the works with a limestone quarry. The locomotive was initially stored at the Ffestiniog’s Boston Lodge Works.

A rebuild was begun in 2013 with the aim of returning the locomotive to service. It would be necessary to re-gauge the locomotive as there are no 750mm gauge lines in the UK. The frame is being narrowed and the wheels regauged to run on the Ffestiniog’s 1 foot 11 3/4″ trackage.

In April of 2017 the restoration was at a halfway point. It is hoped that restoration will progress to the point where the locomotive can be displayed at the Ffestiniog’s Railway Quirks & Curiosities II Gala at the end of April.