‘A lost loco in the limelight’
In all those years I am visiting and living in Chiang Mai called: The rose of the North, I never saw it, a little locomotive – Nº 4 – once belonged to the Thai Sugar Mill Company (now called: Mae Wang Sugar Company) at Ko Kha near Nakhon Lampang. I knew it was plinthed on the premises of a technical university but never undertook any pilgrimage. Apparently something someone doesn’t do where he lives although all the other railway matters were painstakingly recorded.
After finishing the turntable tales there was nothing left others than an almost endless repeating of the things that happen at the Northern line railway head, daily traffic but nothing special to report about. One better can take a seat on the Hua Lamphong platform as lingering on the Chiang Mai station ground, though I did for many years in the past trying to get the the picture complete by seeing and discovering the details one by another.
It was Mike Pass who disturbed the peaceful existence by compiling a by far outraged list over the whereabouts of any survived steam locomotive in Thailand. An illustrated guide he named it, and a guide it is. What I neglected for many years he managed to sweeten within an hour and also this tiny locomotive was awoken from his sleep, unfortunate not a beauty one because sitting in the open wind and weather pays the toll.
In am wondering if the students of today do have a clue about the history of this particular machine or considered it as just a heap of rusty metal and no connection what so ever with the things they hopefully shall learn. The engineers of the near future, whatever they have to cope with, steam will be the last.
The story of Ko Kha I captured before on the 2bangkok.com website in my series: Thailand from the train as Nº 4, coincidently the same number as this locomotive or are the ghosts haunting? The die-hards on steel wheels who trying to keep their past alive. A wheel half submerged in gravel because they never put any rail underneath. A still and a bit forgotten poetry that slowly rusts away. There’s no necessity to bring the engine under steam again, the sugar mills stopped using rail for transporting the cane nor is there any another narrow gauge whereupon it can proofs the skill. Even a decent museum where at least it would have been preserved the way it was. For a technical college a minor point or purposely showing what the past supposes to be; an outdated feature with no future at all only slowly falling apart.