For a moment, standing there at the station in Nanking, my heart skipped a beat. I saw this wonderful piece of machinery reversing down the track and I thought it was getting hitched to the locomotive-less carriages on the platform in front of us.
But then I saw it change direction and it slowly sidled over two tracks. My disappointment was palpable and was made complete when a nondescript diesel locomotive arrived for our carriages.
I watched as the engineer reversed down the track, some carriages already linked to the front of the locomotive, and slowed to a crawl so his assistants could make the connection.
Our guide told us we had to board and we left the station before the steam engine did so I don’t know if it was actually making a run or just shunting around the station yards.
I’d long wanted to make a steam train journey of some distance, and still do. To date I’ve only made short trips on volunteer-run lines in the UK. They’re fun but when you end up back where you started after only a short passage of time, the sense of having journeyed somewhere is somewhat diluted, I think.
Black and White rendition first, color below that.