Railway Holidays in South-East Asia and Recent Travels

Presenter: Iain Scotchman

Virtual Meeting via Zoom

This was our second go at virtual meetings by Zoom. The technology worked quite well, with only minor glitches, thanks to our host David Cope. 28 members attended, several from other groups, who were of course very welcome.

Iain treated us to two rather different presentations. The first portrayed his recent holiday in South-East Asia. Starting in Kuala Lumpur there was much to see – meter gauge metros, a monorail and a standard gauge line to the airport. The station architecture was of interest, colonial style with modern extensions. An outing to Batu Caves followed. Later, in Bangkok we saw a massive new station under construction at Bang Sue, with many new and some planned metro lines. A Chinese high speed line will serve the new complex. The old station, in contrast to the one at Kuala Lumpur, was Italianate. On the line from Bangkok to Nam Tok the famous bridge over the River Kwai was crossed and photographed. Iain and his wife finished their tour in Singapore, travelling there by luxury train, the ‘Belmond Eastern Orient Express’.

The second presentation focused on recent developments on the Great Eastern. The new stock was depicted together with the ‘Thunderbird’ locos found necessary to rescue the spate of failures. Iain made the point that the Covid-19 emergency, which has dramatically reduced traffic, has enabled a smoother changeover. It’s an ill wind, etc. Iain managed to get shots of the new stock stored temporarily on the Mid Norfolk Railway. We also saw the movements of the stock that is being replaced, some to scrap in Newport and others for redeployment elsewhere. Class 86 and 90 locos were shown on Freightliner duties and various diesels – including 37s and 66s. There is much of interest in the changing scene in this part of the world.