How come my feet are so dirty?
Well, we went to the place where they offload coal today…
…and that’s where we saw… her:
8195 – what a boring name for such a beautiful old locomotive:
I think they should have named her after a girl, or some big old lady. Not just a number.
Had anybody asked me before: “Chris, are you into old trains?” I would have probably said something indifferent like “not that much”, but now that I actually got to see one from up close, I was so excited!
“Can we have a look inside?” I asked everybody around, “can we have a look inside? Can we have a look inside? Can we have a look inside? Can we ha-”
The driver laughed: “just come on up you two – but watch your step!”
…that’s how I found out they had a tea kettle in there:
The three dudes who formed the crew (driver, assistant driver, fireman) were very friendly and even allowed me to take a picture in the driver’s seat:
Isn’t this the coolest thing ever?
…but it got even better when “8195” started moving:
Of course I wasn’t allowed to act as the driver anymore at that time, but here’s what they let me do instead:
Fire it up!
Word is that they even used to have a train here that the Emperor’s mother Cixi herself had been on almost a hundred years ago. And another train that the Japanese Emperor had been on. But when the government had sent people over to collect the old trains and put them into a museum, they had to realize that the coal miners had already demolished the trains and welded the steel into other things that they deemed more useful. I bet those government people must have had some massive WTF??-expressions on their faces.
Uncle Shen looked like he was having a good time, but since he used to be a railroad mechanic before, he was probably more used to these old trains than me.
I was so happy though:
We rode 8195 all the way to her workplace in the upper part of the coal mine:
This is where they load her up with 350 tons of coal, three to five times a day.
Poor, hardworking 8195, you must be so tired. Why don’t you just leave this place and come home with me? Can’t we go on the longest way together?
Eventually we had to say good-bye to her and her crew though:
Here’s a video of the whole day:
I liked 8195 very much, and I’m going to miss her.
…I think I heard her blow a silent [choo] to me when we were leaving.