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Don's Rail Photos

Korean National Railroad

Joseon Chongdokbu Cheoldoguk

Our First "Hokey" Fantrip

After a short time in Korea, I got to meet Charlie Ward, who became my best friend while we both served in Korea together. Charlie was in charge of the Yongsan engine house. Later I'll do a write up about his pet engine and the effect it had on Korean railroading. Charlie was from the San Francisco area, and he had another friend from that area named Bob Townley. Bob was in the Air Force and was stationed at K13 which was near Suwon. One day Charlie and I went to Suwon and then to K13 to spend the night in the visitors' quarters so that the three of us could get an early start to ride the narrow gauge train from Suwon to Yoju.

We arrived early in the morning after the mixed train had been made up. The little mike had a 3 man engine crew, an engineer and two firemen. The cars were jammed with natives. At the time, the Korean diet included large amounts of garlic, and the crowded cars were rather pungent. We decided the best ride would be on the pilot beam. We found a large empty rice bag and put it in place. We then assumed our positions. The photo of #8 on the previous page shows the bag. Since this was a 30 inch gauge train, and a mixed train at that, it was not a high speed run. The ride was great. We stopped at every little station and set out and picked up cars. Here are some photos along the line.

Here we stop at Ojong. Not a big place, but it sure seems to be the kind of place where you would find a mixed train. You can also get an idea of how jammed the passenger cars were.

At Yonjin, we took water and coal.

I called this next picture "Mixed Train Daily" taken at Jabil.

Here is the Hokie Train at Ichon.

USA 8 getting ready to leave town at Yangji.

And we near the end of the line as we enter Yoju.

At the end of the line I took a photo of the "observation car" at the end of the train.

I took a walk up the hill next to the town and got an over all view of the terminal area. There are no turning facilities here, and you can see the 8 being serviced across from the station.

Since the locomotive was running in reverse, we could no longer sit on the pilot beam comfortably. Don't forget that the cab had 3 crewmen. That left the cab roof. We sat on the roof and dangled our feet into the coal bunker. This wasn't bad until we got to Meryu. Here the trailing truck under the cab, and under us, derailed. Since this locomotive was so small, it wasn't that big a job to get it back on track using ties.

And after an uneventful ride back to Suwon, our first trip was over with wonderful memories.

My main camera was a size 616 black and white.  I made records of all of those photos which gave me the locations for this page.  I also had a 35 MM but I never considered of any importance. So slides were just stuck in boxes in the drawer.  In the late 1970s we found there was no more 616.  I realized that those slides were of value.  I switched to 35 and dug out the old slides.  I tried to organize them and found a few which were duplications of the b&w.  But the others gave me no information on the locations of the slides.  Here are pictures taken on the trip but without the location.

Next we report on an officially organized genuine railfan trip--just like back home.

Early in October 2000 I got an email from a friend who put me in contact with Bob. It was great to renew an old friendship. He reminded me of a meeting in 1957 in Chicago, but that's over 50 years ago. The news that was hard to take was that our pal Charlie had passed away in South America in the early '90s.


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