< Live Steaming in Taiwan >
I met a live steam model loco in Taiwan! Moreover it is scratch-built!
Japanese model engineer Hoshino-san introduced me You Wenjin, a model engineer in Taiwan. He built two 5" model steam locomotives with Japanese model engineer's guidance. The prototype of both is Japanese D51 locomotive. He finished one as D51 itself and another as DT688, exported version of D51 for Taiwan.
He and his family drive electric model train and haul a lot of passengers in every weekend at Shengxing station on Jiushan line. Sometimes he drives his own model steam loco. Shengxing station is a famous sightseeing place in Taiwan.
He invited me and introduced his railway system kindly.
The train has two electric loco at both ends and additional driving car at center. Each driving car isn't so heavy but the train can haul twenty passengers. On every holiday, he serves more than a thousand passengers!
The track is straightforward and laid out between full size rails. So it is smooth and level.
The loco is made by himself. It shows nice craftsmanship.
I met his steam loco on a festival at another city. It is 1/8.4 scale. The engine's weight is around 230 kg. Cylinders' diameter is 65 mm.
Actual number of the prototype isn't DT688 but DT668. Also the company plate is a little different from the actual logo. These are his tricks.
Well arranged copper air piping is a highlight of Japanese steam loco. He conscientiously finished the details.
Firehole door is 'butterfly' type. Regulator is lever type and cab reverser is screw type. They all come from the prototype.
Cross heads and valve gear are also well detailed. The link arrangement shows the loco has slide valves.
He Prepared four kinds of coals. He said that coal in Taiwan is not efficient, but he mixes them to reproduce smoke and smell.
The track layout is arranged point to point 'omega' shape with a shortcut line. For backward run, the train is hauled by electric loco. The steam loco returns on the shortcut line.
The tracks are made from plain steel bars and forged cross bars. They are painted black in order to avoid rust. They are all made by himself.
The knuckle couplers are lost-wax castings. They are also his original.
This is the starting station. Long line of waiting passengers remained till the sunset. After the service, he let me drive the loco. The movement was smooth and steady.
I will visit his workshop someday.