Saturday, October 15, 2005

"Aso Boy" put out to pasture


Right after posting this about the "Aso Boy" steam locomotive in Aso, Japan, I find this article (in Japanese) saying that the locomotive—Japan Railway's oldest operating steam locomotive, and the last on Kyushu—made its final run on August 28.

JR says it made the decision to retire the locomotive because of the high cost of maintenance and the difficulty of obtaining spare parts.

The Aso Boy was strictly for the tourists, but it lent a certain elegance to the rail line that diesel engines just don't have, and I'm sure she—make that "he"—will be missed—especially by the die-hard steam engine aficionados we used to see setting up their camera equipment along Highway 57.

—Mellow Monk

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