After solving the mystery of “Cigars of the Pharaoh” and spending a few relaxing days at the palace of the King of Gaipajama in India, Tintin started off on his next adventure. This adventure, “The Blue Lotus” took Tintin into the China of the 1930s. A country which had been invaded by the Japanese on one part and one which had been carved out into spheres of influence by the European powers on the other side. He was arrested by the Americans and handed over to the Japanese from where he escaped in a Wolseley Armoured Car. Later Tintin took a journey to Hukow to find theFang Hsi-Ying.
The train that he took was pulled by an old steam locomotive. This was an AM 2 Class locomotive of the Chinese railways. It was known by different names on different railways. On the Peking-Mukden railways it was called the Class 40 while on the North China Transport System it was called the Ameni class.
These locomotives were originally built by the American company Baldwin Locomotive Works. These locomotives were 4-4-0 type locomotives, ie, it had four wheels on the front truck followed by four driving wheels which actually moved the locomotive. In these locomotives there is no rear truck. These locomotives operated on the standard gauge of 4′-8-1/2″ (1,435 mm). They weighed 92.8 tons.
The Baldwin Locomotive Works was an American company that started manufacturing steam locomotives in 1831 in Philadelphia and later shifted to Pennsylvania. It was the largest producer of steam locomotives in USA, but was not successful in its transition to a diesel locomotive manufacturer. When demand for diesel locomotives replaced the demand for steam, Baldwin could not compete with other diesel producers. As a result the company stopped making locomotives in 1956. It went out of business in 1972. In its lifetime covering more than 141 years, it produced more than 70,000 locomotives which were used across the world.
Baldwin did try to develop alternatives to the diesel in the form of steam turbine driven locomotives. But the technology was not very successful overall and was soon replaced by diesel-electric locomotives.