Take a journey into the windswept deserts of India and the icy frontiers of Northeastern China for a rare last glimpse of powerful steam trains that have managed to survive on the fringes of Asia’s railway empires. This onetime “king of transportation” is riding on the brink of extinction - its last outposts now in the most remote areas of China and India. In China, the steam locomotive still survives as part of the national transportation system, but not for long. In the once forbidden territory of Inner Mongolia, China's largest and most powerful steam engines - the 135-ton behemoths of the legendary QJ-class - still carry on through the frozen expanses of this sparsely populated frontier. In India, steam trains still travel through the Rajasthani desert along routes that shadow the ancient Silk Road. Many of these trains date from the days of the British Raj. Take a window seat as we travel across this wondrous land, stopping at the 12th Century castle fortress of Jaisalmer, the lakeside palaces of Udaipur, and the magnificent Ranakpur Jain Temple. And finally, witness the last days of steam on the Indian Railways, as once mighty steam locomotives are pulled from the tracks. Empires of Steam explores the largest and most exotic centers of steam railway activity left anywhere in the world. Brilliant cinematography documents this closing chapter of the world's last great steam railway empires and the colorful people who still populate these remote regions.