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Steam in China, December  2017

by Ian Hopkins


Steve Szjewkowski and myself were the ‘two Brits with Mike Ma’ mentioned by Duncan Cotterill in his recent report (China 681 - M.R). I have a few additional observations. Nanzhan is busier than Duncan implied. JS 8077 and 8089 are also in use there and trains up to the deep mine were pushed up by a single loco thus presenting boiler first photo opportunities. Trains were intermittent but after the shift change in the morning and early afternoon usually present the best opportunities though not every day. There’s plenty of shunting to see especially at the west end of the yard. There are also usually two departures a day from the Jianmeixian coal yard to the main Nanzhan yard, which are worth watching as there is a steep incline to get out of the yard. Empties are usually delivered soon after the departure by a different loco. Also if you are lucky you can see all 4 locos at the same time at the pit throat, as shown in the photo below left. Left to right these are: loco with empties just having taken coal; train in head shunt, next in line for the blue loader; departure from the blue loader; train of empties on the mainline line, next but one for the blue loader. The below right photo shows a driver washing his car at Dongbolizhan using the footplate hose from JS 8167. An interesting meeting of old and new in modern China. Obviously a clean car is preferable to a clean loco! JS 8167 is one of the reinstated locos and a close inspection reveals new pipework and fittings here and there. See the left of the photo. All in all a great trip with lots to see, great weather and pin sharp mountains.

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© 2017 Ian Hopkins