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Steam in China - October 2004

by Heinrich Hubbert

Tiefa, Hegang


On Oct 2nd, between 6 and 11 there where 2 empties with diesel going up the Faku-line and I did not wait for their return. Nothing else except the passenger. The other lines are very dreary.
Very depressing. I would not recommend anybody to come here except china-newbies who want to see a bulk of clean SYs.

Finally, on my sixth and last day in Tiefa, I saw 1 empty-train leaving Tiefa in the morning and another one waiting for departure. However, I did not bother to hang out the whole day there to wait for the return. During the entire week, I did not see the JS.

The morning action with the passengers is still excellent and after I traveled the line to the south I found that at the last end there is some rural scenery and no poles beside the other. The church-shot is of course a must.
People are extremly friendly and I was invited for a ride on the engine to Wangqian. At my first morning at Daqing I was asked for the photo-ticket and was kicked away because I had none. I came back the next morning - just stay in a distance. Wait till the engines are in the right position for you, take your pictures and go away.

I stayed in the luedian just opposite of the Diaobinshan station - on the main road the very first building on the right side. Common bath but 20 Yuan for a very clean double room. Staff is very friendly and I was invited for a trip out with them on my second last night and the niece translated. I was the first foreigner in their house they told me. Surprising - I hadn`t expected this in Tiefa. I was invited again the next evening but refused as I had a long journey ahead on the next day.


However, Hegang pleased me much more. The flat irons make a nice contrast to the SYs of wich some are very shiny.

There are 6 train-pairs on the (western) Fuli-Line nd I would rate this as the best for steam passengers. This morning, I observed a coal-train with a big EL1 banked by an SY from Fuli going to Nanshan. The trains to Xingshan are worked by EL2 again.

There was much less action in the open pit than mentioned in former reports. No steam seems to be in use there, today there was no traffic as the track-gang was very busy at one level-crossing so the line was blocked.

Still this system is waiting to be fully explored. In my 4 days I could just cover a fraction of what is already known. There is one line going further to the north and I have no idea abaout the conection to Junde (I saw an SY there on the western side from the train when coming from Jiamusi - an electrified line is leading to the western direction).

DON'T THROW AROUND HUNDREDS OF YUANS TO GET A CABIN RIDE HERE PLEASE! THIS IS NOT JINGPENG! People are so overwhelmimg friendly here - I even had to refuse invitations to get my phots. (Of course in general it is much easier to get a ride when you show up alone.) Even today in the pit - a black limosine stoped beside me and I thought "Oh God" But they just wanted to greed me and ask were I am from. Bring small coins for the staff en masse from any foreign country and pictures to give away. People are just happy with that here - and always keep a smile! "Always Smile! It costs nothing and makes everybody happy" (Rob Dickinson)

Heinrich Hubbert

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© 2004, Heinrich Hubbert, email: hubbertweb@web.de