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It was told that this measurement was because of the localy unstable political condition. So I must suggest that you should not go there alone like me. It will be better in groups and a good licensed local guide seems necessary. Hiring a car in Hami will also be a good idea, even some taxis/minibuses run between Hami station and Sandaoling asking just Y15. The charge of hiring car in Xinjiang was about 2.5 times higher than at most other places of the country.
The landscape of Sandaoling area is basically flat and not outstanding at all. It will be a good idea going to the mountains like Balikun (巴里坤) area which is only about 70 km north of Hami.
Summertime at Baishitou (白石头)/ Balikun area
The railway operation is just as the information already described by Carsten's report. Unfortunately, the summer break applied during my visit: only 4 working steam locomotives were seen during my half days' staying. An amount of 27 JS and one SY were identified.
Open Pit: JS 6283, 8059, 8071,8077, 8186, 8194
Dumped in depot: JS 5708
The Open Pit
Depot of Open Pit
The "Transport and Selling Department" owns 3 JS: 8358 and 8366 plus one not identified. The unit is basically a different company but also belongs to Hami Coal Mine. The JS which belong to the Transport Department only shunt between station 7,8 and CNR Liushuquan station. All others work in whole mine area which includes some private mines, too.
I took cabin ride on the 07:00 am worker's train from station 1 to station 2 and 3. Then back to Station 1. The train is very short composite of few wagons and was free of charge.
1 东剝離站 Dongbolizhan (East Separating Station)
2 西剝離站 Xibolizhan (West Separating Station)
3 坑下 ，露天矿 Kengxia or Lutiankuang (Open Pit)
4 坑口 Kengkou (Entrance of Open Pit ???)
5 八二站 Baerzhan (Station 82 ???)
6 三段站 Sanduanzhan(3rd Section Station)
7 機廠站 Jichangzhan(Machinery Selecting)
8 南站，运销處 Nanzhan or Yunxiaochu (South Station or Transport & Selling Department)
Note: The exact position of station 4,5,6 are not sure. Attached photos:
Map of Sandaoling Area
Window scenic of Wushiaoling area between Hami and Lanzhou
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