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Steam in China - March 2005

by James van Bokkelen

This was the Trains Unlimited Tours trip, escorrted by Dale Brown.

First we visited (Mar 21 - 27) the Jitong RR. People who'd been there before reported that traffic appeared down.

QJs still handling almost all traffic between Daban and Chabouga. The only steam between Daban and Haoluku over the pass was a single round trip we paid for. Charters like this are said to be available into May, no idea what the organizers paid for ours. People who'd been there the previous week reported that there had been as many as seven steam movements over the pass in a day, but usually less.

Baiqi had perhaps 6 serviceable QJs, but had let the fires go out on them and the steam cranes on 25 Mar. Scrapping continues at Daban, none evident at Baiqui.

Next visited Xuanhua steelworks. Perhaps a dozen 2-8-2s in service, one getting heavy repairs in the shed.

Pingdingshan coal railway still has only 2 diesels, 2 QJs in service with another receiving a heavy overhaul, both JSs and SYs in service.

Finally, the Xingyang brickworks RR had one 0-8-0 quite active, the other receiving heavy work in the shed. We saw a "flying switch" they apparently do routinely at the kiln end, and photographed the next trip at the river crossing on the way to the pits (5-arch brick and concrete viaduct perhaps 40 feet high). Wish we'd had more time there, as we didn't see the pit.

James van Bokkelen

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© 2005, James vanBokkelen jbvb@sandstorm.net