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3 locos were in steam with 04 propelling tender first (TF) down the Liangwa branch, loading 2-3 wagons at the loading point and then returning them chimney first to Xiangyang (round trip 25 mins). At Xiangyang the loaded wagons were marshalled into mainline trains of 8-10 wagons. One of the other 2 locos was used to take the loaded trains down to the transhipment shed at Yinghao (30 minutes), unloaded (30 minutes) and then return with the empties (30-60 minutes, depending on stops to raise steam). All operations are very slick with locos only taking approx 10 minutes at Xiangyang between arrival of the empties and departure of the next loaded train. Using triangles at both Yinghao and Xiangyang, all mainline trains run chimney first. There is a shift change at 8.00 and 4.00 for 04 and the spare loco, whilst the third loco changed crews in between times.
The feared road improvements have not extended any further than the mine. At the shed everyone was very friendly and another 04(!) and another 17(!!) were under repair, plus 03. Loco numbers are obviously meaningless. Also, there were 7 or 8 derelict locos.
The road through Yinghao to the transhipment shed is slow, busy and bollarded so that large buses cannot drive through. There is a very slow diversion between the houses to the south. A new tarmac road has been opened north of the main road LC outside Yinghao that parallels the railway towards the transhipment shed but I only got part of the way down. At the start, it provides easier access to the line between the LC and the transhipment shed but lorries were continuing on and so it may also be a better option for accessing the shed itself and the turning triangle.
Saturday 5 March -3 to 10degC
Sunny, good visibility. Fairly windy and exhaust blowing forward & steam leaks a problem.
0715 014 dep Xiangyang + 10 loads to Yinghao
0740 014, Yinghao LC
0820 014 dep Yinghao + 10 empties
c0945 014 arr Xiangyang
0955 17 dep Xiangyang + 8 loads to Yinghao
1140 17 app tunnel + 8 empties
1150 17 dep Xiangyang + 8 loads
1330 17 app tunnel + 8 empties
1440 014 dep Xiangyang + 9 loads
1535 014 arr Xiangyang
1550 17 dep Xiangyang + 10 loads (after 014 appeared to "fail" after coupling up to loads)
1600 04 TF propelled empties to LiangWa mine, followed by 014 TF LE
1610 014 dragging rail along between rails + 04 returned to the shed
1715 04 arr Xiangyang with 1 repaired wagon
1730 17 app tunnel + 10 empties
Early in the afternoon, 04 propelled empties to Liangwa followed by 014(TF) light engine, and then double headed a loaded train up from Liangwa mine.
Driving back to hotel in Mianchi, passed JS 8417 in steam next to LC across industrial siding, plus a dumped JS behind the yard wall.
SUN 6 March 0 to 19 degC
Sunny but haze built up. Less wind but soon lost exhausts.
0730 04(TF) rescued 014 stopped on embankment app tunnel
0745 ?? dep Xiangyang
0800 014 dep Xiangyang for shed, followed by 04
???? 04 returned from shed
0935 014 (LE) returned to Xiangyang from the shed as 04 arr'd from Liangwa mine with loads
1015 014 dep tunnel + 9 loads
1215 014 app tunnel
1230 04(TF) propelled 3 empties, followed by 014(TF) LE to Liangwa mine
Departed Yinghao to fly back from Zhengzhou airport (1230 dep Xiangyang, arr Zhengzhou airport 1715). JS still at LC in Mianchi.
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