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Steam in China, May 2012

by Peter Semmelroch


Just back from 6 days in Shibanxi (May 6-11).

It was sunny throughout although in the mornings mostly foggy and already very warm with up to 34C in the afternoon with some clouds appearing then.

Stayed in Yuejin this time, Hotel in Yuejin is still ok, a new good restaurant has been established on the ground floor. Whole area in Yuejin has been rebuilt and a new tourist "park" created. New building with tea house and large supermarket also in front of the hotel now.

The whole line is now operated with new colour light signals, the green and red flags are no longer used in Yuejin, Mifengyan, Bagou, saw them only in Xianrenjiao. Many buildings (railway and others) along the line (Jiaoba, Caiziba) have been freshly painted in white.

Bagou station was completely demolished and a new tourist station already finished, at the moment they are building a third track in Bagou.

Coal mine in Huangcunjing in use, and 3 coal trains on almost every day (Mo-Fr). The passengers had 4 old coaches and mostly no tourist coach in the train, only sometimes in passengers 2 and 3 they took one tourist coach, but never on passenger 1 and 4. Thursday and Friday saw one tourist train each.

No.8 (ex. Pengzhou) was the regular passenger train loco with red star on smokebox, and of course painted in dark yellow, but very dirty already and not too bad looking. On coal was No.7 with No.10 tender. Third loco in steam was No.10 with No.9 tender, but rarely used. No.14 with No. 7 tender and No 9 with No. 14 tender, painted in light green metallic (!) were cold in the yard in Shixi.

Bagou is a very deserted place now, all hostels were empty as were those in Mifengyan. No more market on the streets at Bagou, too.

There is a (new) siding between tunnel 1 and 2, with a brick built long steep cutting down into the valley, maybe designed to unload coal in the future and just pour it down the mountain to a loading place near the road in the valley? But it is not finished, nobody was working there and it also didn't look professional either (the Huangcunjing mine of course not either...)

Peter Semmelroch

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2012 Peter Semmelroch