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Steam in China, October 2012

by Hans Schaefer

Shibanxi

Short report from October 14.

Schedule: The official timing is given from Yuejin. Trains deport from Shibanxi 15 minutes before. The railway states these departures:
7:00, 13:00 and 17:00.
Additionally there is a 10:30 departure for tourists, on Saturday, Sunday and Chinese holidays. I did not verify if the 10:30 and 13:00 departures run all the way from Shibanxi or only from Yuejin.

Train at 7:00: Starting Shibanxi at 6:45, normal green cars (3), ticket ordinary price (return Huangcunjin 10 Yuan), even for a foreigner. Four cars on return from Huangcunjin. On 14 October the loco was number 14, with tender from number 7.

Train at 10:30: It ran locomotive plus two light blue tourist cars, both ways. Loco number 14. The railway has five such tourist cars now, (numbered 11 to 15), most of them parked in Yuejin station.

Train at 13:00: It ran locomotive plus two light blue tourist cars, both ways. Loco number 8. The train did not stop at Caiziba (even if I signaled stop). Maybe it runs nonstop. It came back through Mifengyan at 15:00.

Train at 17:00: From Shibanxi 16:45, four green cars, no tourist car, many local customers. I did not check the return configuration. Locomotive number 8.

New station buildings at Yuejin and Bagou. At Bagou the houses vis a vis the old station have been removed.

The road near Jiaoba seems to have no direct connection to the road seen at Xianrenjiao. But erosion from the new road put a lot of sludge on the railway above Jiaoba.

Bagou has two roads (now with concrete on top): One at the other side of the valley, with a large parking lot. That road starts between Qianwei and Shibanxi and is 16 km long. The other road is from somewhere on the hill down to Bagou station, with a very tiny parking lot. I saw only motorbikes on the roads and along the line. Motorbike traffic along the line is considerable, about one bike every five minutes.

There is also a mine museum in Bagou, entrance fee 10 Yuan. It is a bit strange, but some exhibits are worth seeing, like the mechanisms to take coal from the mine, and steam locomotive parts. A lot of pictures on the wall are not directly related to the mine in Huangcunjing, or Bagou or the whole area. But it may be a Chinese way to have museums.

The shops in Bagou have also changed, with several mobile phone shops new. And as before: You get food and drinks at every station. No need for complicated logistics.

Huangcunjin mine is definitively shut down. Coal cars are parked there for good, as well as some older passenger cars.

At Mifengyan, SY 0516 (the builder plate tells Tangshan 1972), as well as a normal gauge steam crane, an unknown C2 engine painted green, and the two diesels painted in different, but probably correct colours.

Hans Schaefer

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2012 Hans Schaefer