Moments of Magic II
November - December 2013
To see details of my next tour- go to
20-23 November
24-30 November
11-19 November
3-5/7 December
5-7 December
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Given how close we are to the end of real steam in China! this was an excellent trip and makes me want to go back for more. I estimate we have 2-3 years left to organise extended trips to China to see real steam on 4-5 really interesting rail systems.

Shibanxi is still worth an extended stay as the railway still serves the people and the people and the environment are still charming

Rongshan may never re-open. I'd like to get there if it does and will try to arrange a visit at short notice with Zebedee.

Baiyin is still worth a visit as long as the passenger train to Shenbutong is running.

Sandaoling is about to undergo a major change that will see a reduction in steam to around 10 working locos (about half the number currently in use). If the coal line from the pit, the current deep mines and the new deep mine all use steam as planned, it will still be worth an extended stay. The loss of the spoil trains to road haulage will be a major loss.

Pingzhuang should be all diesel by May 2014. See it as a 100% steam railway while you can.

Fuxin is still using roughly 8 steam and 3 diesels. There is still plenty of work for steam and for the next few years it should remain a major steam location.

Tiefa is now using only 1 steam loco and the Dongguantung passenger turn is only guaranteed steam if enthusiasts are visiting and paying to photograph it. If the railway has a film contract, the passenger turn is not guaranteed steam even if thee are enthusiasts around. However, this steam by arrangement is fun to watch and look authentic even if it's not.

Noted along the way:

Lanzhou steelworks 30 km east of Lanzhou had an SY visible from the Chengdu - Lanzhou train not in steam and presumed dumped

Dahuichang - 2 locos and much of the infrastructure survive and are now easily visited by metro and bus

Hongmiao - one loco reported in steam and normally doing nothing during our visit to Pingzhuang

Tianjin - an SY is still in steam to shunt the sidings as required. On the day after the end of the tour (8 December), the loco was in steam with no work.

In the run up to the tour, Mianzhu, Hanwang, Yuanbaoshan and Bajiaotai all stopped using steam. Although, the tour only planned to visit Yuanbaoshan and Bajiaotai, this was a significant loss of remaining real steam lines in a short space of time.

I have two final video clips - both random still photo slide shows - to share.
No flushing while passing emu
Cross railway - be careful train!
Pingzhuang, Yuanbaoshan
& Hongmiao 1-3 December