Moments of Magic II
November - December 2013
20-23 November
24-30 November
Pingzhuang, Yuanbaoshan
& Hongmiao 1-3 December
11-19 November
3-5/7 December
5-7 December
These boxes are hot links. Click on them to go to the reports.
For loco lists, maps and other trip reports for Pingzhuang, click on this box to go to the page for this railway on the website SY-Country.
For loco lists, maps and other trip reports for Yuanbaoshan, click on this box to go to the page for this railway on the website SY-Country.
Since the start of this trip, we have heard that the Yuanbaoshan passenger train is no longer hauled by a JS steam loco and that both here and Hongmiao are now 100% diesel. Pingzhuang survives for another month or so with 4 steam locos in use but with spare and out of use locos towed off for scrap. We hope to make the most of our 2 days at Pingzhuang to see the last of the SY hauled coal trains in this area. It could end as early as the end of December 2013.
Here are two clips of the long journey (45 hours) from Sandaoling to Pingzhuang. The first is clips of the 3000 km train ride and the second shows our former playground of the ramp at Zhongwei. 20 years ago when this was a single track, non-electrified line, the twin horseshoes were the home to double-headed QJ 2-10-2 locos slogging up the hill.
Hami to Beijing by train
The ramp at Zhongwei
Morning shift change
Lunchtime noodle restaurant
Today we observed the morning shift change with 3 locos at the washery and the departure of a long coal train to China Rail. The loco returned shortly after arriving at Pingzhuang Nan with a short train of empties. That was all the action we saw in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited the workshop with the fourth serviceable loco inside and 5 SY and 2 JS dumped outside. For loco list see below. Our final train was a short coal train at Pingzhuang Nan but the empties did not return before sunset. The two video clips show the morning shift change and our lunchtime noodle restaurant. This features a master class in noodle making.
The future: two diesels are expected any day but the crews still need diesel training. Steam will survive until May 2014 and a 3rd diesel will be needed before the system can completely dieselise.
Loco list from John Athersuch:

JS 6544 dumped outside workshop without tender. Ex-Yuanbaoshan. Renumbered from unknown 8000 series loco.
JS 8218 dumped outside workshop. Ex-Yuanbaoshan.
SY 400 dumped outside workshop
SY 463 dumped outside workshop (workshop staff provided no.)
SY 517 dumped outside workshop
SY 798 dumped outside workshop
SY 942 dumped outside workshop
SY 1017 in steam
SY 1025 stored in workshop; this is the fourth engine recently seen in steam by Pang Dawei
SY 1079 dumped outside workshop
SY 1425 in steam
SY 1441 in steam, working coal to China Rail at Pingzhuang Nan.
Here in China, I notice that in some of the earlier sections of this report, some of the photos no longer load. All photos are embedded files from Flickr and all worked originally when the page was last uploaded. My apologies if you can't see some of the images. This is not something I can fix while on the road and will have to wait until I return to the UK. I would be interested to hear if you have the same problem or have any suggestions about solutions. So far, this does not seem to affect the video clips which are all links to Flickr. Email me at with comments or suggestions. Thanks.
Now in Fuxin at a different hotel, this problem has gone away but I'll leave this note here for the moment.
On our second day, we revisited the stabling point for the 8 am shift change but then focused on the coal mine end of the line. 1425 didn't take part in the early activity as it needed a minor repair but we saw all 3 locos on trains either transferring coal to China Rail or to the washery at Erjing. We left around 2 to drive over to Fuxin (3 hours). The final selection of Pingzhuang photos are below.