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.
Locos seen in use yesterday were:

8040, 8081, 8137, 8190, 8191, 8194, 8197, 8222 (the latter in repainting area at Dongbolizhang, the others on coal trains and 2 engineers trains)

For the full list of locos we saw, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Local guide Mrs Guli tells me that by as early as next June the Sandaoling operation will change to use 4 steam locos on coal trains from the open cast mine and a new line from a new washery near the workshop at Dongbolizhang via Xibolizhang to the new deep mine to the west will also use 4 steam locos. The removal of spoil from the east end of the open cast mine will be done by truck. This will reduce the number of steam locos required daily by 7-8 but will provide new opportunities on the new 25 km line to the new mine. The plan is to reduce Xibolizhang to just two through tracks from the current 10 or so lines.
Sandaoling coal train 1
Sandaoling coal train 2
Today was a challenging day until late afternoon. We started off at Xibolizhang and finished down the pit on the east side. The weather was crisp and sunny warming up towards sunset. Trains didn't run to predictable patterns and there were long periods with no trains on both west and east sides. Main news from Jun is that 10-31 December will be a maintenance period with no coal moved as the company has met its quota. This could be a bad time to visit! After an exhausting day - including a glowing suntanned face, here is one video offering.
Sandaoling - sunset east
This morning the washery had a problem and there were no coal trains before lunch. This afternoon, after 2 loaded trains out, the loading could keep up with the number of trains and we had 2 waiting at Kenkongzhang to go down to the pit, 1 waiting at the lower signals and 2 trains loading. There could have been one or more empty trains from the spoil side also waiting to load. The afternoon was quiet while they sorted out the blue loader which had problems.

Things remained very slow until about 16:30 and then the loader got fixed and we had a steady stream of coal trains roughly every 25 minutes from the loader but with extra trains loaded by a bucket excavator as well. Some trains were tender first (obviously spoil train rakes used for coal) and we also had an engineers train.

Today's video clip is of Uyghur food. I'm building up to some still photos of trains but putting them on the blog is quite an effort and there is little spare time after a day's gricing.
Uyghur food
For loco lists, maps and other trip reports for this system, click on this box to go to the page for this railway on the website SY-Country.
We spent all of today on the west side of the pit, walking through the pit to Xibolizhang and spending time watching the spoil loading and spoil trains leaving the pit in the morning and then moved to the spoil tipping area for the afternoon. The Tienshan mountains were visible all day and were especially evident in the photos taken at the spoil tipping area later in the day. We finished with some sunset shots on Nos. 1, 4 and 5 lines. In the pit, there seemed to be 3 trains loading at a time and three or four of the spoil tipping lines were in use. Based on the information we have received, the whole Xibolizhang area will disappear in the next year and will be replaces by trucks tipping spoil internally in the pit, excavation to get the coal from below Xibolizhang and a two track line from the new deep mine to the west to Nanzhang taking a yet unknown path through the area. It was good to enjoy it for one last time.

These photos sum up the day.
Locos seen at Sandaoling:

6204 at Nanzan
6224 usually on Jordan spreader No. 4
8053 in works for overhaul
8089 in works for overhaul - seen being removed from storage area and transferred to the works
8173 seen briefly on Jordan spreader No. 4
8195 seen by D Cotterill in for repair - repainted and in steam during our stay but then disappeared
8314 at Nanzan
8358 at Nanzan
8366 at Nanzan
8368 at Nanzan

8222 seen on first day in steam being repainted with this number on the smoke box door, probably renumbered as 8195 during repaint but not definitely. Loco with cab of 8222 seen in store. Active locos 8222 and/or 8195 then disappeared - to store?

SY 1729 seen stored inside the uniform factory near Nanzan - visible from factory entrance. Reportedly once shunted at Nanzan.

Locos noted 'at Nanzan' are operated by the deep mine company not the open cast mine company. The new line from the new mine may also come under this company's remit.

Jun notes that permits are issued by the open cast mine company not the deep mine company and feels that permits from the deep mine company may be required in future for full access to the new line and the Nanzan area where new tracks and a new washery will be built.