The International Steam Pages


Coal in the Hills DVD

The Huanan Coal Railway in China’s northernmost Heilongjiang Province was formerly a typical forestry railway, just some 150km from the Russian border. However, once the area was logged out, part of the system was retained to ship coal out from several small mines situated about 50km east of Huanan. While the lower half of the railway crossed flat, open countryside, the upper half had a stiff climb to a summit followed by a steep descent. As a result, returning loaded trains were banked by the locomotive from the next outbound train, an operation which, by then, was as rare as it was spectacular. With two extended visits based 'up the line' in Tuoyazi and timed to coincide with the autumn colours, the result is a special record of the railway at a time when it was still operating well. Inevitably decline followed and final closure came in 2011.

Our 45 minute film is different from our previous productions in that it concentrates on the operation of the railway, two sample clips are available:

The following are stills from the video, click on the thumbnails to see the full size image in a new window.

Bonus Clip!

The Dahuichang Limestone Railway was situated to the south-west of Beijing and carried limestone for use in Capital Iron and Steel’s plant not far away. Just over one kilometre long, it was double track and intensively worked, albeit usually only in the afternoons. As the ‘main feature’ is not full length, we have added coverage of this line which includes #4 which has since been exported to the United Kingdom.


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Released on 1st July 2012, this DVD is available as follows:

Conventional (mailed) DVD.

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Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk