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The future of SY-Country
SY Country was established by Dave Fielding in October 2006, taking over from Florian Menius' QJ Country in providing a website carrying up to date information about the last days of steam on railways in China. Working steam was to last longer in the country than perhaps anyone expected when Florian established QJ Country in 1998 and in the 20 years since then first it, then SY Country, have carried almost 700 first hand reports of visits, plus links to many more and regular news updates, providing probably the most comprehensive source of up to date information in English about working steam in China.
When Dave Fielding passed away in 2014, a small group of enthusiasts agreed to take the site over and keep it going as a source of up to date news and information on the final days of working steam in China. Although the longevity of this has confounded almost all expectations and predictions over the last 20 years or more, as of October 2018 it is, finally, almost at an end. Non-tourist steam working survives at no more than four locations at most, of which only one, Sandaoling, offers regular daily operation and more than one engine in steam.
The trustees have therefore agreed to end SY Country as an active website. On 17th October it will become a standalone site within Rob Dickinson's International Steam website. All existing material on the current site will remain accessible and Rob will continue to post brief news reports (but not photos) about steam at Sandaoling and other active sites in China for as long as this continues. This may be sent to him at email@example.comTo ensure a smooth transition, the two sites will function in parallel until December 2018 when the current SY Country website will cease to be active. Users are therefore recommended to bookmark the link to the new site now. A DVD containing all the information currently on the site will also be available on request from John Raby at firstname.lastname@example.org. In this way, the material on the site, including the many photographs, will remain accessible to anyone with an interest in the latter years of working steam in China.
Michael Reilly, Surrey, UK