The International Steam Pages
Notes - Steam in China Part 10
Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.
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For other tales in this series see:
There is a map at the end of the tale'.
Whilst most fans centred their attention on the Pass there were some interesting locations between Linxi and Galadesitai (Reshui). This was a QJ near Yuzhoudi heading towards Reshui, 3rd January 1997:
In 1997 thanks to Julien Blanc I was able to sample the wonders of the Jing Peng Pass. Julien had spent 4 months traveling in Pakistan and China in 1995 and he generously sent my travel companion David Thiessen a copy his report. Julien was only 21 when he set out to bash China the hard way, by himself and on the cheap, well done! I enjoyed three winter trips and 2 short autumn trips (the latter in 2002/4) by which time I had abandoned still photography. Visits to Daban and further north were not made till 2002 so I have no still shots of this area.
When David and I rolled into Reshui in January 1997 it was to find a couple of small groups of western fans in residence. A Japanese tour group was also here, I had met a few of them earlier at Yebaishou where I was shown the Japanese version of World Steam. Few fans were fluent in each otherísí language, we were generally ignorant of their reports and vice versa.
This pair of QJs have got a clear line as they enter Galadesitai (Reshui) and prepare to take on the Pass, 11th January 2001.
1999 was the coldest of the trips I made, the warm colours of the hills around Reshui disguise the camera killing cold. The photos show trains on level 1 leaving Reshui. 116 and the going away shot lead.
Leaving Reshui, clear blue skies were typical of mid-winter 1999.
A going away shot of a train on level 1, 1999
These ice encrusted QJs approach the level crossing as they start climbing level 2, 11th January 2001.
Looking down from level 3 near Liudigou. the pass is seen near what became another loop named (Sandi). 5th January 1997
Two 1999 photos of the approach to the summit on the climb from Liudigou. Level 3 was often windswept, Liudigou in Autumn was much easier on cameras and the body and made a pleasant change from mid-winter shots.
In 1997 trains were sparse and it was possible to see only a single uphill train. Making our way back to Reshui on one such day I grabbed this shot of a train approaching the summit from Reshui, not my best shot but a welcome sight, even though the light failed, 4th January 1997
In the years that followed traffic increased, the long distance steam hauled passenger was increased in frequency to a daily working, although no longer in daylight on the Pass. Early morning at Daban would see the passenger arrive from Reshui. A smartly organized engine change would see the fresh engine accelerate its new stock out of town on its final sector. Freight traffic also increased and the sight of a single header became rare. Extra loops were opened on both sides of the Pass to cope with the increasing demands. It now became possible to video two trains heading in the same direction, too easy! As late as 2004 I was able to see locomotives ex works arriving at Daban and then see them rostered to traffic. Fans congregated, large buses became normal, it was time to leave it to others, I had managed to see some fantastic action, despite having arrived late on the scene.