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Steam & Excursion > China...the Last Great Steam Show


Date: 02/11/19 05:45
China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: andersonb109

I made two trips to China, the first in March 2003. Both were with the U.K. company G.W. Travel, now The Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express Company. We hoteled on "The China Orient Express" which consisted of multiple sleepers, two restaurant cars and a lounge. This train was previously used by Chinese Communist party officials before air travel became popular.  We traveled mostly at night and were bused to the vairious steam locations to photograph during the day. An ideal solution to avoiding long bus rides at the end of the day, dodgy hotels and meals containing who knows what. Three days were spent on the famous Jing Ping Pass. This was the last place in the world where one could witness working mainline steam. The route also included the very last steam worked  main line passenger train in the world. Sadly, two years later, it was all over. Here we see double headed QJ's working up the west side of the pass near the Brickworks. The line was built in the mid 1990's, engineered to a high standard and designed for 100% steam haulage. It became a mecca for any serious steam photographers who came by the plane loads from all over the world to whiteness steams final farewell.  Currently, a tunnel is planned to avoid the steepest sections of the line.  As most of you know, two of these fine locomotives were brought to the U.S.following their short lived careers in China.  




Date: 02/11/19 05:52
Re: China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: howeld

Third QJ is in the states owned by Rj Corman in KY.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/11/19 06:48
Re: China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: refarkas

Stunning photo.
Bob



Date: 02/11/19 18:30
Re: China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: jbwest

I miss the old days in China.  From 2001 to 2007 I made nine visits, mostly to the Jitong line for the 2-10-2's, but also to various industrial and ng. lines.  I made one visit riding the Jingpeng Orient Exress, and it was a nice way to go.  Reshui, the small town on Jingpeng pass that most railfans used as a base, became kind of a second "Chama" to me, almost a second home.  But then steam got to the point where it was too little too far away so I found other things to do.  One of the things I really enjoyed about chasing steam in China was the international make up of most of the fan groups I traveled with, mostly Brits, but a lot of Kiwis and Aussies, and the occasional Dutch, French, Italian, Croatian, German....those are the ones I remember.  And even an occasional American or Canadian.  Had a lot of good times.  Just to the right of the picture posted above there was a small mound....which when I tried to climb it to get a little height I found how true the old cliche is....slicker than pig shit.  It was a messy lesson.  Attached is a picutre of the Jingpeng Orient Express parked at Jingpeng pass, and my last steam picture on the Jitong line, taken in 2005, which was getting close to the end of steam over the pass.

JBWX

 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/19 18:40 by jbwest.






Date: 02/11/19 18:55
Re: China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: Ritzville

NICE series!!

Larry



Date: 02/12/19 03:39
Re: China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: andersonb109

Story about one of the hotel's JB is referring to. Because the showers on the train often didn't work, they made shower stops at a hotel in Daban where the huge steam shed was located. We nicknamed it the "Daban Hilton"  I never used the faculties there thinking going from sub zero temps, to a hot shower, and then immediately back outside wasn't a great idea. Baby Wipes served the same purpose. But one night I ended up on the bus going to the hotel so went up to one of the rooms with two friends from the train. The woman in the group came out of the shower, got dressed and then we hear a scream from the adjacent room. A pet rat apparently  belonging to the hotel owner had curled up in her sweater that she had left on the bed. That was the last shower stop she made on the trip!



Date: 02/12/19 09:11
Re: China...the Last Great Steam Show
Author: jbwest

I found the hotels in China to range from marginal to truly luxurious, I suppose not unlike comparing Antonito to Denver.  Perhaps most interestingly was how they improved over the six years I visited.  When I first visited Reshui we stayed at the "post office" hotel which was basic but decent.  By the time of my last visit we stayed at a new hotel that was quite modern with an elevator and an internet cafe that overlooked the three levels of the railroad on the mountainside across the valley.  The most interesting hotel was a guest house at at the end of a logging line in cold and wintery Manchuria where the beds were a raised "shelf" with ducts underneath to circulate hot air from a small fire place at one end (the more modern versions used hot water from a coal fired boiler). In my experience they were all relatively clean, never saw a rat, pet or otherwise.  The roads followed a similar patter of improvement.  My first bus ride to Reshui was miles of treacherous sorta two lane rural highway, by my last visit it was almost all freeway.

JBWX



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