FolkestoneJack's Tracks

An afternoon at the Yuanbaoshan Coal Railway

Posted in China, Yuanbaoshan by folkestonejack on January 17, 2011

After the mid-morning action we headed back to the station, depot and workshop at Xizhan where both JS 6245 and 8250 had returned for the lunchtime break. The guys there were incredibly friendly and I soon found myself handing out all my shrapnel (loose change in sterling) and got a few small denomination jiao back. I’d have to say that rarely can anyone have been quite so satisfied with a one pence piece as they were!

JS 8250 departs Xizhan with the 2pm mixed passenger/freight service

JS 8250 departs Xizhan with the 2pm mixed passenger/freight service

In the afternoon, re-energised by some dumplings, we repeated the morning chase with the 2pm mixed passenger/freight service – catching it once again at the river bridge and near the terminus. On the riverbank a shepherdess was looking after a flock of sheep with her children and I made sure to say hello… if I’ve learnt anything on these trips it is that so often foreigners breed an air of suspicion and distrust that can so easily be dispelled with a friendly word and a smile.

JS 8250 crosses the river bridge between Gongye and Fengshuigou

JS 8250 crosses the river bridge between Gongye and Fengshuigou

JS 8250 at a stand shortly before the final push to the terminal at Fengshuigou

JS 8250 at a stand shortly before the final push to the terminal at Fengshuigou

There is another line on the Yuanbaoshan Coal Railway which we had hopes of seeing but news filtered back that no workings were expected on this line. As the only other working out of Xizhan – a passenger service – was not due to leave until after dark (at 5pm) there seemed to be little point in staying. However, as is so often the case in China, further news complicated the picture with reports of new freight departures. In the hope of getting a sunset shot we stayed put.

It seemed that every five minutes the plan changed – they even brought out a third JS class steam locomotive which had been getting a boiler washout earlier in the day. In the end, all we got to see was the tender first working from Fengshuigou and some light movements. The cause of the continual changes appeared to have been a problem of some kind – maybe a points failure or difficulties with one of the locos. We could hardly complain as the level of activity on the line as a whole was quite unusual.

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