FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The pit

Posted in China, Sandaoling by folkestonejack on November 14, 2012

Our day began at Xibolizhan where we watched the remarkable sight of nine trains lined up side by side at shift change before making our way along the track towards the pit entrance/exit.

The open cast mine at Sandaoling is an incredible sight, even in conditions as overcast as today, which surely cannot be rivalled in the steam world. The mixture of dust from the excavations, columns of steam and mist evoked a hellish vision with the sun only slowly breaking through the clouds. The eye of sauron wouldn’t have looked out of place here!

JS 8077 works some empties tender first from Xibolizhan towards the pit

JS 8077 works some empties tender first from Xibolizhan towards the pit

The poor light and the persistant wind left us with conditions that were not especially conducive to photography or video, but nevertheless we gave it a go. A particular highlight was the sight of JS 6209 struggling with a spoil train on one of the lower levels of the pit which resulted in JS 8190 being sent to assist – a spectacular double header.

JS 6209 and JS 8190 double head a spoil train from the lower levels of the pit

JS 6209 and JS 8190 double head a spoil train from the lower levels of the pit

In the afternoon we drove round to another clifftop viewpoint which gave a great vista across the fallen rocks to the lines up from the pit. The ledge we walked along contained some giant cracks and it didn’t take much imagination to realise that some caution was required. The unstable nature of the terrain had led to a series of landslides in the area and a nearby village had been abandoned. A beautiful but potentially deadly landscape.

The impressive scene from the clifftops at Sandaoling

The impressive scene from the clifftops at Sandaoling

Along the top of the cliffs a series of abandoned pairings of wooden stumps signalled that the the railway had once come this way in an earlier phase of the pit’s development but the track and much of the ground it was sited on had long gone.

The long abandoned track bed at the top of the cliffs

The long abandoned track bed at the top of the cliffs

As spectacular as the view was, the light really wasn’t with us today so it was agreed by all that we should head for the workshop and keep our fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow.

Gallery

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