FolkestoneJack's Tracks

A morning at Xibolizhan

Posted in China, Sandaoling by folkestonejack on November 15, 2012

A morning exploring Xibolizhan gave me a good chance to see the area from a different perspective to my previous visits, with more time spent photographing the line from the pit entrance/exit to the gantry than I have managed before. A raised bank to one side of the line provided a great vantage point to see trains working against a backdrop of abandoned villages, industrial complexes and the mountains.

JS 8225 arrives at Xibolizhan shortly after sunrise

JS 8225 arrives at Xibolizhan shortly after sunrise

The arrival of JS 8225 with a train shortly after sunrise was particularly wonderful. There was something about the way the light caught the train as it passed a small patch of wild grasses in the barren landscape that worked perfectly.

JS 8167 with a spoil train in the pit

JS 8167 with a spoil train in the pit

Excavator 415 fills the wagons of the spoil train

Excavator 415 fills the wagons of the spoil train

After spending some time walking along the bank I returned to the track and followed it into the pit, where I watched one of the excavators at work on the upper levels – crunching rock from the side of the mine and filling wagons in a waiting train with spoil. It is always an impressive sight to see industrial steam in action like this – as far removed as it is possible to get from the polished image of steam that you get on any preserved line in the UK! I certainly couldn’t tire of the sight of a JS working hard with a spoil train.

JS 8081 pushes a spoil train out of the pit

JS 8081 pushes a spoil train out of the pit

JS 8638 pushes a spoil train out of the pit

JS 8638 pushes a spoil train out of the pit

It was always going to be a wrench to tear ourselves away from as incredible a scene as this, not least because there was always the promise of another spoil train round the corner (quite literally). On this occasion we stayed around this spot until midday, then headed over to the spoil dumps on the other side of Xibolizhan to see the end of the process.

Xibolizhan Gallery

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