FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Shift change at sunrise

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

After another early morning start, fuelled by a wonderful breakfast of dumplings cooked on a stove in the street, we headed out on the bumpy road to Xibolizhan. The twinkling of stars in the darkness suggested that the cloudy start from yesterday would not be repeated.

The morning shift change at Xibolizhan is a highlight of any visit to Sandaoling as it presents an opportunity to see around eight locomotives lined up, tenders facing towards the pit. It’s not often that I am tempted to photograph locomotives tender first but in Sandaoling it is a necessity – indeed, it has been the most authentic position to find a loco within the pit. I took a grab shot of the line up which gives the smallest impression of just how remarkable this is.

Xibolizhan tender show

Xibolizhan tender show

The photographic opportunities abound as the crews change over. The sunrise presented a great opportunity to get amongst the lines and get some interesting shots of the crew, but my favourite shot was the line up of passengers waiting on the platform with loco after loco in the background. Understandably the workers take this for granted but to anyone from an increasingly steamless world it is the most amazing sight to behold.

Shift change at Xibolizhan

Shift change at Xibolizhan

Amidst all of this, the morning passenger service from Dongbolizhan is scheduled to arrive. At this time of year the train’s arrival coincides with the sunrise, making for a wonderful start to the day. It was great to see thirty year old Datong loco JS 6224 arrive in good time, positively glowing as the sunrise enveloped the train.

The morning passenger train arrives at Xibolizhan

The morning passenger train arrives at Xibolizhan

After the passenger service departed the trains worked their way back into action one-by-one. As a spectacle it is hard to beat!

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