FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Beipiao Mining Railway

Posted in Beipiao, China by folkestonejack on January 16, 2011

After a two hour drive we arrived at Beipiao around midday. The first stop was at a signal box on the line to get some information on operations here today, but beyond that we got information on the future too – after Chinese New Year all steam operations here would stop. If my calculations are right, that leaves just a fortnight of steam operation… it feels like we’re barely one step ahead of the end here.

Our visit to the area led us to the mine at Guangshan where we found two locos shunting (SYs 1004 and 1550). We spent a while marvelling at this and taking many photographs before realising that we had been locked in to the yard. Luckily, after some friendly persuasion the gatekeeper let us out…

SY 1550

SY 1550

SY1550 at Guangshan mine in Beipiao

SY1550 at Guangshan mine in Beipiao

After our great escape we moved on to the stabling point at Yijing but nothing much was happening there. The control office told us that no further movements would take place for a few hours so we resolved to start our long drive to Pingzhuang. However, moments later we discovered that ‘no further movements’ was not entirely accurate… as a locomotive was thundering down the track towards the stabling point!

We scrambled out of the bus, grabbed some shots as the SY passed by and then more still as it shunted back into the stabling point (a small enclosure surrounded by brick walls). It was SY 1004 again – supporting the information that only two steam locomotives were currently in use.

SY 1004 shunts back into the compound at the stabling point

SY 1004 shunts back into the compound at the stabling point

SY 1004 in the compound

SY 1004 in the compound

I stood back for a while, said hello to some of the locals and was surprised to discover that one of them spoke english. In the warmth of the midday sun, standing in the middle of the track, I chatted for a while. I soon learnt a little about the local area and that we were privileged to see the hutongs on one side of the line as they were shortly to be replaced by new apartment blocks.

SY 1004 in the compound (as seen from the bridge)

SY 1004 in the compound (as seen from the bridge)

After spending a while in the compound getting some attention SY 1004 departed and with that our trip to Beipiao was over. We steeled ourselves for the five and a half hour drive to Pingzhuang…

More photos: Beipiao gallery

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