Real, standard gauge steam in 2012

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Real, standard gauge steam in 2012

Post by jraby » 28 May 2012, 20:42

Information about ‘The Last Great Steam Show on Earth’ Tour 21 October – 11 November 2012

This is a small group China trip visiting all of the best remaining locations for hardworking JS and SY locos. It’s still possible (but for how much longer I don’t know) to put together a China visit that includes good locations with interesting railway operations linked by long-distance sleeper-train travel or private minibus. For more details see:

Locations: My own personal selection of ‘the best of what is left’ – to the west of Beijing - Sandaoling Open Cast Coal Mine, Baiyin Non-Ferrous Metal Mining Area. To the east – a cluster of 3 coal lines near Chifeng at Pingzhuang, Yuanbaoshan and Hongmiao; close to Shenyang - the Fuxin, Fushun and Tiefa (Daobingshan) Mining Railways. Fushun has an Old Steel Works which still uses steam that we hope to get permission to visit. While passing through Shenyang, we also plan to visit the Sujiatun loco repair works and the steam loco museum there which concentrates on overseas-built locos from Japan, the USA, Russia, Belgium, Germany and the UK (if my memory serves me correctly). You can read more about these steam locations at:

Season – chosen to be cool but not super cold. I expect good steam effects in an autumn landscape with snow cover on distant hills. The trip runs Beijing – Beijing from 21 October – 11 November (Part 1 ends and Part 2 starts on 1 November in Beijing)

Tour approach:
- Flexible (join Part 1, Part 2 or both or just join for a few days),
- Full board local arrangements including single rooms and all transport, permission, food and drink included,
-Support with Chinese visa application and onward travel (if required)

Ethos – real steam without any special arrangements – see steam doing what it still does rather than trying to relive the glory days of what it did back then. You can be sure that all your shots are real and not staged.

Top guides (and an experienced tour leader): Jun and Alan are acknowledged to be among the best steam loco guides in China. John Raby (that’s me) has been visiting China since the early 1980s and I have lost count of the number of trips (often lasting 30 days) that I have made. I even worked there for 3.5 months in 2005. I have visited almost all of the locations included in this tour (except Fushun and Hongmiao) and can personally rate these ‘the best of what is left’.

The standard gauge steam locos left with line work in China are:

JS 2-8-2 – according to China expert Duncan Cotterill ‘The JS class 2-8-2 was a product of co-operation between China and the USSR in the 1950s. The rolling chassis of the successful JF class mikado was improved and paired with a new boiler based on Soviet practice to produce a capable mixed traffic locomotive. The new engines were intended for main line service and were equipped with mechanical stokers and feedwater heaters, resulting in a considerable increase in power over their predecessors.’ read more at ... les/js.htm

SY 2-8-2 – Duncan describes the SY as ‘... China's standard industrial steam locomotive. Over 1,800 of these useful light 2-8-2s were built between 1960 and 1999, the vast majority at Tangshan. Two prototypes were also constructed by Sifang (Qingdao) while Tongling, Jinan and Changchun also produced small batches.’ You can read the full description at ... les/sy.htm

Special offer: sign up now or before the end of June and if you are one of the first 6 to sign up for the whole tour or Part 1 or Part 2, receive a 5% discount (as long as the tour numbers eventually reach 6 or more). With 4 people already signed up for each part, there are still 2 places (full tour) or 4 places (2 for Part 1 and 2 for Part 2) left which will qualify for this discount.

For more details see:

John Raby
28 May 2012

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