At the start of the 21st century, China was the only country in the world, that was able to offer any serious volume of steam traction, and in this unique programme we highlight the splendid action to be seen during the extreme winter weather.
– Main line express passenger steam officially finished in China in October 1999, and we mark this sad milestone by taking a brief glimpse of the Fuxin to Jinzhou service.
– There’s also a look at the Baotou Dong JS fleet which worked some of the last regular steam passenger suburban services around Baotou, and the Shiguai branch which winds for 38 kilometres north east of Baotou.
– We feature tremendous steam action on the Baotou to Shenmu line which was completed in 1994 to service the coal mines opened to the south of Dongsheng, and is not run by China Rail, but is operated as an independent ‘local line’.The highlight of this 100% steam line, are double headed QJs assisted by a third QJ banking.
– There’s also a return visit to the unequalled Jinpeng area on the Tonglio to Jining line – another provincial 100% steam outpost. This time we concentrate on the western side of the Jinpeng pass, including an atmospheric footplate ride on the first loco of a pair of QJs as they work a heavy freight over the mountainous route.
– In total contrast we take a first look at some unique surviving narrow gauge steam routes in the far North of China, including the forestry lines of Yabuli and the nearby line from Weihe, which even boasts a regular steam hauled narrow gauge passenger service.Don’t forget to see the sumptiously illustrated book Extreme Steam that accompanies this programme.