This is an unprecedented in depth guide to what is undoubtedly the most important and least explored national rail network in the world. What is now the largest communist country in the world is seeing an unprecedented growth in rail traffic flows – thanks mainly to a booming domestic economy that skilfully combines western market forces with communism. In fact, such has been the enormous growth of rail traffic that at present there are simply not enough wagons or new locos to cope!
The result is that many steam locos that undoubtedly would have otherwise been retired by now are still in daily use. To put it quite simply, there is nowhere in the world that can still provide such a volume of spectacular main line steam action as China currently does.
However, modern diesel locos are being produced at an enormous rate, and together with further batches of electric locos change is quickly coming. This is a particularly fascinating time to visit China, with many steam sheds looking reminiscent of British depots towards the end of steam; as the diesels gradually invade the steam locos traditional domain. With distinctive scenery and steep gradients there is certainly no need for artificial ‘runpasts’ – this programme features 100% everyday Chinese rail action. China volume one includes:-
• Tangshan locomotive works where SY steam locomotives are seen under construction and on test.
• A round up of modern traction types that can be seen at work today including classes DF4, DF7, BJ, 8K, ND4, ND5,
• Mainline & branchline passenger steam action with classes QJ, SY & JS.
• Depot visits at Baotou and Nancha.
• Mainline & branchline steam freight including Baotou to Bayan Obo, and Nancha to Hongshan.
• Industrial steam is spotlighted at the huge Jalainur opencast coal pit. • Zhongwei a first look at one of most spectacular steam lines in China close to the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia, where double headed, and even occasional triple headed QJ hauled freights are featured battling their way up the newly doubled track towards Gantang.