This rather unusual metre gauge line ran south east from Dakunlun on the Boshan branch, south of Xibo. Unique 0-10-0 tank locos were believed to have been Chinese-built derivatives of original Orenstein and Koppel locomotives, if not originally built by the Berlin firm itself. During my visit to the system on 14th-15th November 1999 there were four round trips during daylight between the China Rail exchange sidings at Dakunlun and Xihe Colliery, a distance of only a few kilomotres. The working locomotives were all found in rather poor shape and the cold emphasised the bad steam leaks that they had. Rather regretably, this unusual railway closed shortly after this brief encounter and the intended repeat visit for a longer period of time was never made. Other images of this railway have appeared in chapter 6 of "China the World's Last Steam Railway" - Pingdingshan & Central China.
In this scene, loco no.97712 (the numbers refer to the last date of overhaul) gets under way from Xihe on a misty 15th November 1999, adding more coal dust and grime to the already coal dust-blackened landscape around Zibo in the Shandong Province.
© Copyright Gordon Edgar - No unauthorised use.