The International Steam Pages


Behind the Scenes at Weihe, 2003

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Often, it is all too easy to stand on the lineside and not realise what a struggle it is to keep a railway running, especially when it is just a few weeks from final closure.

Weihe shed is an impressive looking building from a distance....

And there are plenty of staff when there is a job to be done.

There is mechanical assistance for coaling:

And a small turntable:

But the sad truth is that 'primitive' overstates the condition of the facilities inside the shed:

The result is that many locos have rods with multiple welds which frequently come apart. Repairs may have to be done in the open anywhere along the line with a power point as with 35 at Weihe log yard station:

53 turned up at Dongfeng running as a 0-6-2. The rod on the other side had snapped and the crank pin on this side had shattered as a consequence.

The loco limped back home to Weihe for repairs, crossing the railway's crane on yet another call-out.

We saw it next day with the pin replaced but rodless and still working log trains. Overall the locomotives looked very shabby and had a horrendous failure rate. Trackwork these days is pretty hit and miss, not surprisingly derailments occurred roughly once daily:

This shows the results of their labours:

Busiest item on the railway was its mobile crane, working here at Dongfeng.

Necessarily this made for some oddball workings like 30 being summoned off a train of empties to rescue 33 which had failed in mid-section above Shuangfeng. A few days earlier we rode a train through here and ended up having to walk 2km to Pinglin following another failure.

Here the crane heads out again from Xiping at 14.00. It had left Weihe at 09.00, but the first train loco had failed here. No sooner than its replacement arrived, an incoming loco failed on Pinglin bank and had to be rescued causing a further delay.


Rob Dickinson

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