The International Steam Pages
The Greatest Steam Show on Earth - Jalainur
Where in the world in 2007 can you see over 30 steam locomotives at work and often half of them simultaneously other than at Jalainur? (The name should may be more correctly expressed as Zhalainuoer in Pinyin but Jalainur is how I first saw it and it has stuck for me). The similar JS operation at Sandaoling offers a spectacular mountain backdrop and the charm of Xinjiang / Urghur culture but operation is not quite so intensive or attractive. Yuehong and I went there for a week in November 2007, arranged and initially guided by good friend Mike Ma. If you are unfamiliar with the layout, there are a variety of maps available on the SY Country website.
Yuehong and I were back filming here in early November 2008, you can read our update which includes some pictures of the 'deep mine system' (added 15th November 2008).
There are more pages on the various facets of operation here (the pictures are conventional 'digital' stills, mainly taken while the video cameras were left running...):
Most panoramas I have seen are taken from the north or north-west, this is the view from the south where the newest excavations are - some of it using large road trucks (the washery at Dongfanghong is in the far background):
First we caught seven trains in one shot, then a day later nine, for our personal record (eighteen) you will have to visit the steam crane page.
Just how many steam locomotives are active on the system, I don't know but one of the other visitors with us recorded nearly 40 'numbers' in four days including those working the adjacent deep mine system. These days 'foreigners' are 'forbidden' to enter 'active areas', otherwise there is still comparative freedom to roam. Having a non-foreigner partner was clearly a big bonus for me and what is shown on these pages is very much a joint effort, even if I (Rob) wrote the text. Not included are pictures of the two 'one coach' morning workers passenger trains which were running as usual out and back between Dongfanghong and the pit / Nanzhan just after 07.30, for the former the light was impossible, the latter is simply not very photogenic being propelled out and tender first return. These are the two trains combined after their return to Dongfanghong. The rear locomotive will shortly propel the two coaches to Nanzhan for their next working in the evening.
Thanks to Mike Ma for his assistance and unfailing good humour, the 'Mike Ma 6' for putting up with our strident and provocative views on steam tourism (and life in general) and Jeff Cartledge for providing an excellent summary and checklist of what not to miss in Jalainur. There is no point in my thanking Yuehong as she enjoyed it every bit as much as I did, we shall have to return, we have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities here.
There are more pages on the various facets of operation here: (the pictures are conventional 'digital' stills, mainly taken while the video cameras were left running...):