The International Steam Pages
Shibanxi Holiday 2011 - Day 5 - an abortive trip to Mifeng
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At last, free of pressure we could spend a day gricing and pre-dawn the sky was clear. By the time we had finished the steam buns we had our doubts, but having got out of bed we carried on as planned meeting Bruce Evans and Rod Clarke on the platform at Bagou off the first passenger train. The weather always fails us when other gricers are in town... The shot leaving Mifeng will be binned (or more accurately these days deleted) and rather than shiver in the midst of the yellow flowers we decided to walk slowly up the line. We haven't 'done' the tunnel here for a long time and having seen what they have done to it to make it more accessible for a train load of tourists, I don't think we'll be bothering for a while yet:
On the other hand, a lot of scrub has been cleared from the embankments on this section and until the new fruit trees start growing, there are some excellent new opportunities, so we waited for the next coal train which duly came up just before the second passenger train was due.
We continued up towards Caiziba to catch the passenger train, but found that the coal train had stopped for a blow up just before the curve, much to the delight of one of the locals who was raking out some unburned coal:
The curve area is well on the way to becoming a peach orchard and we were very glad we had done the yellow flower to death here the year before. Right now it's grey-brown, bare and ugly and we were glad to be able to hop on the train and head for Bagou, for some reason neither of the first two trains today had tourist coaches, maybe they had read the weather forecast which we always ignore.
At Jiaoba, we were halted to wait for the coal train coming back, so we hopped off to film the action, having several other visitors waving large cameras is of course all part of the hazards of filming here these days, one of them was very fortunate to be able to reboard as the train stopped specially for him. Three generations of Jiaoba residents still obviously enjoy watching the trains go by (Yuehong's picture):
Apart from the returning passenger, our walk back to Jiaoba was enlivened by the appearance of #8 on a 3 coach tourist train. It's a dreadful shot but I have included it as it shows the distinctively different front end of this ex-Pengzhou loco:
In the end there were also four coal trains today, not that it mattered as the sun was 'on holiday'. Next up is the weekend, it will take some unlikely brilliant sunshine to get us out on the lineside so maybe this blog will take a break.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson