The International Steam Pages

Shibanxi Holiday 2011 - Day 10 - Bagou to Xianrenjiao - the long way around

Click here for the main Shibanxi Holiday 2011 page.

The weather was still uncooperative, we had breakfast by 10.00 and there was no sign of our visitors. At least it wasn't raining so it was time for another walk and we set off down the valley towards the new road to Mamiao. The last time we did it, the track was unpleasantly muddy, now it had been graded, the final bridge was almost finished and it was just waiting for a concrete topping, pending which truck traffic had been banned.

We passed the junction for the new road up to Jiaoba and headed down through the gorge, noting that some of the tree ferns had been spared by the road makers. We had intended to retrace John Raby's steps to Caiziba as described in his Bagou Blog, but it didn't work out that way... Yuehong enquired and we were directed up a small valley off the road, some way before it makes it sharp right hand bend.

This took us round the back of the (former) largest coal mine on this route, since it has been closed for several years, I was surprised to see a coal picker at work, but later it turned out that this spoil tip actually belonged to another working coal mine up the side valley:

This used the now standard 600mm gauge although the skips are totally non-standard having side opening doors. They are constructed in Ermeishan to the west, presumably there are small coal mines in that area too:

It was a 'modern' system but inevitably human powered for the short distance to the tipping area. The miners have the luxury of a 'ski lift' to the working area some half a kilometre underground.

Everyone was very friendly and we set of up the hill past a pile of old wagons and the mine canteen. Taking coal out by truck can't be easy, this was an empty truck going down the steep muddy road:

Onwards and upwards we trudged through the mud, the symbolism of this particular shrine completely defeated Yuehong...

Eventually we emerged just next to the south end of the loop at Xianrenjiao station, it had been a very pleasant walk, with the bonus of the 'new' working coal mine. Click here for Part 2.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson