The International Steam Pages

Looking Back at the Weihe Forestry Railway

At the time of writing (March 2008), it is now just 5 years since the last logging train ran at Weihe. I didn't discover the railway, I wasn't the first western gricer to visit the line but I probably spent more time there photographing it than any other non-Chinese (5 weeks spread over 4 visits between 2000 and 2003). I have many wonderful memories and not just of the steam hauled trains. Many of them are detailed in detailed in the reports of my visits (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003). Of course, the most significant was meeting Yuehong in a snow drift at the top of the hill between Pinglin and Shuangfeng in February 2003, something which literally changed my life. You won't catch me with all my hair any more:

To celebrate this wonderful railway and also my own amazing last 5 years, I have uploaded some rather larger pictures than I normally put on my site. Some are 'pretty pictures', but most are very ordinary being merely a personal record of happy times along the full length of a railway which is no longer with us. All remain my personal copyright, but you are perfectly welcome to download and print them for your personal use. However, appropriate action will be taken against anyone 'lifting' them for other websites or using them for commercial purposes. 

A foreigner dropping in on a Chinese narrow gauge railway can never really understand, let alone record what it is really like to live and work in such conditions and these pictures can only give a hint. Fortunately, my wife, Yuehong, made a film about it....

Two summary maps of the system appear below. It seems that the railway had 9 C2 0-8-0 steam locomotives (SW 21-) 030 to 035 and 053 to 055. By the time I got here, 032 had been retired to a shed in Weihe, but all the others feature in these galleries. I recommend viewing these pages on a maximised screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768 or better. 

Beware of trains:

I have always been fascinated by steam on the narrow gauge and I have visited many over the last 30 years or more, particularly in China, India and Indonesia. Weihe would have to compete with Shibanxi in Sichuan (China) and Olean in Java (Indonesia) as my favourite narrow gauge railway of all time. Fortunately, all three lasted long enough to feature on our DVDs:

  • Logging Off - the last year of the Weihe Forestry Railway in China (Yuehong and Du Jianbin)

  • Sweet Spot - the story of Olean Sugar Mill in Java

  • Shibanxi Heaven - the last real steam narrow gauge passenger train in the world 

Rob Dickinson