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China (Sandaoling + Huanan n.g. steam, Baishan electric slate railway) and Tiefa steam festival, January 2025?

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  • Duration:15 days  (12 days without Tiefa)
  •  Location:   China
  • Available Seat:28
  • Price (estimated):£4,350 – single room supplement £730 incl. flights from/to London

Discount for tour without Tiefa, incl. full day in Beijing, and returning to London Jan. 27 – £950; single room supplement for the reduced tour £475

Please be aware that, as there is no news about the Tiefa steam festival, and steam operations at the Sandaoling mine have virtually since 15th January 2024 shut down, this tour is unlikely to operate. 


Tour Details

China  (Sandaoling for “JS” 2-8-2’s performing the last real work by steam traction in the world), narrow gauge passenger at Huanan, and the Baishan slate railway – electric; and  the Tiefa Steam Festival, for SY 2-8-2 on photo-charters)   

Originally planned for February 2020, this tour was cancelled in view of the Coronavirus outbreak in China, but which subsequently engulfed the whole world. The result is that there were no direct flights between the UK and China, and UK citizens are not yet allowed into China for tourist purposes. That has now changed, and things are gradually returning to normal. 
Next winter, we hope to be just in time to see the very last of the  JS 2-8-2 operation – much of their work having being replaced by a conveyer belt! – just a handful surviving there, and working the nearby deep mine at Erjing. 
We continue to Huanan for more passenger trains – this time narrow gauge, and finally to Baishing for a most unusual and rarely visited slate railway, operated by electric locomotives. 
We are waiting for confirmation of the exact dates of the “Tiefa Steam Festival” – and even that it will happen at all! – but if it does, it will provide an excellent chance to recall the days when SY were rushing hither and thither with passenger trains in this mining area centred on Daobingshan, where we will probably stay, for 2 nights.
If you have already registered your interest in this tour, we will keep you updated. If not, please email info@enthusiasthols.com


Can you remember the early years of the 21st Century, when we would regularly fly to China, and travel – often by overnight train – to the far reaches of Inner Mongolia, to freeze our b******s off waiting for “QJ” 2-10-2’s on the Jingpeng Pass, or at Bautao, or perhaps Tiefa for the passenger trains – with the most stunning smoke effects from the engines in the still winter air, not to mention the sounds, so effectively captured on video! (Although not yet HD, nor yet 4K, because we didn’t have it then!) But now we do…… but sadly all of that has gone – however with two exceptions – Sandaoling mine at Hami, near to Urumqi in the extreme north-west of China, where powerful “JS” 2-8-2’s still pound noisily out of the pit at Sandaoling, and where operations are now expected to last until at least until our visit in January 2024; and Tiefa, where two “SY” 2-8-2’s are retained in operational condition, and they are expected to perform on passenger and freight photo-charters.

Photos courtesy CBR Rail Ltd.  Tour operation subject to renewal of our CAA ATOL licence 

Proposed itinerary: in course of preparation, but a synopsis is as follows (dates subject to change once the period of the Tiefa steam festival is confirmed).
Jan. 16 – Fly London-Beijing………
Jan 17 – ….and connect with flight to Hami. Transfer to Sandaoling for 3 nights.
Jan 18 & 19 – in Sandaoling
Jan. 20 – a.m. in Sandaoling; evening train to Urumqi for overnight.
Jan. 21 – Urumqi – Jiamusi flight and overnight Jiamusi
Jan. 22 – Huanan steam passenger charter all day; evening overnight soft class train to Changchun
Jan. 23 – road transfer Changchun – Baishan for slate mining narrow gauge railway; overnight Baishan.
Jan. 24 – Baishan n.g. slate railway. Overnight Baishan
Jan. 25 – Morning in Baishan; transfer to Tiefa (Daobingshan) for 4 nights.
Jan 26 – 28 – Tiefa steam festival.
Jan. 29 – by trains to Beijing for overnight.
Jan 30 – transfer to airport for flight to London LHR, arriving same day.






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