|Shift change can still bring up to 6 SY locomotives together in Fuxin- but for how much longer?|
|Lines to the spoil tip will need upgrading before diesels can|
start. SY1195 sits precariously at the top of the tip.
|SY1460 begins its descent from the tip back to Fuxin in January 2014.|
|Half way up the spoil tip in typical SY1395 is seen in typical|
Chinese gloomy conditions with an empty train.
|Steam driving is hard and dirty work- but these 'livng, breathing' |
machines are loved by may of the crews here.
News has emerged in the last couple of weeks that several mines close to Fuxin are to close imminently. Suddenly an end to steam operations here is on the cards- seven diesels will be released which are to directly replace the SY loco's which currently operate at the complex. The change over could be very quick- track upgrades will be required but subject to being completed in time Fuxin could be dieselised as soon as June 2016- Steam really could have less than 2 months left. Of course the authorities will be pleased, they have long been concerned about the visible pollution from steam locomotives running through the city, but for the steam enthusiast this is a massive blow. Fuxin was the last site where SY locomotives could be seen in any number, and wasn't too far from Beijing either. I took some of my favorite photographs here when I visited in 2014 and had never totally ruled out the idea that one day, just maybe, I might have gone back. We should really be grateful that steam has lasted so long, and that it's swansong has been so glorious.
Sandaoling will remain as the steamiest site on earth for, perhaps, a few years longer using it's fleet of JS locomotives. These really are the dying days of 'real' steam.