Done! The summit at ShangDian had been reached, the effortless run all the way down to Linxi could begin. Some three hours later, the train had reached Daban, where engines and crews were exchanged as with all trains. Dec, 2002
In Inner Mongolia, weather conditions could be extremely harsh. The ever blowing wind could ruin many perfect pictures, so patience and persistence was needed. On Dec 28, 2002, I was rewarded for both: The day started with clear sky, bright sunlight, and no wind at all. An eastbound freight was scheduled just at the right time in early morning, so I finally got this picture in the box I had tried many times before without success!
When this train appeared 20 minutes earlier below XiaKengZi, the scenery was still in the shadow. Heavy loads made the train slow enough to allow the sun to reach this spot in the meantime. Dec.27, 2002.
Ready for departure. After the 2.5 hour run from Haolukou, the QJ's have arrived at Jingpeng, where all trains stopped. The steam engines have taken water there, cleared fire and were now awaiting their departure for the now beginning, demanding climb up to ShangDian summit. 25.12.2002
A few kilometers above Jingpeng, the railway crosses the valley on the large Biligou viaduct. After that, the terrain suddenly got rugged. 25.12.2002
On the second level near SiMingYi, two QJ's work a mixed eastbound freight. Some fifteen minutes later, the train would pass on the embankment high above ErDi village in the background to the right. 28.12.2002.
At the aforementioned embankment high above ErDi, two QJ just had emerged from Tunnel III. Imagine how the crews must be gasping for breath after passing a tunnel on the footplate of 3000-Hp-Engine working at maximum tracive effort! Meanwhile, in the brickwork valley beyond the tunnel, steam clouds still rose towards the sky. Dec.26.2002
High above DaYingZi, just another coal freight struggled against the 12/ 1000 grade. 29.12.2002
An uphill passes ErDi Village in late afteroon. In contrast to us foreigners, locals avoided staying outdoors in freezing winter days as much as they could, so the settlements often appeared rather uninhabitet. Given the fact that there was hardly any smoke visible in the village, you can tell how harsh life in rural China must be.
Positions for taking the picturesque SimingYi viaduct near XiaKengZi were numerous. At late afternoon, a freight steamed down effortlessly, offering this pleasant glint. Dec.27, 2002



(c) Markus Fischer, Zürich