Beijiao

‘HO’ Chinese - GUEST

BEIJIAO – THE STEAMIEST PLACE ON EARTH IN 2004

It was fourteen years ago, but I can remember it as if it was yesterday. The overnight sleeper arrived at 05.24 and we were in BEIJIAO – by then the steamiest place on earth!

We were there to photograph the last remnants of world steam and Jun, our Chinese guide, had arranged a hotel room overlooking not only the nearby industrial railway passenger station, but also the steam powered provincial line which terminated in the city. Steam hauled passenger trains, double-headed steam powered freights, steam hauled coal trains with double bankers; we were in railway photography heaven! And, of course, there were diesels on the China Rail main line for people who like that sort of thing – but none of us did, we were there for steam!

“It’s amazing!” said Gordon, my travelling companion, “It’s as if everything we could possibly want has been collected together in one place. If you made this as a model railway no one would believe it!”