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Incredibly as we edge towards the next century China is still operating and even building steam locomotives. What is now the largest communist country in the world is seeing an unprecedented growth in rail traffic flows - thanks mainly to a booming domestic economy that skillfully combines western market forces with communism. Infact such has been the enormous growth of rail traffic that at present there are simply not enough wagons or new locos to cope! The result is that many steam locos that undoubtedly would have otherwise been retired by now are still in daily use To put it quite simply, there is nowhere in the world that can still provide such a volume of spectacular main line steam action as China currently does. However, modern diesel loco's are being produced at an enormous rate, and together with further batches of electric locos change is quickly coming. This is a particularly fascinating time to visit China, with many steam sheds looking reminiscent of British depots towards the end of steam, as the diesels gradually invade the steam locos traditional domain. With distinctive scenery and steep gradients there is certainly no need for artificial 'runpasts' · this programme features 100% everyday Chinese rail action. Our second pert of this most detailed look at the current Chinese rail scene includes: A close look at two of the most impressive industrial location in China the giant steel works at Anshan and Baotou. These two giant sites employ a huge number of both steam and modern traction engines on their complex sites. Anshan features JS & SY locos on shed and on site, plus their unique Skoda electrics, while Baotou features JS, SY, YJ & GK1F There's more sensational double headed QJ steam action on the top part of the steep climb from Zhongwei. There's also plenty of action around Changliushui where many locos take water and clean out their fires before the final ascent to Gantang Contrasting contemporary diesel hauled freight flows up the climb from Zhongwei are also seen hard at work. Both diesel passenger end steam hauled freight are featured at Harbin in the North East of China plus a visit to the busy depot There's a look at two contrasting colliery lines at Xintaizi near Shenyang and the No 2 Coal mine at Tangshan featuring SY and YJ steam action. Finally there's a look at Sajiatun steam museum and depot, plus a very poignant look at some Chinese scrap lines contrasted with a summary of typical present day steam action.
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