China Trip Report : Coal Lines - East and West

The days when steam locomotives were easy to find are long gone and the best locations are often far from each other. On this trip we set out to visit two of the furthest apart, the opencast coal mine at Sandaoling in the north-western province of Xinjiang and the narrow gauge coal railway at Huanan in eastern Heilongjiang. These are two very different operations yet they share some common features beyond the fact that they both haul coal, most notably the use of banking engines.

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Swiss Trip Report : Autumn on the Rhätischebahn

An autumn trip to the Rhätischebahn in the mountainous south-east Swiss canton of Graubünden. The line is a photographer's dream with superb scenery, attractive liveries and frequent trains, many of them loco hauled. With new EMUs likely to enter service during the first half of 2010, this was a last chance to photograph the old order in the autumn.

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Czech Trip Report : Unsilenced Sumava

Three lines converge on Volary, a small town in the heart of the Sumava, the mountainous region in the south-west of the Czech Republic that borders Germany and Austria. There are a couple of freights that run all year round and, in summer, when tourists flock to the area, there are a few loco hauled passengers as well. Volary had been on my list of places to visit for a long time and I finally got round to going there from 5 to 9 August 2009.

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Czech Trip Report : Praha Area

It had been almost two years since I’d photographed at Praha hl.n. and in the meantime, the new northern approaches have been completed and the platforms under the overall roof have been rebuilt. The station is at its best in the morning and evening light so the long days of early July seemed a good time for a return visit. I had also hoped to photograph some diesel hauled freights in the Kladno and Kralupy areas, north of Praha, and on the Nymburk – Mlada Boleslav line but that didn’t work out.

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German Trip Report : Voyage to the Mühldorf Star

The Mühldorf Star isn’t somewhere in the far reaches of the galaxy, it’s actually a radial network of diesel worked lines in the south-eastern corner of Germany. As well as having a number of loco hauled passenger trains, several different classes of diesel can be seen on freight and many stations still have semaphore signals. This report covers a three-day photographic trip to the Mühldorf area in late May followed by a couple of days on Germany's most photogenic main line, the Allgäubahn, photographing diverted diesel hauled EuroCity trains.

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Czech Trip Report : Spring Miscellany

It had been a whole year since my last visit to the Czech Republic and, as usual, quite a few operations had changed in the meantime, not all for the worse either. This trip combined some of the new opportunities, both diesel and electric, with return visits to a few old favourites and filling in some gaps in my photographic coverage.

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German Trip Report : Allgäubahn Diversions

The closure of Austria’s Arlberg line for a week in April meant that several freights and a couple of overnight passengers were diverted via the Allgäubahn in southern Bayern, one of Germany's most scenic main lines. This was an opportunity too good to miss and I spent five days there photographing the diversions as well as the regular traffic.

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China Trip Report : Industrial Steam East and West

The opencast coal mine at Zhalainuoer is probably the greatest steam spectacle left in the world today but it won’t be for much longer. Railway operations within the big pit are expected to cease later this year and diesels are currently being acquired for the surface lines as well. The opportunity to visit Zhalainuoer in March 2009 for one last time was just too good to miss. We also visited Baiyin, a much smaller operation but with a reasonably long main line featuring semi-desert scenery and steep gradients.

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China : Bei'an Steam Pictures Added

Pictures of China Railway steam around Bei'an in 1999 have been added to the Bei'an gallery. Subject matter includes high-deflector QJ and JS hauled trains, glints and silhouettes at the depot and even a couple of vintage diesels.

Bei'an pictures

China : More Photo Gallery Updates

More Chinese photos, this time mainly from from my diesel trip in October 2008. The pictures are from the Tonghua, Bei'an and Mudanjiang areas, the Beijing - Longhua line and the Fushun Mining Railway.

Tonghua pictures
Bei'an pictures
Mudanjiang pictures
Beijing-Longhua pictures
Fushun pictures

China : Photo Gallery Updates

Pictures from my November 2008 trip to the Huanan Forestry Railway and Jixi Mining Railways have been added to the appropriate photo galleries.

Huanan pictures
Jixi pictures

Switzerland : MGB Photos Added

Almost forgot that I visited the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn as well as the RhB on my recent visit to Switzerland. A few MGB pictures from that trip have been added to the photo galleries.

MGB Photos

Switzerland : Rhätischebahn Photos Added

A selection of pictures from my recent trip to the Rhätischebahn have been added to the Photo galleries.

Swiss Photo Galleries

Swiss Trip Report : Winter in Rhätischeland

The Rhätischebahn operates a large network of metre gauge lines in the south-eastern Swiss canton of Graubünden. After a short visit in December 2007, I resolved to go back for a longer period in winter 2008/2009. This is the report of that trip, from 07 to 19 January 2009.

The railway serves the industrialised area around the regional capital, Chur, as well as the Alpine resorts of Klosters, St. Moritz and Davos and even reaches Italy via the Bernina Pass, the highest adhesion-only crossing of the Alps. There are regular passenger services, most of them locomotive hauled, and a surprising volume of freight traffic all running through superb alpine scenery.

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