Huanan Forestry Railway

Unusually for a forestry railway, this narrow gauge line in north-eastern Heilongjiang handled very little timber. The reason for its continued existence was coal mined at a remote spot in the hills. It was a fabulous line that ran through a variety of landscapes including a hill section where loaded trains were banked. Frequent closures and chronically unreliable engines towards the end meant it wasn’t an easy line to photograph but it was one of the most rewarding. Closure finally came in April 2011.

46 pictures

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Dahuichang Limestone Railway

The last place you would expect to find a steam worked narrow gauge railway is Beijing, China's bustling modern capital. However, only a short distance from the glass and steel towers of the city, diminutive C2 class 0-8-0s shuttled back and forth, hauling trains of tubs between the quarry and the limestone plant at Dahuichang. The line closed in 2005.

6 pictures

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Jiayang (Shibanxi) NG Railway

This isolated narrow gauge operation is an absolute delight. The scenery is superb, the gradients are steep, the rolling stock is in a class of its own and the locals are friendly. All it needs is some sunshine to bring it to life. The catch is that this part of Sichuan experiences more cloudy, wet weather than Manchester. Fortunately the clouds do break occasionally.

23 pictures

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Weihe Forestry Railway

A vast network of 2'6" gauge lines was built to exploit the forestry resources of Manchuria but in recent years most have closed as logging operations have been scaled down. The Weihe Forestry Railway was the last to use steam traction and finally closed in March 2003. These photos were taken a couple of weeks earlier when the railway was still very busy.

10 pictures

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