Spring Green in China

08.04. - 15.04.2006

The early spring green is forming the backdrop for our tour into the northern parts of China. We'll visit an industrial railway which is - unusual for industrial sites - situated in beautiful surroundings. We will also be visiting one of China's major steel works where steam is still in service. We will see a variety of engine types in a fascinating diversity of settings that will present many opportunities for interesting and unusual photography. There is still time to catch this wonderful cross section of surviving steam in China.

Last but least we hope to see some of the last active QJs in the desert.


Date Itinerary
08.4. Departure to Beijing
09.4. Arrival in Beijing, dayroom in a hotel for having a shower or visit to the railway museum of Beijing, taking pictures of modern locomotives near the main station of Beijing, 20.01 hrs departure with overnight train K263 to Baotou
10.4. 08.32 hrs arrival Baotou, visit to the steelworks of Baotou (SY), continue by overnight train 1717/1720 to Baiyin, dayroom in a hotel in Baotou, overnight train K43 (hard sleeper), departure Baotou 00.24 hrs
11.4. 06.48 hrs arrival Yinchuan, charter bus for line siding along the desert line Daba - Guyaozi (QJ), hotel Lingwu
12.4. Charter bus for linesiding Daba - Guyaozi, overnight train N901, departure Yinchuan 22.05 hrs
13.4. 04.39 hrs arrival Baiyin Xi, charter bus to the industrial railway of Baiyin (SY), hotel in Baiyin
14.4. Charter bus for linesiding around Baiyin, evening charter bus to Lanzhou, hotel in Lanzhou
15.4. Morning flight to Beijing, Return flight to Europe, arrival in the same evening


Line descriptions

The steelworks of Baotou is using some two dozen steam locomotives of the SY class of 2-8-2s. Beside these there are many diesel locomotives. Of special interest are the blast furnace areas and the slag dump. The visit to one of the spectacular slag dumps is part of the program. As there are several of them someone can never be sure to wait at the right place at the right time but we will try to make things happen. Unfortunately the local police do not accept the permit that is issued by the steelworks, so it might be possible that we'll have to change the slag dump. However, we should still get our pictures! Access to the blast furnaces are permitted and far away from the local police as they are inside the steelworks.

One of the last lines passing through the loess mountains is the industrial line at Baiyin. In part the line is surrounded by mountains, and no industrial complex is visible. Beside the freight trains Baiyin offers passenger service. The terminus is a sight which will remind you of the 1970s, with blocks of apartments for the workers and huts made of bricks surround the station. Smog is very common in this industrial city, so we hope for a breeze that will blow the pollution away. Anyhow, it is a very atmospheric place.

Daba – Guyaozi is one of the last lines which is QJ-operated. In addition the line is very scenic. It's the last steam operated desert line in the world. Two diesels have arrived already, so the time for QJs is running out soon.


Small Print

The tour is planned with the dedicated photographer and video filmmaker in mind. The itinerary is designed for those who think it more important to get the perfect shot in the morning sun than a substantial breakfast. Lunch can be provided as packed food it the situation (i.e. taking pictures) requires.

Hotels, charter buses and trains represent the standard of our host countries, which may deviate from European or North American expectations. While we will try to avoid long walks, some photo positions may require a bit of an extra effort.

It might be possible that some of the lines are already dieselised or closed before we'll arrive. To avoid unpleasant situations of seeing odd diesels instead of steam we might have to change the itinerary to make the tour successful.

Full board is included, but lunches will be sometimes simple, not to say "basic", especially during train rides, while dinners are usually sumptuous. While taking pictures of trains, lunch will mostly be a packed lunch. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price.

The hotels used will be middle class, and in remote areas they are sometimes basic. The train rides are booked soft sleeper (four berth compartments). As the reservation system of China is a typical quotation system where the beginning station of a train normally gets more than 50% of the available tickets, it is not guaranteed that we can get soft sleeper tickets although we will try our best. In such a case we'll take hard sleeper. These are not that hard despite what the term suggests. A hard sleeper compartment normally comprises six berths which are not separated from the passageway by a door. Day-trains are booked hard seater. China is often not as clean as you might like it, so please be prepared. Carrying a bar of soap in your photo bag is not a bad idea. The cleanliness of the bedding is sometimes very poor.

Registration period expires February 24th, 2005

Later registrations will be accepted if flights and Hotels are still available. If you're not sure whether you can participate or not, please let us know your interest well in advance so that we can hold your place.



Spring Green in China 5 to 9 participants 1.670 Euro
08.04. - 15.04.2006 from 10 participants 1.480 Euro
  single room supplement 154 Euro

Please let us know with your booking whether you would accept the small group arrangement as well.

Minimum number of participants: 5
Maximum number of participants: 16

The price includes:

Not included are:

The prices are based on a special price offer of the airline, which is limited to a certain number of seats. Your early booking is hence much appreciated. In case the booking class is sold out we'll offer you an alternative flight. Land only arrangements can also be made for travellers who prefer to meet us in Beijing, so please enquire.


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