China Real Steam Tours
email me - john@rabylee.uk - if you are interested in a final China Steam tour
Linesiding with John
A deposit of £400 secures your place on one of these tours. Your deposit is fully refundable until the tour has 6 full participants signed up or the tour is declared go. The tour may be declared go with less than 6 people. This tour has been declared go.

Once the tour is declared go, you deposit is partially refundable. The level of the refund will depend on the amount of time and expense already incurred on your behalf.

If you cancel 30 days or less before the tour starts, your withdrawal would have a major effect on tour economics and your deposit is not refundable.

In the unlikely event that I need to cancel the tour for whatever reason after declaring it 'go', the limit of my liability will be the full refund of any monies paid to me by those who have signed up for the tour. I would only take this drastic step in the most extreme circumstances after exploring all of the less drastic alternatives.
Click here for my standard tour terms and conditions
Updated 31 January 2017
You can read about the previous two China trips here:

Click here to read about the March 2016 tour here:

Revised Itinerary for my final China real working industrial steam tour -
11 March - 3 April 2017
email me - john@rabylee.uk - if you are interested in a final China Steam tour
The Last Steam in China
Update and Final Call for March China Tour

Jun has just returned from Sandaoling and confirms that steam out of the open cast big pit will definitely continue until May 2017. Our plans to visit Sandaoling should see steam from the open cast pit as well as the deep mines.

Jun says that steam workings at Pingzhuang will not resume before Chinese New Year and so he will need to check after Chinese New Year to see if they have resumed.

Based on these two bits of information, the March China Tour plan will be adjusted to omit Pingzhuang and spend the time at Sandaoling. The tour plan is amended (see above).

Three important things to note:
Should steam resume at Pingzhuang before the start of our tour, anyone who has signed up for Part 1 of the tour will be consulted on whether we stick with the revised plan below or try to reinstate a visit to Pingzhuang. There should be the option to go direct to Sandaoling - main option - or go first to Pingzhuang - Pingzhunag option - this option will require flying Beijing - Hami to meet up with the main group. That flight will be charged extra.

Effectively Parts 1 and 2 of the tour have now merged. There are options to join at the start of the tour with train travel to Sandaoling or to join us at Sandaoling after flying in from Beijing to Hami (with Beijing - Hami - Beijing flight arrangements to be made by you).

Beijing - Hami - Beijing flights have returned to daily operations! Please check this for yourself if you are interested but it means you could join us at Sandaoling earlier than 16 March and leave the same day we do on 24 March. I used https://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-flights/ to check this. Air China operate the flights so I also checked there and in theory, you could fly to Hami on 13 March and return on 24 March if you wish.

Jun has also asked me to change my cut off date for those joining the trip who need visa paperwork to 6 February as he will be away from 8 February leading another tour that has recently been added to his schedule. If you need visa paperwork, please decide asap if you wish to join the tour, book your flights, pay a deposit and let me know your travel plans by 6 January! However, there is another way to get a visa after 6 February - please ask me.

Should Pingzhuang return to using steam locos (SY) there will be an option to make a short visit to Pingzhuang starting 11 March, one full day at Pingzhuang, returning to Beijing 13 March and flying to Hami on 14 March. The cost of the Beijing - Hami flight will be an extra cost but the guided visit to Pingzhuang will be included in the tour costs.

I hope the above details are clear. If not, please ask.
If you have been thinking about one last trip to China, your decision on this is now urgently required.

This tour will run and we are now getting to the point where you need to book flights and apply for your China Visa. The Chinese New Year holidays are on as I write but normal life will resume in China and at Chinese embassies from 6 February.

The tour originally planned to visit Fuxin, Sandaoling and Shibanxi. When Fuxin fully dieselised, Pingzhuang was substituted but there was a serious coal mine accident in the Pingzhuang area in December and mining and railway activity had not resumed by the start of Chinese New Year. Pingzhuang is currently not in the revised itinerary below. If it does resume using SY steam locos, every attempt will be made to take anyone arriving in Beijing for the tour start on 11 March there if they wish. The main tour will go direct to Sandaoling by train on 12 March (after a visit to the Beijing Railway Museum and some old hutong housing in the centre of Beijing). If a sub-group goes to Pingzhuang, they will need to fly Beijing - Hami to catch up with the group (this flight would be an additional expense).

Two parties are currently at Sandaoling over Chinese New Year and report regular steam activity not at all diminished by the holidays. The locos seen in use are JS 8081, 8167, 8197 with appearances from JS 8190 and 8225 at Dongbolizhan for the open cast mine, and at Nanzhan and the deep mines JS 6204, 8053, 8314, 8358 and 8366. (News from SY-Country website and personal correspondence with one of the parties.) It's good to see that one of the 62xx series JS with double sidebars is still in use. I have not had much news from Shibanxi but I think it's safe to assume that 5-6 C2 narrow gauge 0-8-0s will be in use on regular passenger and tourist trains with one electric on the coal trains on the lower section at the time of our visit.

There is still time to join this tour but don't delay your decision or you may miss a real last chance to see real, working industrial steam in China.

To join at the start of the tour, I recommend that you apply for your China Visa before the end of February.
Latest Itinerary - updated 31 January 2017

Last call for my last Real Industrial Working Steam in China Tour!