CHINA 2018 STEAM-DIESEL-CULTURE
SEPTEMBER 4-26, 2018
Day 1 Tuesday September 4:
Individual arrangements into Pudong Airport, Shanghai. Transfer to the hotel and check-in. Relax for the evening.
Day 2 Wednesday September 5: (B-L-D)
Morning visit to Railway Museum – not as big as Beijing’s, perhaps, but with worthwhile artifacts and exhibits. Afternoon train to Ningbo, two hours. With relics dating back 7,000 years, some of the oldest wooden structures in China – and a truly bizarre “replica park” - this coastal city bracketed by low mountains is often overlooked by international tourists.
Day 3 Thursday September 6: (B-L-D)
Day to take in the sights including Baoquo Temple, Tianyi Pavilion and others as time allows. Eco Village was highlighted at Expo Shanghai 2010 as one of the most progressive developments in urban planning, requiring 10 years to complete. An important port city, one of its darker chapters involved the (fortunately not very successful) 1940 plot by Japanese invaders to drop ceramic bombs filled with fleas which had been subjected to bubonic plague.
Day 4 Friday September 7: (B-L-D)
Train G58 whisks us northward over a thousand miles in just under 7 hours – Depart Ningbo 7:45am and arrive Beijing South Station 2:39pm. We will have a few hours to enjoy the Summer Palace in late afternoon before boarding overnight train 2559 departing from North Station at 8:49pm in Soft Sleeper.
Day 5 Saturday September 8: (B-L-D)
Arrive Chifeng 7:05am. After breakfast we drive to the Ji Tong line, perhaps pausing at Daban shops and Lindong en route to our hotel in the village of Reshui (“Hot Water”). Famous for its thermal springs, this has long attracted Chinese visitors – and, from the late 1990s until the end of steam, railfans from around the world! Two nights at Reshui.
Day 6 Sunday September 9: (B-L-D)
Full day to explore the loops and small stations along the 50km-long mountain pass, catching freights at various photogenic locations. Trains run approximately hourly, with about 20+ trains daily but at irregular intervals hard to predict. About half the traffic is coal, with oil, wood, and general cargo making up the rest.
Day 7 Monday September 10: (B-L-D)
Most of this day we will explore various places along the JiTong line, working our east to Chabuga where we board T302 at 9:09pm . Two nights on the train crossing long Inner Mongolia.
Day 8 Tuesday September 11: (B-L-D)
On train, passing the western end of the JiTong line in daylight before passing through Hohhot, the provincial capital, and Bataou. Scenes along the Yellow River unfold as we follow the westward sun toward the end of the Great Wall at Jiayuguan.
Day 9 Wednesday September 12: (B-L-D)
Into Xinjiang province at last, we arrive Hami at 1:36pm. The best remaining place to see working steam on earth lies two hours drive to the west in the small city of Sandaoling. While there are several smaller mines and industries yet employing one or two steam locos, this place keeps a fleet of a half dozen active. Usually 4 or 5 are at work in the open pit, hauling raw coal to a washery and a few trains to a coking plant. A couple other JS locos serve occasional runs from deep mines. Interchange runs to China Rail have been conducted by diesels since 2010. A new deep mine, to the west of the open pit, is also handled by diesels. Three nights here.
Day 10 Thursday September 13: (B-L-D)
Explore the town with its mix of Uyghur and Chinese influences – one cannot get much farther from Shanghai in nearly every way! Open markets, shoe and bike repair shops on the street, and basic stores (including Superman Supermarket) are worth a bit of time away from the shuttle of coal trains and empties. The railway and its steam locos will very soon become history, following all other Chinese mines – but for as long as it lasts, Sandaoling is definitely worth a visit.
Day 11 Friday September 14: (B-L-D)
The nearby Tianshan mountains will be explored today as we leisurely make our way back to Hami and an evening departure for Kashgar. Train K1661 departs Hami at 10:09pm.
Day 12 Saturday September 15: (B-L-D)
A partly mountainous route leads to the far western border of China, and today we take in the scenery from our soft class sleeper, arriving at 8:16pm.
Day 13 Sunday September 16: (B-L-D)
The fabulous history and diverse ethnic makeup of this Silk Road trading post is worth a bit of research for any going. Visit the Sunday Market and Old Town will certainly be in view along with other sites.
ay 14 Monday September 17: (B-L-D)
Free day to Explore.
Day 15 Tuesday September 18: (B-L)
Day 16 Wednesday September 19: (B-L-D)
Pandas and JinLi cultural – tourist area this morning and lunchtime, followed by 3 hour ride south to the Shibanxi Narrow gauge. Our hotel is in Sanjin Town, a couple blocks from the railway. Tourist trains begin their runs here, while a pair of regular trains begin their runs a bit farther down line on the Min River, where the small shop is located. Three nights here.
Day 16-17 Thursday-Friday September 20-21: (B-L-D)
All day to ride the trains, walk the right of way, explore the mine above Sanjin town, go down into the exhibition mine at the outer end of the line, and explore the Mao-era town of Bagou among other things. The locals fought to prevent the dismantling of this beautiful railway, and it stands today as a testament to their vision.
Day 18 Saturday September 22: (B-L-D)
Morning drive to Chongqing, and afternoon to ride the monorail and maybe ropeway, used by commuters as well as visitors. From this point there are two options: Ride one of the fast trains back to Shanghai, several of which are timed for just under eleven hours. This would be on September 23 after a night in CQ. Flights for home from Shanghai would be September 24. Main group by boat to Yichang and rail on to Shanghai. Nights of the 22nd thru 24th will be on the boat. Night of the 25th will be in Shanghai, with flights for home on the 26th. Our five-star boat sails through the Gorges of the Yangtze, with some included plus a few optional shore excursions en route. The river journey is a highlight for many visitors to this country, and a way to wind down at tour’s end surveying the high ridges and observing passing river traffic and shore scenes. You will visit the Three Gorges Dam on the final day before Yichang arrival, followed by a mid afternoon train departure to Shanghai.
Day 22 Wednesday September 26:
End of tour at Shanghai.
all prices per person
Double room occupancy$5,095
Single room occupancy$5,495
Note: Does not include single occupancy on board the trains or boat cruise
Deposit to hold space confirmed$1,500
Final payment due by June 4, 2018
Note: A shorter two week option is available. Ask for information and prices.
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2017 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.