All photographs © Copyright Duncan Cotterill 2003. All rights reserved.
Weihe yard didn't look like it was on the verge of closure on the 8th of March 2003 with plenty of inbound loaded trains and outbound empties to keep the yard pilot, number 35, busy. Here a group of local staff watch as number 33 pulls a rake of empty flats forward before departing for Dongfeng.
Most trains make a prolonged stop at Dongfeng for watering and fire cleaning before tackling the climb to the line's summit between Shuangfeng and Pinglin. One of the line's better performers, number 30, is seen here rolling into Dongfeng with a loaded train from Yulin on 8th March 2003.
Around an hour later, the same train approaches Shuangfeng. It can be seen that the trackbed here is around 3 times as wide as would be normal for a 2'6" gauge railway, an indication of the line's former existence as a 5' gauge branch off the Chinese Eastern Railway's Harbin - Mudanjiang route. Whether the original line was closed before gauge conversion in the 1930s or existed as a standard gauge line until more recently isn't known. Many of the current narrow gauge operation's structures date from around 1970, so that may well be when the narrow gauge commenced operation.
A following train, a working from Dongfeng with number 55 in charge, is seen from the high ground between Zhenzhu and Weihe around midday on 8th March 2003. Zhenzhu can be seen in the distance.
The previous evening, number 30 bowled down the main street of Zhenzhu at last light with another loaded train from Dongfeng. Will anyone be here in March 2004 capturing the glint on a convoy of blue trucks? I think not!