Trains pulled by steam locomotives in Jiayang, Sichuan province, are among the last ones in operation in China. [Photo by Liu Lanying/China Daily]
Although it sounds more like a scene from a movie rather than reality in these days of bullet trains, passengers in Jiayang, Sichuan province, are riding in carriages pulled by steam locomotives every day.
They are among the last steam trains in operation in China.
First used to transport coal from the Jiayang Coal Mine 62 years ago, today, they transport local farmers and their produce to market and serve as a tourist attraction.
The mine is about 140 kilometers from Chengdu, the provincial capital, and before the construction of the railway in 1958, coal was hauled out of the mine by horses and then loaded onto junks that carried it along the Minjiang River.
“In the early days of the railway, farmers headed for the farm produce market sitting beside the coal. As coal production has stopped, the trains are now exclusively for farmers and tourists,” says Liu Chengxi, the Jiayang official in charge of the trains.