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Jiayang Steam Train

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Jiayang Steam Train Introduction

Located just only 70 km away from the world famous and touristy Leshan Giant Buddha is the Jiayang Steam Train; the train is reputed as the "living fossil of the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century", but sadly, rarely known to travelers who plan to visit Leshan. It boasts as the world's only steam train for normal passengers-transfer on narrow gauge still operates all year around today. If you look for more than beautiful landscapes in Sichuan, an old-fashioned steam train ride in Leshan can be quite an enjoyment.

Jiayang Steam Train Introduction

Arriving at Jiayang Steam Train Station, you may feel as if you have been cut off from the outside world for ages. Jiayang Steam Train departs from an ordinary town in a mountainous area-Shixi Town, but, with its fascination, has attracted many visitors from all over the world over the recent years to feel this legendary invention created 200 years ago and to explore the state of life along the railway. This train terminates at Huangcunjing Station, a famous coal exit in those years, and the railway was originally for transporting raw coal. In 1980s when Huangcunjing stopped producing coal, it was realized that the residents along this railway 19.8km in length could hardly live without this narrow gauge railway-it was the only transportation means for them. In the 2000s, a rugged country road ran with difficulty into Bagou, but ultimately automobiles still failed to replace this rickety small train. Since the train was put into service in 1950s, people and the train have been integrated together. They go to market, hold weddings and funerals, visit relatives and friends… by none other but this small train.

Jiayang Steam Train Introduction

The local people are very proud of this railway. In 1938 when the Japanese ran amuck in eastern China, the Kuomintang government was forced to move the capital to Chongqing. With the transfer of political center, a number of military and civilian enterprises had moved in one after another. Weng Wenhao and Sun Yueqi, who were well-known domestically, created a Sino-British "Jiayang Coal Mines Co., Ltd" in Jianwei County of Leshan City and built a narrow gauge railway that was 6.5 km in length and 600mm in width, which provided a lot of energy-use coal for war resistance production. With the increasing demand of coal after the establishment of New China, the railway with the overall length of 19.8km was constructed in 1958 and has operated safely up to now.

Jiayang Steam Train Introduction

The rail gauge for Jiayang Steam Train is 76cm and only about half of the gauge of ordinary trains, thus called "narrow gauge". This steam train is the only existing narrow-gauge passenger steam train in the world, and vividly rated as "Primitive Living Landscape of Industrial Revolution". Each carriage is opening without glass and has two rows of face-to-face wooden seats, with good ventilation but invasion of the steam and coal ash. The train makes the rhythmic sound of "jingle, jingle…" all the way and keeps shaking, vividly called railway disco.

Jiayang Steam Train Introduction

The train runs through the ancient industrial town Bajiaogou to China's only coal tourist spot Huangcunjing; Bagou Town is a residence-centralized place and also the earliest workplace of Jiayang Coal Mines Co., Ltd, with a number of engineers and coal mining workers from various regions striving here for half a century and leaving many historical memories. Except small restaurants, barbershops and grocery stores, no other business traces can be found here. From the well-preserved Soviet Union-style office buildings, performance squares and British-style lodging houses, the spectacular occasion of state-owned enterprises in 1970s-1980s can be imagined. There is no other better saying that it is a small society of peace and idyllic beauty.

Jiayang Steam Train Introduction

Jiayang Steam Train has experienced several functional changes over just a couple of decades, from coal transportation to passenger transportation and finally to a beautiful scenery. It has become a great place for people to know about industrial civilization and to visit the integration of industrial and agricultural civilization. On April 18 of 2006, it was listed as an industrial heritage for protection by Leshan government of Sichuan Province.

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