SanDaoLing

Sandaoling lies in Xinjiang province in North West China and it's claim to fame is that it is one of the last places operating steam locomotives in an industrial setting.The open cast pit mine is about 6 km long and 1.5 km wide, reaching a depth of apx. 800ft. Two deep pit mines lie to the north east of the pit. A third deep pit mine lies to the north west and a rail connection to it is currently being constructed. Coal from the open pit and deep pit mines are brought to Nanzhan, where coal is loaded on to China Rail wagons and hauled by diesels to the mainline at Hami and onwards. Currently the west side of the pit is being mined. The rock is blasted with dynamite and coal is brought up to the blue loader area by trucks  and then loaded onto the trains. Coal is also mined via two deep mines, the YiJing Mine and the ErJing mine. Before the coal can be carried away by the trucks  to the blue loader, the spoil has to be removed by excavators and loaded onto the spoil trains. A lot of changes are occurring at SanDaoLing the most defining being the end of spoil operations in the west pit. The spoil will be removed by trucks starting June 2014 and will be dumped within the west pit itself. This will mean the end of spoil haulage and dumping and a great reduction in steam movements. There is a third deep pit mine to the north west of SanDaoLing and currently coal from this mine is hauled by trucks. That is set to change as a new line is being laid west of XiBoliZhan so that trains can haul the coal.  The old worker train route which used to run south of the open pit is also currently being upgraded for this purpose. Traffic seen on this line will certainly not make up for the traffic lost on the spoil removal and dumping lines which leads one to wonder if the sun is finally setting on the greatest steam show on earth......