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Jingpeng Pass - Route Description

Jingpeng Pass Railway Map
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Jingpeng Pass - Route Description - December 2010

The JiTong line is a 945-kilometre (587 mile) railway in Inner Mongolia, China, opened in 1995. Starting at Tongliao on the Manchurian plain, it climbs almost 1500m to Jining on the high Mongolian plateau. The line is notable for its use of steam traction during its first decade of operation. By the time steam was withdrawn in 2005, this had become the world's last steam-operated main line.

The route depicts most famous and spectacular part of the line, the famous 50km Jingpeng Pass section which crosses the Da Xing Gan mountains between Jingpeng and Galadesitai. To reach the 1300m summit of the pass at Shangdian, the line climbs on either side through a series of tight horseshoe turns, tunnels and viaducts.

This mountain section will soon be bypassed by a 26km tunnel being constructed under the pass, but there are plans to retain the original line for tourist traffic.

Steam Era Operations (1995-2005)

The JiTong line serves an area rich in mineral deposits, notably coal. Freight services ran as required every two hours or more and were typically heavily laden (over 2000 tons), with coal and fuel being the principal traffic.

Until 2000 the JiTong line was operated by 2-10-2 QJ type steam engines. Through 2005, duties were progressively taken over by DF4 and DF8 diesel-electric locos, and steam is now confined to tourist trains.

The Jingpeng pass section is single track with passing loops and stations provided at San Di, Liudigou, Shangdian, Hadashan and Xiakengzi. The section passes through six tunnels, including the 982m summit tunnel at Shangdian, and crosses two major viaducts at Biligou and Si Ming Yi. The ruling (maximum) grade is 12 per thousand (1.2%, or 1 in 83).

Maximum speed over this section is 50km/hour (55km for diesels). Steam-hauled freight trains, usually double-headed for the ascent, were scheduled to take 1 hour and 40 minutes eastbound and slightly longer westbound; heavily laden trains could take an hour longer. There were up to three passenger services daily in each direction, taking just under an hour for the section. Double- headed steam services could handle up to 55 cars or 2300 tons, and two diesels were allowed 3200 tons.

Signalling on this section was provided primarily by electrically interlocked semaphore signals, mostly manually operated. These were replaced with colour light signaling from 2005.

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