China (Sandaoling), Taiwan and Hong Kong March 2020 – also China (Sandaoling) alone for only £1,960

  • Duration: 12 days
  • Location: China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
  • Available Seat: 25
  • Price: 4,740; single supplement £640
China and a taste of Taiwan, March 2020 (for “JS” 2-8-2’s performing the last real work by steam traction in the world; the Shays during the cherry blossom season in Taiwan, and a day in Hong Kong!)
As requested by some of our members who wish to visit only the Sandaoling Mine, with its fleet of “JS” 2-8-2’s performing the last major genuine heavy steam locomotive operations anywhere in the world, in what will probably be (in 2020) their final year of operation, see the details of the “China Sandaoling stand-alone” tour at the end of this page.

Can you remember the early years of the 21st Century, when we would regularly fly to China, and travel – often by overnight train – to the far reaches of Inner Mongolia, to freeze our b******s off waiting for “QJ” 2-10-2’s on the Jingpeng Pass, or at Bautao, or perhaps Tiefa for the passenger trains – with the most stunning smoke effects from the engines in the still winter air, not to mention the sounds, so effectively captured on video! (Although not yet HD, nor yet 4K, because we didn’t have it then!) But now we do……Sadly all of that has gone – but with one exception – Sandoling mine at Hami, near to Urumqi in the extreme north-west of China. Here, a fleet of 9 powerful “JS” 2-8-2’s (a change from the formerly common, and much lighter, “SY’s”) pound noisily out of the pit at Sandoling, where operations are now expected to last until at least until our visit in March 2019, but possibly not much longer. Consequently this ultimate trip there, is combined with a visit to Taiwan, with charters on the main line of a 2-8-2; two sugar mill visits, one with a chartered steam train, the other with a chartered railcar; and most importantly to the “Shays of Alishan” in Taiwan, to see the regular “cherry blossom season” workings, and subject of course to the acquiescence of the Taiwan Railway Authority, one or more short charters of our own with a “Shay”.

The “JS” 2-8-2 mine workings at Sandoling are the last  guaranteed chance to see the last real steam in any numbers, in action anywhere in the world; Taiwan is of course one of very few places where you can see “Shay” geared locomotives in action. And finishing the tour in Hong Kong, with its double deck trams, Star Ferry, and the Victoria Peak cable car with its spectacular views, should make this tour a fitting final tribute to working steam.

Shay photos courtesy James Waite; Wushulin railcar Ray Schofield. Clients of the LCGB (Locomotive Club of Great Britain) and PTG (Portuguese Travel Group) will be joining us for much of the Taiwan part of this tour.

Click here for China, Taiwan & Hong Kong – RESERVATION FORM which you can print out, scan and email to or mail to Enthusiast Holidays, now at 26, Onslow Gardens, South Croydon, CR2 9AB


Traveling Plan:

 March 16th (Mon)
Depart London Heathrow airport 16:25 by British Airways flight to Beijing, and on to Urumqi and by train (3 hrs approx.) to Hami...
March 18th (Wed.)

... arr. just after midnight. Transfer by road to Sandoling for most of 4 days photography

March 19th (Thu.)

Full day photographing the industrial steam operations at Sandoling Mine (JS 2-8-2's similar to main illustration)..

March 20th (Fri.)
As Thursday
March 21st (Sat.)
As Friday, until transfer to Hami railway station for D8809 20:46 to Urumqi 23:59 and transfer to hotel.
March 22nd (Sun.)

After breakfast, transfer to Urumqi airport for our flights to Taipei; transfer to Changhua for overnight at Forte Hotel***.

March 23rd (Mon.)

Early transfer to roundhouse, then special train with 2-8-2 DT668 from Changhui to Ershui, and on to Jiji and Checheng. Optio nal trip by coach the short distance to the scenic Sun Moon lake and lunch; back to Checheng for final leg of our steam charter to Ershui. By service train to Chaiyi for dinner and overnight Hotel Maison de Chine****.

March 24th (Tue.)

Morning regular train (not steam) through the amazing Dulishan spiral to Fenqihu. Shed visit and town; some years ago a landslip severed the line to Alishan so we continue to Alishan by road. Dinner and overnight hotel in AlishanAlishan House Hotel****)

March 25th (Wed.)

This is the day Shay (normally No. 31) operates tourist shuttles over a 2km route in a wooded valley, to Zhaoping and v.v. - earlier (by diesel) to see the sunrise over the mountains. We are trying for an extra short charter with No. 31 today - but not guaranteed at time of writing. Dinner and overnight in Alishan.

March 26th (Thu.)

An early start with the coach today to photograph the morning trains (not steam) from Chaiyi to Fenqui; also today we plan to have a special train with “Shay” No. 25 over a short distance, probably from Chiayi or the nearby depot at Beimen. The exact extent of this operation is still being negotiated. Lunch in Chaiyi, then Beimen train park and tourist visits. Dinner and overnight in Forte Hotel, Changhua***i

March 27th (Fri.)

Transfer by road to Xihu sugar mill for charter steam train to the end of this 4km line, with run pasts of course! Then to Wushulin sugar mill for trip over their 4.6km line with their railcar (see illustration). Transfer by road to Tainan for dinner and overnight at The Place Hotel****.

March 28th (Sat.)

An essential visit for anyone interested in antiquities because of its proliferation of temples. We will see those, and the 3 main line preserved steam locos., before continuing to Kaohsiung for our flight at 15:05 to Hong Kong, arr. 16:50. Our hotel - on bed and breakfast basis - is close to the metro so anybody wishing to go down town and see and ride on the double deck trams, can do so. The choice of food in HK is great and most people speak English!

March 29th (Sun.) 

Our day in Hong Kong should include a charter tram ride; a trip on the Star Ferry, and the cable car up to Victoria Peak whence the view is stunning, provided the weather is kind. We will have a farewell dinner before transferring to the airport for British Airways flight BA026 dep. 23:05 for London Heathrow airport, arr. 04:45

Or BA028 dep. 23:45 for London Heathrow airport, arr. 04:45 Monday

China Sandaoling “stand-alone” tour – March 11 – 17, 2020

Mar. 16 (Mon.)        Afternoon flight (12:05) by Air China Flight CA788 overnight to Beijing…..

Mar. 17 (Tue.)         …… arriving 06:30, connecting into local flight departing 08:20 to Urumqi, arriving 12:35, and onward by train (approx. 3 hrs.) to Hami, arriving 19:46 and transfer to Sandaoling for overnight stay.

Mar. 18 (Wed. – 21 (Sat.)    Photographing the industrial steam operations at  Sandaoling mine (“JS” 2-8-2) until time to transfer to railway     station for Tr. D2703 16:34 Hami/Urumqi 19:57 and overnight in Urumqi.

Mar. 22 (Sun.)         Depart 09:15 by Air China flight to Beijing arr. 12:45; connecting into Air China flight CA937 departing at 14:30 to London Heathrow arr. 17:50 same day.

Price based upon half-board accommodation in the hotels, and return flights by Air China, all transfers, and the services of a local guide, £1,960 (single room supplement £220)

A separate booking form for this tour will be uploaded soon but meanwhile please use the contacts above to confirm your interest.