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Hegang - Haolianghe - Huanan - Suifenhe - Mudanjiang - Muling - Baishan - Nanjing - Ma'anshan - Sandaoling
This is part three of my 2018 trip to China and covers Nanjing, Ma'anshan and between.
The other three parts are as follows:
Part 1 covers Beijing, Hegang, Haolianghe and Huanan - click here
Part 2 covers Suifenehe, Mudanjiang, Muling & Baishan - click here
Part 4 covers Sandaoling - click here
|18 October 2018|
We had a pretty average night sleep onboard our train 2728 from Mudanjiang thanks to the snoring from our elderly roommates, but arrived on time, just before 6am. Unfortunately, I hadn't quite had calculated the timing for our flight to Nanjing particularly well. I must have misread the times when I booked it after a long shift at work at some obscure hour of the morning. At least that's what I put it down to, contrary to Steve's opinion that I was just a moron. Usually I leave two hours for the flight check-in and security clearance, however we had two hours to throw in the 50 kilometre taxi ride as well as this. Rather than long winded negotiations with the taxi drivers all screaming for our business, we negotiated with one as we walked to his taxi telling him we would we pay him 250rmb, on the proviso that he red-lined his Hyundai the entire way. He did an admirable job of this, taking about 45 minutes all up and our stress levels started to dip somewhat, thinking we actually had a chance to get on the flight. That was until we walked inside the terminal. I had underestimated how busy Shenyang airport actually was, with queues lining up almost out the main doors. We somehow got permission to use the priority check-in lane. This still took over 20 minutes and we hadn't even begun the security check yet with some 20 lanes absolutely packed, including the late arrival one. The queues here were typically shambolic and it took some pushing and shoving to retain out place in the line, but we made it to the gate with less than ten minutes to spare.
We were amongst the last passengers to board our flight, China Southern CZ6451 to Nanjing and pushed back from the gate right on time at ten minutes past eight. We must have been a very low priority flight as it took nearly an hour until wheels up time, with other planes given priority over ours. Having a window seat and being on the left hand side of the aircraft put me in a prime spot for one last look of the huge open cast pit at Fushun. The flight to Nanjing was fairly smooth and we were given excellent views of the city and Ma'anshan iron ore mine as we approached Lukou Airport. Well I did, anyway. Steve had fallen asleep again. Baggage collection and the following subway ride were quick, having had the practice late last year. I chose our hotel, the Mingfa International, due to its centralised location for all the places we would visit during the next few days. It is located one subway station north of Nanjing South railway station, with one of the exits leading straight to the entrance. We were given a very nice room with views of Nanjing South railway station where we could see the CRH trains arriving and departing.
As we only had the afternoon for train spotting, after the hotel check in we headed off to the subway station of Youfangqiao for my favourite spot on the Qinhuai river. Nothing much has changed since my previous visit, asides from the number of passenger trains using this line has increased dramatically. We saw a total of six passenger trains in only a few hours compared to two from December in the same timeframe. I am not sure if traffic was being diverted through here on a temporary basis or the increase is an effect of the recent timetable change. All trains apart from one were DF11 hauled, the other a DF4DK.
Freight traffic was an even split of phase 1 and phase 2 ND5 locomotives, many looking fairly battered, but sounding as magical as always using plenty of air horn approaching the level crossing and passing over the bridge.
The light was particularly strong here in the afternoon and, try as we did, many of the photo positions I had achieved good photos from the last visit, were proving to be much more challenging this time around. Steve fared better, balancing himself on the top of two upright sleepers by using some serious ventriloquist and balancing skills that even Cirque de Soleil would have been proud of. I am too fat and uncoordinated to have considered such madness, so chose more conventional photographic positions. On the ground, for example. We had also lost access (although we tried) along the northern most river bank, as it has been closed off due to damage from construction works that were underway since last year.
After the bridge and level crossing area, we headed south through a local market to get some photos of trains crossing the small bridge over Qinhong road. Here we experienced another dose of police (in)security. Within minutes of us arriving, a police car that had obviously been sent for us stopped in the middle of the road and we were quizzed by the constabulary about the purpose of our visit, where we were from, what we had for breakfast, etc. CCTV usage has exploded in recent months, as the country is introducing its new social rating system using facial recognition to scan people's movements. We would encounter more harassment over the next few days, but still nothing compared to when we would arrive in Xinjiang.
We stayed only for a couple of trains before the sun slipped behind the buildings and headed back to the hotel for dinner and an early night to make up for the previous night's lack of sleep. There would be a big day ahead tomorrow!
|19 October 2018|
Today we were to visit the narrow gauge lines to visit on the eastern outskirts on Nanjing. An in depth visit is quite challenging to achieve in a single day, however I was confident we could get a lot out of our visit with my previous experience in the area. We decided to visit the electrified 900mm gauge line as I had done in December, only this time head south instead of north from our starting point of Xianlinhu subway station at the end of the purple line. We also thought it best to employ the same tactic as we did in Baishan by starting out at the end of the line and walking back. The decision to focus more on the 900mm gauge line was also based on news received prior to our departure from Australia, that the 762mm gauge diesel line was still operating, but only at night thanks to council requirements.
After scrounging around looking for refreshments for the day, we eventually gave up and located a lone private taxi sitting underneath the narrow gauge bridge. We eventually negotiated a price of 75 yuan, which was interesting because our driver had no idea where he was actually going. I had quite clear maps and was happy to guide him, however he decided it would be best to consult with every single stranger we drove past as to where we should go. Eventually we made it to a place between the two mines of Cishan and Hushan and once we caught sight of the preserved JM80 diesel locomotive underneath the CRH tracks, we alighted ( located at 32°05'17.52"N 119°00'58.14"E ). The locomotive seems to have been placed here on the edge of a railway park for kids. There are a number of fairly recently constructed buildings and play equipment around the place, although I'm unsure if it has already been met with commercial failure as it looks like it has been abandoned for some time. It is very easy to climb aboard the locomotive as the cab is wide open. Naturally most of the fittings have been stripped out, although some broken gauges remain. The passenger car is completely bare inside. Both pieces of rolling stock have no identification markings or plates.
In the small village just north of here, we finally found a convenience store with cold drinks before heading east towards the 900mm gauge. We waited around at the small concrete bridge that crosses the Yihong river just prior to the level crossing, however after twenty minutes of nothing, decided to carry on towards the mine instead. While we were waiting, we did hear some train horns in the distance, which turned out to be coming from the 762mm gauge line instead, much to our surprise.
Once we reached the level crossing, we found a preserved ZL20 locomotive in poor condition as part of the entrance gate of Hushan mine. This can be found at coordinates 32°05'20.91"N 119°01'24.64"E , although it isn't shown on the latest Google Earth imagery just yet, indicating it has probably been moved fairly recently (last reported in the locomotive depot dump track in 2016). Unlike the other two yellow ZL20's used by the railway on push pull trains at the northern end of the line, this unit is painted green.
The locomotive depot can be found at coordinates 32°05'03.80"N 119°01'53.45"E and is within a fenced area that also includes the loading point at the far west and a small yard. A handful of locomotives were found in the depot including a third diesel I had missed on my previous visit and a pair of ZL40-9/750 centre cab electric locomotives receiving attention. A pair of dumped locomotives were found outside the front of the loader but we were not permitted to get close to establish their identities. From a distance, they looked like the articulated ZL20 set and a ZL40, both mostly just the empty shells with all the guts removed. The loader itself is a fairly small concrete and sheet tin structure. It is fed with small rocks from the crush plant via conveyor. The larger rocks are moved to the crush plant using trucks.
Two passenger cars were found, one of which is used for a workers train that runs twice daily. It operates as a single carriage train behind either a diesel of electric locomotive. Reports I've read in recent times have seen both types used and there doesn't seem to be a strictly rostered locomotive for the job. The other passenger car is well past its prime and has not seen service for a few years at least. Recently CCTV has been installed and while the crew were friendly, it was quite obvious that some were a bit nervous about our presence. A manager allowed us to stay to watch a train being loaded before offering to drive us to where ever we wanted to go. He certainly wasn't malicious about asking us to move on and I believe he understood the purpose of our visit as a number of railway enthusiasts have been through here in recent years. I simply suspect they are worried about competition from the neighbouring mine. We declined his offer so we could walk the line north instead.
During my last visit, diesel number 11, a GKD5C, was reported as dumped (2016), however she was very much alive this time and seen a number of times on the mainline. Number GKD5B 13 was on yard pilot duty, but shut down soon after we arrived. Diesel GKD5C 12 has suffered a bit of an accident on one side with the impact narrowly missing the Dalian builders plate, but has still managed to pry it half off the locomotive. Three locomotives are dumped in the depot, a pair of JMY380 (or similar, some of the rarer gauges are given slightly different classification) diesels and a ZL40 are dumped just prior to the loader. Unfortunately we were not allowed to check them for further information. In stark contrast to my previous visit, only two electric locomotives were found in line service. Unless the other ZL40's I had previously seen last year were stored at the northern end of the line (from Xianlinhu to Qixia, it is possible they have been retired or sold. There are rumours floating that this line will close from next year as developers move in and try to 'beautify' the area so perhaps, they are just liquidating some assets and found it was cheaper to bring the third diesel back online. Despite the other two diesels running in conjunction with the electrics, we would encounter them more than the latter while out on the mainline.
Something else that has changed since my previous visit, the trains are now substantially longer. All trains found were running with a very impressive twenty wagons. Most of the older locomotives, both electric and diesel, were being operated with the engine compartment panels wide open to improve cooling.
From the depot area, we headed north, enjoying a train movement every 20 minutes or so. Trains move quite fast on this line, however they can be heard approaching from a fair distance away due to their size. The drivers are pretty friendly guys and would wave as they passed by. Our hike lasted for about three kilometres, before we took our first break on the small bridge that crosses the 762mm gauge line at coordinates 32°06'04.29"N 119°00'28.45"E.
We had a pair of trains pass us at this point, one in each direction and one of each motive power type. As soon as the second train thundered past, I suggested to Steve that, as we've seen so many trains so far, maybe we should tackle the 762mm gauge line instead, even though we probably wouldn't find any working trains. Immediately a shrill horn blared out close by, far too soon to have come from the 900mm gauge line after the last train. We barely had time to set up as a JMY380 class diesel hydraulic emerged from the thick vegetation below us on the 762mm gauge line and slowly trundled towards Hushan mine with seven KF20 hoppers. Jackpot!
This sighting immediately made up our decision to follow the 762mm line back towards civilization and would prove to be an unimaginable Utopia. The clearing of vegetation on the line has not been a high priority and the passing of trains has formed a superb leafy tunnel for almost two kilometres in length. On a sunny day, there is still enough light to break through the trees to illuminate the front of the train for brief moments. This is one of two famous tree tunnels in the area, but not the most famous one. That honour belongs to a standard gauge branch line which can be found just to the west of Zhengfangzhonglu subway station on the airport line.
During our time walking back towards Baohua village where we would get a taxi or bus back to Xianlinhu, we experienced three south bound trains in succession heading to the mine with empties followed by the three loaded workings coming back. This all occurred within the space of maybe an hour and as such, many of my shots turned out the same, but I think the results were well worth it. Given the nature of the line, we found it impossible to get any side shots of the trains as they passed by. We did find some very nice alternative locations, however this was long after we emerged from the 'tunnel'.
After the last of the three trains had run past us, a number of wedding photographed descended onto the tracks setting up stepladders and props for that 'perfect shot'. I didn't have the heart to tell them that they had just missed all of the trains and they may as well go home. I suspect the wedding photography companies are well in tune to the railway schedule because the teams seemed a bit too coordinated to set up on a lucky guess that there would be no more trains. After finding a break between shoots of one of the couples, we continued north as far as Xianlin Avenue.
Once we arrived at the first major level crossing here, Steve made it very clear that there would be no more exploring or hiking, just a taxi or bus back to Xianlinhu for Pizza hut before the subway ride home. While I was keen to continue on for a few more kilometres to see Baohua village where the train runs through a huge intersection, I think he made the right call as there was most likely not going to be any more trains on this line until nightfall. From what we have surmised, there are at least two operating times, the first in the morning between 8 and 10am and the second between 2 and 4pm. It is quite feasible that there is also a third run during the hours of darkness, which would go along with previous visitor reports and local government requirements. From the succession of horns we heard during the morning whilst on the 900mm gauge, we also believe that all trains head from the processing plant to the mine in succession, before returning back. There are no passing loops on this line which would help to explain this operating method. We never got to Hushan itself, however there is a 600mm narrow gauge that works inside the mine.
|20 October 2018|
Today we headed off to Ma'anshan to visit the iron mine in the morning and the mainline & steelworks in the later part of the day. Rickly Wong had also arrived the previous night to accompany us for a couple of days. For extra convenience, we took a DiDi car (Chinese Uber) from the hotel to Nanjing South railway station rather than the subway. This saved about 15 minutes and with the spare time and after going through the very tightly secured station building, went upstairs to Starbucks while we waited for our train. The Starbucks booth had fourteen CCTV cameras covering every possible angle. Fourteen! Ironically, Steve was banned from taking photos! We took train G7073 from Nanjing South to Ma'anshan East railway station and were all let on to the platform after the train had arrived on the platform. We had enough to make it up to the front for a quick photo of the train, a CRH380D. Our unit had experienced a bird strike with a large blood stain on the nose and components of bird lodged into the vent just below the headlight. Despite the carnage, the train was on time and one of the passengers was clearly overjoyed by this.
Another Didi car was taken to the iron ore mine where we spent the next thirty minutes or so walking around the rolling stock workshops. Nothing has really changed in the past eight months and I won't dwell on the specific locomotives inside, you can read my previous trip report here for further information. ZG80-1500 #813 was inside and a ZG150-1500 was inside the shops getting a rebuild. We were quickly told not to photograph this particular locomotive.
We then walked up to the 47 station, which can be considered the main terminal area of the mine railway. Five ZG150-1500's were found in the locomotive depot, most in superb condition with seemingly fresh paint on most units. The main yard at 47 station had a further six locomotives shut down, four ZG150's and two ZG80's. Trains were actually working this time, although at a slightly reduced rate than usual being a Saturday. At the yard, the crew of #1516 granted us permission to climb inside their cab where we chatted with the crew. With Rick's ability to speak Mandarin, we could ask some rather specific questions rather than our usual childish gibberish. We learned that MaSteel is no longer hiring drivers and the mine railway is expected to close next year to be replaced by a conveyor belt system which is currently being planned with the help of a German company. This is a great shame to lose such an extensive network where a fleet of thirty locomotives will be lost, however, this is all about money at the end of the day.
We saw three trains on the quick walk up to the open cast pit via the railway tracks. On the way we stopped at the maintenance yard to find the line's only diesel shut down inside, together with the three diesel cranes. The gates leading into here were locked but we were able to fit the camera lens through the gate to confirm nothing was happening.
The open cast mine is rapidly filling with water. It is up about five levels since my previous visit and at the current rate should be completely full by the end of the year. This isn't from rain, but is being pumped in by a few points around the pit.
Anything of value has now been removed from the pit including the old rails. The track bed at the east end of the yard can still be seen zig-zagging down inside, but some of it is now covered over to the north with spoil now being dumped by rail from the top level. The iron mine's railway is fairly complex with an active railway line where ever you look. From the top of the pit, we could see three active lines, one heading to the new mines at the north, the spoil track and the far east and another line leading to the older spoil dumps at the south. We usually had a train in sight and when we didn't, we were treated with low flying aircraft just under the flight path leading into Nanjing Lukou airport.
We decided to head to the southernmost line from the pit towards the old spoil dumps are. There are a pair of railway bridges that cross over this line coming from 47 station and head to the spoil dumps. At the foot of the southernmost bridge is a level crossing where we met a nice old lady who has lived in the level crossing hut for the past six years - on call, 24 hours a day for every day of the year! She also discussed the imminent demise of the railway at length and had no idea what she would do after it closes. We were able to get a couple of photos from this spot, however being a Saturday, there were some extended waiting periods.
The crossing keeper was happy to tell us when a train was coming, however her sense of timing was a little off and we would sometimes wait for up to thirty minutes before it actually arrived! One shot we were very keen to achieve was from the top of one of the bridges looking over the level crossing and old concrete level crossing hut, but after waiting over twenty minutes for its return, decided it best to head back to Ma'anshan to enjoy some mainline and industrial diesels of the steelworks.
As we left, the railway all of a sudden got busy again! We found four trains from our point back to the workshops. One should take care walking the line around here as many of the wagons are overloaded with huge rocks, some perched fairly precariously over the edge. Rather than wait for a taxi or bus, we got another Didi car back to Ma'anshan and got dropped off at the level crossing just south of Ma'anshan railway station.
There have been a few changes to this place since my visit, mostly having a negative impact. The dirt road that runs parallel to the railway has a new high fence made out of concrete sleepers completely blocking the view of the mainline. The new pedestrian bridge that was under construction in December has now been completed and the old track-level pedestrian crossing removed. This does offer some new views of the mainline, however for photography, one must use a telephoto zoom lens to burn through the green wire mesh panels installed over the tracks. A DF7C was found shunting hoppers and blocking the level crossing for extended periods as usual. A second DF7C was seen in the northern end of the yard but didn't seem to do much during our time.
After watching a few trains from the bridge, we tried our luck on the steelworks tracks than run parallel to Ma'anshan for a short while, however we had very little luck here. In fact, we would only see a single GK1E #3241 with half a dozen C type wagons heading north in our entire time in the area. We decided to revert back to the bridge with little going on, which just so happened to be an exceptionally good decision.
We had ND5 0077 arrive from Nanjing into the yard with a long mixed freight train, joining 0191 that had just attached ot a train of C class gondolas. As soon as 0077 cleared the mainline, we heard another southbound ND5 that appeared into view a couple of minutes later. He passed through Ma'anshan at a great rate of knots. All three of us positioned our cameras and fired away on rapid shutter mode. Getting three ND5's in a single frame is quite difficult these days. Rick got off a few shots as well, before his fancy Sony camera decided it just couldn't be bothered anymore and shut down, literally one second before the approaching locomotive had a bit of a cough and let out a huge plume of black smoke accompanied by a gorgeous meter high flame out of the exhaust. Steve and I managed to score the million dollar shot. Rick was left feeling suicidal and we did our best to comfort him during his time of need by mentioning how good our shots were for the next couple of days. Apparently we're bastards.
A few other trains were seen passing through Ma'anshan, although Rick didn't seem to have an appetite for trains anymore, probably because he will never be able to get the flame shot again. Ever. A few DF11's were seen and a couple of ND5's also, all of which were the earlier phase 1 machines.
We all decided it would be best to change our train tickets from D5608 high speed train back from Ma'anshan East station to a more leisurely regular train from Ma'anshan. Rick kindly queued up for us to do this while we re-checked our flame grilled ND5 shots once again. He still wasn't interested in trains at this point. We got hard seat tickets on train K1192 and boarded shortly thereafter. As we departed Ma'anshan, Steve and Rick were able to finally see a pair of the massive 350 tonne Dalian built slag wagons on an adjacent track to the north of the yard as well as a couple of other steel trains, although Steve's camera was packed away and Rick's was... ... well let's not discuss Rick's camera. We arrived at Nanjing station after dark and found a number of DF11's, including #0372 on a train of very rare RZ25T BSP carriages, now all in dark green livery, although already peeling with traces of blue paint seen on the window edges. I wonder if China rail have a warranty for all this paint? It's only a few years old at best and already peeling off. Steve enjoyed his first time at the same BBQ restaurant in the 1912 district that Rick and I enjoyed last year. Outside the restaurant we found the live steam tracks that had recently been installed and reported by Raicho Yang a couple of months ago, although no trains were seen running. We made sure Rick's window was secured and removed all sharp objects from his room before turning down for the night.
|21 October 2018|
Today was our last day in Nanjing and being Sunday, decided the best thing to do would be to visit some mainline areas. We started in Guxiong, by taxing a DiDi car from the hotel and he dropped us off at a small warehouse adjacent to the station. No trains were in the passing loop and the yard was fairly empty asides from a box car being loaded up with a forklift. However we didn't have long to wait before K156 from Kunming sailed through.
Soon we were approached by a very grumpy man who told Rick he shouldn't have brought foreigners to this place. Rick sensed trouble and suggested we move away from here. As we did so, we noticed a policeman standing next to the track and Rick asked him if we could get some photos of trains here. The young policeman was quite nice, but said we should return after midday. We then noticed police lining the rail tracks every 100 yards or so. We surmised that this could only mean a special military, government or prisoner train would be coming through shortly.
We stayed well away from the tracks, finding a spot with a view of a small bridge just north of Guxiong station, with our cameras well out of sight. This special service seemed to hold up traffic on the rest of the line for some time, but gave us plenty of notice that it was on the way with the driver blasting her air horns almost constantly. The train was a double header ND5, both phase 2 machines and had a long train of hard seat passenger cars. There was a policeman standing in the ends of each carriage and all the windows were covered with curtains. No destination boards were seen on any of the carriages and we guess this service was most likely a prisoner run, as soldier trains I've seen are not usually this secretive or attract such a large police presence. After it passed, the police lining the railway eventually disappeared into minivans and it was pretty clear we were free to resume our harmless hobby.
We did wait for a few more trains around and with the police now gone, I could attach my larger telephoto lens for improved shots and Rick could install a new battery without looking like he was fiddling with himself. Just for a laugh, we asked Rick if he had seen the flames coming from the ND5's on the special train which was met with a look disdain and bemusement.
The first train to arrive was a very slow moving and long end leading ND5 ph2 locomotive (#0260) with a C type gondola and a pair of test cars which appeared from the branch line that joins the mainline just north of Guxiong. The test cars were a six-axle TKH25G (Tezhongkeche, or 'special carriage' and TKF25B (Tezhongfadianche, or 'special generator car') type. Back at Guxiong station, we could also see a GK1 #0100 locomotive. This had arrived from the south and we headed further up north, guessing incorrectly it would run to the mines just north of Guxiong, as it bore the same livery of the DF10DDB we had seen on the previous visit. It never arrived of course and disappeared back south.
Rather than waste any more time on the level crossing where we were, we went north towards Youfanqiao where the railway crosses the Qinhuai New River, via a DiDi car of course. Naturally, as soon as we got in the car, a ph1 ND5 shot through with a mixed freight. At Youfanqiao, there is a pedestrian bridge some 450 metres away from the rail line which gives a nice panoramic view of the trains. From the bridge we noted only a few trains and also far less barge traffic moving up and down the river. I quite like these huge vessels in my photos as they can really add to the photo when one slowly passes under the rail bridge.
Ph. 1 ND5 0105 came through first, heading south with a mixed freight. Again we had another long wait so decided we should have some lunch. Modern China no longer means leaving your favourite photography spot to perform such a menial task, instead Rick brought up the McDonald's delivery service on his phone and within 10 minutes, a scooter with a heat box on the back arrived with our piping hot food. It was fresher than what we get back in Australia, oddly enough, and the delivery charge was only 3 yuan. Even after having lunch on the bridge, there were still no trains and we decided to move on to our next location. We narrowly missed catching an ND5 in the process, another south bound train of box cars, led by ph. 2 ND5 #0232.
The final hours of the day were to be at Nanjing North, also known as Pukou. I had visited here last year, although it would be Rick and Steve's first time. On the way to Zhongshan ferry terminal, our car passed by the new tram system. This is one of two new tram lines in Nanjing and are quite interesting using new technology. The 'Hexi' trams are built by Bombardier and are equipped with fast charging lithium-ion batteries which are charged dynamically when accelerating and via the overhead power supply which is only fitted at the stations. Charge time is only 46 seconds.
We were just in time for our ferry and were amongst the last to board. Most seats on the upper deck were already full, as was the lower deck with about a hundred scooters and motorbikes. Nothing much has changed since my previous visit, however it was a lot busier this time, largely because it was a Sunday. Now throngs of young people visit to take photos, particularly in the area to the north of the station in the still active freight yards. No trains were seen to be working however, asides from some rail cars in the distance.
From here we went up to the old ferry bridge. This has seen a lot of work recently and looks like it is about to receive the same large makeover as the section on the east bank of the Yangtze. Already a park has appeared right out the front of the ferry bridge and piece of track, some 100 yards in length has been installed ready to receive some rolling stock. On the other side of the river there is already an SY steam locomotive 0985 and a couple of old passenger cars. We were able to see a few trains crossing the Yangtze river rail/road bridge which has almost completed its restoration back to its former glory.
Our time in Nanjing was at an end and we headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and then call on a Didi car to the airport for our respective flights. From here, Steve and I would be taking an evening flight to Xian airport to meet up with my father for Sandaoling and Rick would be heading back to Shenzhen to begin his work week the next day. Both our flights departed on time. At Xi'an we had initially booked into a hotel within terminal 2 where our flight would arrive and our morning flight to Hami would also originate from, however this was cancelled as the hotel is closed as construction works begin on the Xi'an airport subway line. This saw us staying in the appalling Traveller Star Leisure hotel in terminal 3. At least it was just a few minutes' walk away from T2, but I can state without hesitation there wasn't any leisure involved. We only had about four hours sleep here as we checked in at around midnight and had to be up just after 4am for our flight to Hami.
Continued in part four - Click here!
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