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"I was told that if I was interested in steam engines they could arrange for me to have a tour of the locomotive works. I was delighted with the idea, and within half an hour I was in a taxi and on my way out to the works about six miles away. On our arrival the taxi driver, who had been given instructions from the CITS man, introduced me to the manager in his office. From there I was taken on a tour of the works by two of his members of staff. As we walked round they seemed happy to wait while I stopped to take photos and make some quick sketches. After two interesting hours I returned to the hotel in the taxi which had been waiting for me. I was only sorry I had not been able to converse with my two guides. The taxi for the whole morning cost me £5.


That evening, as the CITS office had been able to get me a berth on the overnight train to Lanzhou, I decided to give the monastery a miss, having felt well rewarded by my visit to the loco works.


My ticket was only for a hard sleeper, but as is often the case, once you get settled in, second class accommodation is not half as bad as it looks and can be quite fun. I was lucky in that I was given a bottom bunk as most of the other passengers seemed to be smoking the most foul smelling cigarettes, and at times the carriage got like a gas chamber. Apart from the smoke, I enjoyed the 480 mile journey that was to take 34 hours. In each compartment a large thermos flask of hot water was provided for making tea.


Though none of the other people round me spoke any English, I was joined a number of times during the following day, by students and a lady teacher of English, who I found a most engaging conversationalist. A meal in the dining car every few hours also helped to pass away the time very pleasantly. At the brief stops at stations, vendors were always waiting on the platform with trolleys, ready to sell made up snacks, beer and jars of preserved fruits, that it was almost impossible to get the lids off." - MH    

Train repair yard at Baotou , 1988

  • All items are produced from original paintings by Martyn Hanks.

    Prints: Size is A4 (8.27" x 11.69"/210 x 297mm). Printed onto high quality 245gsm fine art watercolour paper to give the print an authentic look and feel. Supplied in a textured off white mount size 12" x 16" (305 x 406mm), backed and sealed in a clear cellophane wrap and delivered in a protective carton to ensure it reaches you in perfect condition.

    Cards: Size 7" X 5"/178 x 127mm. Packaged in a clear cellophane wrap with a top quality 150gsm self-seal white envelope.

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