Trains have re-started. However, at present they are running only as required to take equipment to the mines in preparation for them resuming production. The mines, and regular trains, are now expected to re-start from the end of June.
Guangyuan (Rongshan) - Landslip in cutting
News from Rongshan, courtesy of Wang ZeZhou:
"We've got the news of Rongshan:
Firstly it's sad to find that the locos haven't restarted. Previous plan of restarting on April 1st was delayed for severe collapse, which is caused by road construction of local.
They told me that the train will restart in a month, no early than the clean of the collapse. That's all what we get."
Pingzhuang: Pang Dawei visited on 22 March and I was there on 25th. The position was the same on both days - 2 SYs in steam but only one working and confined to short trip working at the north end of the line, from Gushan Yijing and beyond. On 22nd this was 1441, with 1025 in steam but idle at the Zhuangmei servicing point, on 25th the roles were reversed. All trip working from Pingzhuang Nan at least as far as Zhuangmei, is now in the hands of a DF4. On 25th this was a very careworn looking DF4 6087, with several rust patches on its sides. DF4 1525 was locked inside a shed at Zhuangmei. The gate to the depot was once again locked but so far as I could tell from peering over the wall, all the previously dumped locos there, last reported in November and which I saw on a December visit, have been removed. All the lines into the opencast mine have also been lifted although the main connection remains and, to judge from the rails, had seen movements over it recently. Traffic was the lowest I have ever seen it (and I intentionally visited on a weekday, not a weekend) - if this level is sustained, two diesels should be more than sufficient to handle requirements. Although steam is still officially set to last until May, beyond the end of this month this is unlikely to be anything more than one loco in steam on standby.
February 7 (2.7) rolling stock works, Beijing: Andrew Benton and I visited the rolling stock works on 22 March. JF2446 and SY0891 are still there and superficially at least in remarkably good condition for having being dumped for at least seven years. Photography was all but impossible as they were surrounded by brand new high capacity coal wagons, part of a large contract the works is currently fulfilling.
After reading Peter Crush's report on Kailuan Coal Mining Administration, Tangshan, I was reminded of my visit in October 2005. So I searched for and found the notes I took and then found the few slides I took for possible scanning and this report is the result.
I would appreciate further reports of this type. Get out your notebooks and slides! Many of the reports sent to QJ-Country were without pictures, those sent to Rob Dickinson and now on his china.internationalsteam.co.uk site have lost their pictures. Let's have a remnder of how it was when there so many more locations to visit.
John Raby comments:
An Indian participant was able to obtain a visa specifically for Urumqi - Hami - Urumqi even after the knife attack.
A British applicant probably got his just before the knife attack without any problems.
All other participants had no problems except a Dutchman who needed extra paperwork from Xinjiang to obtain his visa.
With Jun as guide and organiser, my participants use a detailed itinerary including planned hotels en route on official company letterhead (Chinese company based in Chengde) instead of every hotel reservation for the trip to obtain a visa. This worked fine except in the case of the Dutch applicant where it took a long time as they were insisting on hotel bookings for the application.
The itinerary paperwork was eventually accepted in lieu of every hotel reservation but with the extra Xinjiang paper with a red stamp required as well. Jun (and his colleague Alan) do not seem to have a problem providing this extra paper if requested.
David Thomas writes:
Two weeks ago the London Chinese Visa Application Service advised that a tourist visa would not be issued to cover Kashgar and area, saying that was because it is in Xinjiang Province. This was after the knife attack at Kunming station on March 1st. Potentially such a ban, which might only be temporary, would include Hami/Sandaoling. Perhaps others going there can advise of the situation?
In Baiyin at the moment with Jun. Passenger trains still steam however first passenger train into the valley has been banked both mornings, obviously engines not working as hard as normal. Yesterday train engine was engine first, today tender first. Weather overcast and clear at times. Engines SYs 1581 and 1470 in use, SY 1047 sitting in the shed, loco in steam with fire banked.
(Peter Haynes, Steam_in_China 11448)
Trevor Maxted is in China and has sent a quick update.
Pingzhuang 100% SY, no sign of any diesels with three loco's in service.
Fuxin still much as previous reports with around 7 SYs in action.
Tiefa (Diaobingshan), the news from here is that the Faku line passenger trains will finish soon, first date suggested will be 28/02 but this is dependant on the delivery of 5-6 large new buses that may not arrive in time. As the Daqing service has already finished, that will be the end of passenger trains on the Tiefa system.
One SY will still be steamed daily at Tiefa, usually 1770 or 1772, for shunting etc. to keep crew traction knowledge.
A report of his trip will follow.
I visited SanDaoLing during 4/2/2014-11/2/2014, XiBoLiZhan is running from Feb 7th. Some status and information are following:
The opencast only remains with 3 lines for stripping (1 electric shovel and 1 railway). The dump lines 801,2,3,4 can work, the line 5 is disabled for building the new line.
XiBoLiZhan provides 6 trains for stripping and dumping work.
This may be the last winter of XiBoLiZhan and most JS for stripping/dumping work, which may stop work about June 2014.
When building railway from NanZhan(南站)/DongBoLiZhan(东剥离站) to ShaDun(沙墩) is completed, there are about 5 JS working for coal transporting. According to the current information, the new railway from DongBoLiZhan to XiBoLiZhan is similar to the line which the workmens' commuting train uses, the railway from XiBoLiZhan to ShaDun will extend the dump line 5 to the west. XiBoLiZhan may be out of use by that time.
The old coal railway from MeiCang(煤仓) to XuanMeiChang(选煤厂) via 82station/KengKou (82站/坑口) is kept, there are about 4-5 JS used.
There are no changes of information about NanZhan so far.
Currently, there are 23 JS working at SanDaoling, but in the next winter (Nov 2014 ~ Feb 2015), there will be only about 10-12 JS, very sad!
My recent photos about SanDaoLing have been uploaded to my SanDaoLing flickr set.
SanDaoLing is the last place which have many running JS in China, I like it very much!
Bernd Seiler has cancelled his March trip to Rongshan because the coal mine will not re-open before May 1st.
(Ameling Algra, Steam_in_China 11446)
Just returned from Sandaoling, spoil trains at Xibolizhan ceased temporarily after December 28, 2013, not to restart until February 6th, 2014.
Ex-loco driver told me it was due to water supply problem. Tongqin che (commuter train) still running, albeit with few workers.
All told, 7 locos running on East end of Sandaoling coal mine, four trainsets hauling coal continuously. We exchanged notes with Japanese photographers when going down at 6:30 pm one evening, and they said that they saw 12 trains between 9 am and 6 pm.
There are also the four locos running at Nanzhan working to the deep mines.
(Ronald Olsen, Steam_in_China 11443)
Surprising steam news from Gansu:
Recently pictures appeared on the internet showing SY 1097 and SY 1321 in use (December 13-15, 2013) in Liancheng Yard (aluminium smelter) as well as on the lines around it. Also Yaojie station is still infrequently reached by the SYs.
The railway is called Tiehejinchang Railway on SY-Country from Florian Menius's report of March 2005 and Nanlingcheng (Liancheng) Railway on Duncan Cotterill's Railography listings.
Most recent steam news from there was from January 2010 with SY 0150 in use.
It was thought to be completely dieselised, but obviously is not.
(Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 11440)
The pictures can be found in the flickr gallery of Yifan Jiang (Pocahontas®), on page 2 of his Chinese Steam 2013 set.
The date of the steam festival has been changed to Jan 13th to 18th (2014.1.13~1.18). There is a contact telephone number: 02476826143.
Info from Tiefa (by call):
Now only the morning passenger train to Dongguantun runs with steam and only Wednesday and Saturday! No scheduled steam passengers the rest of the week. Even Wednesday and Saturday the passenger could be diesel, if the steam locomotive (only 1 is in steam now usually) is needed for other duties. But they are willing to use steam on the passenger obviously even on relativly short notice for a fee of 1200.- RMB per tour. At least that is what they said yesterday.
(Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 11397)
I wasn't aware of the new Wednesday, Saturday only schedule but I can confirm that my group paid Yuan 1200 for steam on Friday 6 December and we were aware that this was 'steam by arrangement'. I was also made aware prior to the visit that if the 1 steam loco was needed for a filming contract, it would not be available for the passenger train. Prior to our visit, it was confirmed that it was available.
We had the morning train tender first and the afternoon train chimney first (from Diaobingshan) and left the train in the afternoon close to Dongguantung to head back to Fuxin. The railway company man rode with us in our bus and communicated with the train crew for smoke/acceleration, etc.
Our group was no doubt that this was plastic steam but we had a good day and the two young lads in the group who wanted a steam footplate ride were able to achieve this (for a fee) on the morning run. Others in the group rode in the carriages.
(John Raby, Steam_in_China 11399)
Steam has ended. Reason is that the power plant has already stopped operating.
We got this info from two different independent sources, so assume it is correct, but did not check ourselves.
(Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 11396)
The Steam Lines pages for Fuxin Coal Railway and Pingzhuang Mining Railway have been updated to include information from reports up to December 2013.
I got some information about two 'steam festivals' in China that will be held this winter by the Jitong Railway (Jingpeng) and Tiefa.
Maybe someone will be interested in this news.
Jitong Railway (Jing peng)
The steam festival will be held on Dec 25, 26, 27, 28, 29th, 2013 (2013.12.25~12.29). During the steam festival, there will be at least 2 QJs in service.
Tiefa (Diao Bing Shan)
The steam festival will be held on Jan 6, 7, 8th, 2014 (2014.1.6~1.8). During the steam festival, there will be 2 SYs and 1 KD6 in service.
I knew Xinglongzhen was expected to close in spring 2014 so had planned to visit next month for what I anticipated would be its final season of operation. But a phone call to the line today to find out when the logging season would start brought the reply that it has already closed - there is no longer enough timber to justify keeping it in use and logs are now being brought out by truck.
A C2 remains available for charter trains only at RMB15,000/time.
SY 1524 was confirmed in steam at Tianjin Heavy Machinery last Monday (11 November), after its overhaul and re-tubing. No more details at present, including the status of SY 1007 but I plan to visit again early next month so will try to report more.
David Naylor reports 2 SY working in October, 1583 on Shenbutong passenger (photographed passing Sanyelian on return) and 1470 on ore train (photographed at unloading point).
(David Naylor, via Rob Dickinson)
On Nov 9-10, I visited the BeiTai and FuShun (Piao'ErTun 瓢儿屯), the following is a brief status:
BeiTai: SY 1075 and SY 1114 at work, SY 1514 standby with steam.Piao'ErTun: SY 1632 and SY 1634 at work, SY 1633 standby with steam, SY 1630 parked in the depot without steam, SY 1050 was under maintenance.
I will post some photos on my flickr Chinese Steam gallery later.
An interesting photo on his gallery shows smoke deflector fitted SY 1083 coupled to SY 1085 ready to leave Pingzhuang for Da'an Bei.
YuanBaoShan, HongMiao and PingZhuang
On October 25th 2013, I visited YuanBaoShan, PingZhuang and HongMiao, got some bad news for steam.
1)YuanBaoShan(元宝山): Four DF4 class diesel locomotives have arrived about 1 week ago. Most steam drivers have already learned how to drive DF4 now. Most steam locomotives are not in steam, only JS 8249 is working for the passenger train, they may be out of use soon. JS 8242 will be sent to Da'An Bei(大安北) by CNR on October 26th, JS 8418 will be kept in the depot, other JS will be replaced by DF4 soon and sent to Da'An Bei later.
2)HongMiao(红庙): Two DF4 class diesel locomotives have arrived. SY 1418 is out of use. SY 1565 is in steam and will be replaced by DF4 soon ( 1 - 3 months )
3)PingZhuang(平庄): Most steam drivers are learning how to drive diesel locomotives. SY 1084 is out of use. SY 1083 and SY 1085 will be sent to Da'An Bei(大安北) by CNR at October 26th. All other SY will be replaced by diesel locomotive soon ( hope after Dec 2013 ). Currently, SY 1441, SY 1017, SY 1425 and SY 1025 are working.
Michael Reilly reports the tourist office in Guangyuan called yesterday afternoon to say they have just received a letter from the mining company in Rongshan telling them that the mine and railway there are closed 'indefinitely'. They interpret this to mean until the end of the year at the earliest.
Roger Croston has received the following information from Pocahontas® (Yifan Jiang).
His pictures of SY 0434 were taken in Guiyang (Guizhou province). He travelled to Guiyang during this summer holiday. Near his hotel there was a Chemical factory. One night he heard sound which was like a steam locomotive. Next day he went to the factory to see one steam was working there. The driver told him their diesel was broken down so they were using steam for about ten days.
Pocahontas®'s flickr gallery
His set of 2013 pictures can be found here.
He was at Wujiu in March when SY 1134 was steamed for Jun's group.
He found JS 6545 and 6546 at work at Fula'erji Erdian (No. 2 Power Plant) in April.
Also in April he found JS 8411 and 8412 (assumed) not in use, but reasonable condition, at Changchun No.2 Power Plant.
In August he shows SY 0434 working, but tantalisingly does not reveal the location.
February 7th Rolling Stock Works
Michael Reilly passed by the former works in Beijing on September 21st (it is close to the Garden Expo Station on line 14 of the Beijing metro). Access to the works is not possible but from the road an unidentified loco can be made out on a siding behind some wagons. It is almost certainly an SY, so presumably either 0732 or 0891, both previously recorded by Duncan Cotterill as being located there.
SY 0375 and 1214 on film
Andy Fisher has sent a still from a Chinese film that has been watched by his Mongolian/Chinese wife Dandan.
The still shows two SY, one of which (0375) doesn't appear to have been reported previously, whilst the entry for 1214 in Duncan Cotterill's list might need to be questioned.
The film entitled "zui ai" ( The most loved ) was released as recently as 2011 and was presumably filmed around then. According to the film's notes, the steam shots were made in the Capital Steel Works in the north of Beijing. The notes say that normal steam operations finished here in 2008 but that the locos were steamed for the film (click on picture to enlarge).
Chinese guide Jun (Liu Xuejun) reports:
The Chemical Company's SY were retired in December 2012. 2 old DF5s are now working.
No.2 Power Plant has 2 JS working, 2 DF7 diesels have come (Previously, I only knew of one. D.F.). At the moment, one of the DF7 is working, the other is in the workshop.
David Gorton passes on information from Mike Ma who has just been on a business trip to Jalainur. Mike was told they just keep one steam loco standing by in steam for using in emergency at the Lingquan deep mine just in case the diesel was not working and wagons being properly loaded through the hopper there. It is not easy to see this happening there. Two pictures from Mike of stand by loco SY 1689 (click to enlarge).
The mystery is this, compare Mike's pictures with the picture in report china635 taken by Isao Kanda in March 2012. The loco then was SY 1618 and it was facing in the opposite direction to SY 1689.
A second Jalainur mystery is one of the SYs that worked at Heilongjiang Chemical Company, Fula'erji. It is numbered SY 1688, a well known Jalainur SY. On my visit in September 2011, I checked the Tangshan builders plates which were present on both sides of the smoke box. They read year 1976 and month probably 6. Month 8 is very unlikely as the Tangshan earthquake occured at the end of July 1976 and SY production was not resumed until December 1979. SY 1688 at Jalainur was recorded having plates with year 1990 and month 8, so unless there has been a boiler swap, SY 1688 at Fula'erji appears unconnected with the SY 1688 that was (maybe still is?) at Jalainur.
I called Mr. Wang [ a steam driver of the Mianzhu Jutong company]. He told me that SY 1198 had be sold & broken up before 20th/5/2013.
I asked Mr. Cai [ an officer of the Hanwang Phosphate Fertilizer Company]. He told me that both SY 0418 & 1194 would be stopped before 1st/10/2013 by their plan. He asked me to call him again at the middle of September.
("Zebedee" via John Raby)
One of my friend just visited Baiyin yesterday, he told me that now the passenger train was hauled by diesel and only two SY were in steam ( 1581 and 1047 ) and only SY 1581 did some shunting work, the SY 1047 was at the depot and didn't move and work.
Just got an information from Chinese guide Jun (Liu Xuejun) that they held a meeting in Sandaoling. New decision is:
Steam at the west end of the pit will be finished in 2015. Not sure yet whether beginning or end of 2015.
Eastern side will remain steam with two to three locomotives.
The planned line to the new mine will be built. It will take about two years to construct the new line. Initially it will be served by seven JS, later by diesel.
(Bernd Seiler, FarRail Tours Blog, April 16th)
John Raby has asked Chinese guide Jun (Liu Xuejun) to contact management about the reported end of steam working in August 2013.
Jun's information is that steam will continue this year, although he adds "we just have to look what happens".
The loco being repaired (ex-Pengzhou ZM16-4 72) is No.16 now. It has a new boiler made by Zigong Din'sheng machinery. It is more powerful than the others there.
Starting on 10/4/2013, there are four trains/per day from Mon to Fri, three normal (07:00, 13:00 and 17:00) are 5RMB/single and one at 10:30 is 50RMB/single.
There are at least 6 trains during Sat & Sun and on Chinese national holidays.
("Zebedee" via John Raby)
By two weeks after QJ 7129 stopped working, the cement factory stated the QJ was already sold for scrap, dismantled and removed.
Information snippet: Diaobingshan ceased the passengers to Daqing, the last which were steam operated. But now the Dongguangtun line (Faku line) passenger is run with steam on a daily basis. Not too bad.
(David Longman, Steam_in_China 11174)
Chinese enthusiast Felix Sun reports information from railfan friends:
QJ 7129 at Sishui stopped working on March 27th 2013.
The power station will be closed in the middle of 2013, and we don't know whether the JSs will stop working.
The manager in Baiyin told him that the SYs will all stop in August 2013.
After his successful tour to Rongshan reported below, Bernd Seiler is proposing an Autumn 2013 Narrow Gauge Tour to Huanan, Suileng and Xinglongzhen with an optional visit to Rongshan.
At Huanan although the track has been lifted between Lixin and the mine at Honguang, the rest of the track is still in place and operable.
North of Harbin, two forestry lines have survived, diesel worked. However both could finally close in spring 2014.
Suileng retain a C2 in poor condition (some metal parts replaced by wood) meaning it must be diesel hauled between runpast locations.
Xinglongzhen recently repaired their C2 and can now offer a C2 steam locomotive for charter trains.
Further information in the extract from Bernd's Tour Calendar (link above).
All links from the SY-Country News, Trips and Steam Lines pages (except any missed) have been changed to the replacement location in 'china.internationalsteam.co.uk'.
In mid-March his domain name 'chinasteam.co.uk' comes up for renewal and he'll let it go. He'll be moving the residual material to domain 'china.internationalsteam.co.uk'.
He is offering the domain name 'chinasteam.co.uk' should anyone want to take it on – just the name, the content will move. He is not looking for money, it's free to a good home! Obviously, this offer is time limited with the renewal date of 15th March 2013, after which it will automatically be released and available for anyone to pick up.
Chinese enthusiast Dawei Pang has a flickr gallery with a Chinese Steam set. In December 2012 he visited Tianjin Heavy Machinery Works and shows SY 1007 in steam and SY 1524 stored in the depot.
He has also uploaded videos to YouTube (channel dawei2012). His most recent upload is of Fuxin's passenger train when still running in March 2012.
About two weeks ago, the three remaining SYs stopped working.
John Raby comments as follows on Derek Jenkins item on Mojiang (December 1st 2012).
The big bridge is closed due to overloaded trucks breaking one of the suspension wires and a need for a major repair.
There is a bailey bridge across the river (in two sections) back towards Leshan but still in the town of Shawan. Big buses cannot cross but minibuses can. It comes out just below the Mojiang station area and given the severity of the problem, may have become even more established since he was there in March this year. One section at least was single file so traffic jams can occur.
In the News dated December 1st 2012, Hami Xi should read Hami Nan.
The bridge over the river at Shawan is closed for rebuilding. So no access from that side. If there is a ferry in the interim I did not find it.
Confirming Hans Schaefer's information of a changed timetable:
Departures ex Shibanxi are now 06:45, 12:45 and 16:45.
There is a tourist train at 10:30 from Yuejin. I can't say whether it starts at Shixi. It runs, weekends, holidays AND as required. It ran Wed - Fri, 24th -26th October. It didn't stop at Caiziba and returned empty immediately with the tourists coming back on the return of the 12:45.
At weekends the 12:45 is also designated as a tourist train.
As busy as ever.
Hami station closed between the time I arrived and departed. Trains now use Hami Xi (correction from Derek, should read Hami Nan, also there is a Hami Dong under construction) which is on the new freight avoiding line. This station is in the middle of nowhere, is still being built and is falling down as quickly as it is being thrown up. Hami Xi station refuses to sell tickets except for trains departing on the day of application. It is possible , in theory, now to buy a ticket from anywhere to anywhere at most stations generally 10 days in advance so there shouldn't be a problem to get one somewhere else (e.g I bought my Chifeng - Beijing Bei ticket at Beijing Main Station) but also if future visitors can get someone to buy tickets on the net (now possible with a Chinese credit card) this is also a way out of the problem.
All electric trains have ceased. Lines to the big hole rusty and signals out.
5 SY in steam (1017, 1083, 1084, 1085, 1764) , 3 of which are busy enough and one was working maintenance trains.
Steam use at Beitai steelworks is being rapidly run down.
They have already reduced the use of steam by ca. 50% and a further reduction is planned very soon. The steam locos served the old blast furnaces, which are to be replaced, and the rolling plant. At the rolling plant locos worked usually tender first, not really photogenic. The old blast furnaces are going to shut down (at least this is their plan) and they think by the Chinese New Year (mid February 2013) they will have replaced all steam locomotives. Towards the end of October, they had only seven locos in steam. Two withdrawn locos will be cannibalised to keep the others running.
Later reported that only 5 SYs in steam, two stand-by in the depot and three shunting around the rolling plant and the new blast furnace. Obviously the steelworks shut down the old blast furnaces already and bought four new diesels. The locos in use were:
SY 0946, 1077 and 1567.
The number of seven locos in steam reported earlier might be outdated, the report was from a Chinese source, but not a steam loco enthusiast. The guess is he meant the number of serviceable locomotives, not the locos in steam.
It's over soon!
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 10947, 10955)
Pocahontas®'s flickr gallery
Amongst recent additions, on page 3 of his Chinese Steam 2012 set are:
Three pictures taken on 15th September 2012 of SY 1007 in steam at Tianjin Heavy Machinery Works. A second SY, 1524, was pictured working here in 2011 Is this working steam the nearest to Beijing?
A picture taken on 2nd October 2012 of SY 0919 and another SY (1296?) at Luzhai Chemical Factory (Guangxi province), not in steam.
Also, in the caption of a 2009 picture of SY 0866, he reports Guanlin Steelworks closed in January 2012.
Michael Reilly and John Athersuch visited on October 20th
The cement works at Sishui has recently changed ownership from a Korean company to a Chinese one (Chinese Union Cement Group). Possibly for this reason, security is tighter. Not only is prior permission to visit now required, but visitors are escorted on site and required to wear hard hats.On the plus side, this seems to be primarily related to safety concerns within the cement works, once on the railway site, visitors are able to move freely provided they behave responsibly. QJ 7129 continues to be steamed daily but appears to see less and less action. However, a further advantage of getting advance permission to visit is that the security office appears to know the loco's likely activity up to 48 hours in advance. Thus an advance phone call brought the information that it would be working on the morning of 20 October, and visitors were rewarded with a full morning's shunting activity, up until the lunch break. Movements to the exchange sidings appear to be in the exclusive hands of DF5BG 0030, presumably unless the latter is out of action for any reason.
5 of the 8 electrics from Pingzhuang are in use, numbered 6397, 6398, 6399, 6400 and 6401, but frequently require attention.
The "2 from CNR" are in fact standard industrial electrics, Shaogang 402 and 403. 402 is lettered XEMC (i.e. Xiangtan Electric Manufacturing Ltd.), with an articulated body on 3 4 wheel bogies, blue livered embellished with red and white stripes. 402's builders plate shows it to be type ZG150-1500, works number C150224, date 12/2010.
Rob Pritchard, compiler of the Industrial Railway Society book on the Industrial Locomotives of China, pleads with future visitors to Chengzihe to identify the old numbers of the renumbered EL2 electrics, either from the works plates or looking underneath the new paint. It's now or never because visits will practically cease with the imminent end of steam.
Rob also asks future visitors to Fuxin to look for the number stamped on the motion (e.g. the radius rod or the valve gear lifting rod) of the preserved pseudo-SY 1395. In his recent report, Bill Alborough stated the worksplate carried (11/1974) was correct for SY 0939 but in fact SY 0939's worksplate would have been 1/1975. Can a number on the motion confirm the identity of the preserved SY as 0939 with a worksplate from either SY 0911 or 0912 which were built in 11/1974?
Dahai of Jixi reports the current situation at Chengzihe.
Surprisingly SYs 1340, 1369 and 1544 remain at work, but they are expected to finish very soon.
There are 10 electrics, the 8 purchased from Pingzhuang and "2 from CNR".
There are also 2 diesels, DF4 7333 and GKD1A 0232.
Ian Hopkins will be going to China this Autumn in a small party with Mike Ma as guide. Here is a summary of the main points from his correspondence with Mike about various locations.
"Tanago"'s web site reports the end of steam overhauls here. However fitters are available to carry out repairs at customers' own premises.
More to follow in a full report.
The Fertiliser Factory here was reported to have 2 SYs, SY 0919 and SY 1296, in use in 2002.
The following link to a video
shows a lot of railfans taking pictures of SY 0919 in June this year.
The reply to a request about further locomotives showed pictures of SY 1296 under maintenance, so both SYs remain in use in 2012.
Shibanxi - the end of steam coal trains? - Updates
More bad news of Shibanxi from "Zebedee" via John Raby:
The Vice manager of Jiayang Coal Mine told me that:
The coal mine at Huangcunjing would finish as soon as possible. It would be finished before August this year, caused by Jiayang Coal Company.
This was followed by:
They want to stop the Huangcunjing coal mine as soon as possible because the most important thing for them to do is that the tourism development there now.
It takes too much time and work by the locomotives to carry coal from Huangcunjing, no good profit. They would like more train trips on the line for the tourists.
The finish time of Huangcunjing coal mine is planned for early August.
(Steam_in_China 10815, 10817)
Dahai of Jixi reports that electrification of Chengzihe will be finished in the end of July. Work is almost complete, just a little to do at Xinghua.
David Thomas reports SY 1134 working Metian - Wujiu 10th and 11th June. He stayed in Yakeshi at Agency Chain Hotel 9, diagonally left across square when leaving Yakeshi station.
SYs in use in Guangxi, December 2011 and March 2012
The Message Board of the Japanese Steam in China website has an entry dated 10th April 2012 which shows three photos of SYs operating in southern China.
The pictures show Yemao Nylon Plant's SY 1702 (1, taken on 2nd March) and SY 0980 of Guanglin Fertiliser factory (2 and 3, taken on 3rd March). SY 0980 brought wagons from the factory to Chayan CR station at 9:45 and returned light engine at 10:30.
An entry dated 1st January 2012 refers to a visit from 16th - 19th December 2011 and shows 2 pictures of SYs, Yemao's other SY, 0917 taken on 18th December and Guanglin's other SY, 0371 taken on 19th December. A Guanglin SY works to and from the CR station at Chayan twice a day, about 08:00-09:00 bringing wagons to Chayan and about 14:00-15:00 collecting wagons.
Thanks to Louis Cerny for finding the more recent entry and Peter Semmelroch for SY identification. Thanks to Shibata Taro for translation of the Japanese text in the two entries.
(Steam_in_China, 10797 and 10801)
Shibanxi - the end of steam coal trains?
Some new info. of Shibanxi from "Zebedee" via John Raby:
1. The No.9 locomotive is now painted in dark green colour.
2. Jiayang Coal Company plans to buy a used SY No. 0516 from Emei Iron Alloy Factory soon and put it at Mifeng or Bagou station to show it for the tourists.
3. Jiayang Company plans to stop the steam trains which carry coal from Huangcunjin mine to Shibanxi (when is not sure yet but before the end of this year, 2012).
So the Coal Mine company of Huangcunjin has to buy a new diesel locomotive but only to transport the coal from the coal mine to the No.2 tunnel, from where further transport to outside will be by road lorries.
As John remarks, it is the final point that has major implications for the line.
Dahai of Jixi reports there are still 4 SYs at Chengzihe, 0951, 1340, 1369 and 1437. Usually there are 3 working at Beichang, Dongchang, Zhengyang and Xinghua and 1 resting. There are at least 4 electrics in use, 6398, 6399, 6400 and 6401.
Originally David mentioned the sighting of a SY "12 minutes before arriving at Dazhou". In fact the SY was noted 12 minutes before reaching Wanyuan station, so was probably near or at Qinghua, 7km before Wanyuan. The description of its location was correct. So it was probably one of the two SYs that have been noted at Qinghua. The report has been corrected.
It is confirmed the two QJs have finished working here. They were replaced by two second hand ex-CR diesels. The last use of steam was in 2010, but the locos didn't leave the property until 2011 (apparently traded in on the replacement diesels).
(Quoting Mike Ma, Steam_in_China 10403, 10338)
A News item of September 12th 2010 referred to a Panoramio Gallery on Google Earth containing many, mostly recent, steam pictures from a Chinese photographer with the nickname "pocahontas". The direct link to the Gallery is http://www.panoramio.com/user/522181.
"Pocahontas" has also created a flickr gallery, http://www.flickr.com/photos/67113136@N02.
Usefully he organises his pictures by sets, and his most recent steam locomotive pictures can be found in his Chinese Steam 2012 set.
He comes from Xi'an and his "local" SY 1141 at Yuxia was in steam and looking very smart in January - February. Because Huxian No.2 power station's diesel was broken down, the SY was working between north of Yuxia CR station and the power station. It was also pictured in steam on March 16th. By April 4th he described it as "The last using steam engine in Shaanxi province. It has very little work every day and most of the time was at Yuxia in the depot" (which appears to be pit, water crane and coaling facility but no building). However on April 6th he found it in Yuxia CR station waiting for empty coal wagons.
At the end of February he was at Changzhi and found JS 8121 working.
Also at the end of February, he found a repainted, unidentified, deflector fitted JS inside the CR depot at Cishan, Hebei province, junction of Quail Atlas line 20G with line 20F. Outside were a delapidated QJ 3225 with smokebox decoration and equally delapidated QJ 6288.
At the start of April he photographed JS 8275 inside the depot at Yima, describing it as the last serviceable loco there. SY 1419 is preserved.
Mike Ma reports on April 3rd. The previous reference to electric 6340 was a mistake. It should be 6400.
Locos working on the lines at Chengzihe the last two days have been SY 1437, 1340, electric 6398, 6399, 6400, diesel 7333, 7142, 7119. We were told by the steam driver at Dongchang that SY 1369 is being overhauled at the repair workshop.
It is clear the electrics are being renumbered as they enter service. Photographic evidence of the DDR worksplate on 6399 suggests it is the former Pingzhuang 7336.
Michael Bleckmann lists locos seen on "Tanago"'s March 23rd to 30th tour:
Yuanbaoshan: JS 8249
Pingzhuang: SY 1017, 1025, 1083 with large deflectors, 1425, 1764
Fuxin: SY 0770, 0941, 0988, 1210, 1319, 1320, 1378, 1396, 1818
Beitai: SY 0448, 0946, 1075, 1077, 1191, 1560, 1561, 1648, 1684
At the shed (all cold on the day of our visit): SY 0864, 1054 (no chimney), 1577, 2019
On Friday (23/03/2012) I was in Fula'erji, hoping to have a last chance to photograph the shiny JS steam locomotives at the No. 2 Power Plant.
Not long after I arrived there I saw brand new DF7G 5240 appearing, the crew obviously as pleased as punch with their new toy.
I don't know whether they only received this diesel or also another one, though... Theoretically it could still be possible to see a JS in action there if they only bought one diesel. (Several visitors have noted two locomotives working simultaneously.)
(Joeri Vanvaerenbergh, Steam_in_China 10413)
Stephen Wolstenholme has uploaded the following video to YouTube:
Gongwusu JS almost finished because the coal mine company rent one DF4 diesel from National Railway.
SY will finish in June.
(Xuejun Liu via Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 10374, link to FarRail Tours Blog)
Mike Ma was at Jixi, 25th and 26th February. Chengzihe officially announced on 25th of February that they use electrics (6399, 6400) on the line for test running. From Mike's picture, one of the test workings is with the hopper wagons between Dongchang Mine and Beichang Washery.
Note: neither 6399 nor 6400 were among the eight electrics listed as acquired from Pingzhuang!
There are only six steam locos left there these days since two locos were just bought by someone from Shanxi. They had to be transported away by road. Four locos (1544, 1437, 1340, 1369) are working on the line and the other two locos are still kept in steam on stand-by. There are also three diesels (GKD1A 0232, DF4s 7333 and 7119) working on the line.
The electric poles have been erected all through the line in Chengzihe except for the tipping line at Xinghua. The section of line from Zhengyang to Xinghua has not been wired yet.
Andrew Benton reports from Chengzihe on February 19th. Beichang is all electrified, as is the route to the China Railways line, and there are gangs putting finishing touches to the system. A crossing keeper I spoke to said electric traction will start 25 Feb. No idea how accurate that is (seems a bit soon if you ask me), but the system looks on the cusp of readiness - except to Zhengyang, where the power wires have yet to be attached. The keeper did say they'd probably keep a few steam locos though. 5 SYs plus 3 diesels working the system at the moment.
Stephen Wolstenholme has uploaded two more videos to YouTube:
There are still 6 SYs working at Chengzihe, 1340, 1344, 1369, 1437, 1544, 1545.
There are 3 diesels at the moment, DF4s 7119, 7333 and GKD1A 0233.
Electrification is not yet finished at Beichang, Dongchang, Zhengyang and Xinghua.
Duncan Cotterill has updated his Railography Chinese Loco Lists with data from reports posted up to 21 December 2011.
Lots of historic data from the 1980s has also been added.
Of note during 2011 was the withdrawal of all but one of the remaining QJs, leaving only QJ 7129 at Sishui Cement Works in use until the surprising resurrection of long dead QJ 6652 for use as stationary boiler at Xi'an Bei CRH depot.
There were a surprising number of new locations reported, although none come close to replacing some of the great operations lost over the past few years..
Duncan thanks all those who supplied reports, sightings, information, links to photo sites or Chinese forums etc. Without their help, the list wouldn't have reached over 43000 entries covering 7200 locos at more than 600 locations.
In turn I would like to thank Duncan for the effort he has put into creating and maintaining his invaluable reference list of information from so many varied sources. (D.F.)
Stephen Wolstenholme has uploaded a further video to YouTube:
Baiyin has got two additional diesels before planned. On good days you'll still see three SYs in service, but an average day produces only the Shenbutong passenger service while a bad day sees no steam at all ...
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 9993)
Stephen Wolstenholme has uploaded the following videos to YouTube:
Probable "new" steam lines/locations
Wujiu coal mine has three SY: 1225, 1134 and 1546.
The coal mine line has potential, although no mountains. But it's in the far north where you can find a real winter. It's north-east of Yakeshi (Inner Mongolia) near Meitianzhen. Go to 49°30'10" N, 121°28'48" E and you’ll see a coal mine which I think is Wujiu.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 9921, link to FarRail Tours Blog)
Looking on Google Map, the branch to China Railway is about 12 km long. Looking on Wikimapia, there is a short 1 km branch to the north from 1.5 km before the coordinates given by Bernd also the main branch extends over 1 km further east, so there are probably other smaller mines served by the the railway.
Jiutai coal mine About 60 km north-east of Changchun is a coal mine in Jiutai, called Jiutai Jingchengzi. They have 2 SY (SY 1407 and SY 0515) which are working on a short line to the state railway station. I haven't heard about this steam location before and I do not know if it has some potential or not.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 9914, 9920)
At the end of August, John Raby received the latest news on the line from Mike Ma:
"Here is the bad news from Xingyang. I have made phone calls to Xingyang Brickworks staff today and got the news that the end of use of steam and the NG railway might be forever, as the Brickworks, a state-owned enterprise, have been sold to a Shanghai Housing and Land Investment Development Company. The working sites used for the Brickworks and NG railway will be replaced by housing and flat construction. They have put the two locos into the workshop and locked it. The workers there have already been sent home and had long holidays. They will get some compensation for their jobs lost from the State fixed properties exchanging from the local government."
(Mike Ma via John Raby, Steam_in_China 9770)
Following the remarks by Andy Fisher in his June report, Michael Bleckmann's Chinese contact has informed him that two diesel locomotives have arrived already, a second batch of two will eliminate the remaining steam locomotives shortly. This will be the end of smoke deflector fitted JS and steam hauled mixed trains. Yuanbaoshan now would seem to be over provided with diesel power but Michael's contact states the Pingzhuang system (under the same ownership) has currently no intention to replace its SY class steam locomotives by diesel and will continue to use steam (and of course electric) traction on its network.
Michael Bleckmann's Chinese contact also reports that steam traction on the Shankou-Yamansu line will cease latest in January 2012. Steam locomotive crews are making quick progress in their training on diesel locomotives and it is expected to end the use of steam locomotives latest by Chinese New Year (23. January 2012) on that line.
Greg Howell reports that a Chinese colleague attempted to phone the Xingyang Brickworks narrow gauge railway on July 12th on many occasions but got no reply. He rang again the next day and and Greg received the following feedback:
"the steam train has been stopped running for a while and he does not know when it will run".
It is not known if this is one of the frequent breaks of service or the permanent end of operations.
Trevor Heath has found a most interesting set of pictures on flickr from Leroy W. Demery, Jr. There are 120 pictures in the set from cities including Hengyang, Baoji, Xi'an, Qingdao, Wuhu, Lanzhou and Chongqing also a visit to Datong Locomotive Factory.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwdemery/sets/72157613457014397/. Leroy's "primary" transport interest was urban transport, but he did not hesitate to photograph steam locomotives wherever he saw them. So there is also a set of pictures of trolley buses and a set of pictures of trams. The sets are extracted from two more general collections of pictures "China - 1980" and "China - 1983".
(Trevor Heath, Steam_in_China 9708)
After the collapse of support for "fotopic" galleries, the original home of Brian's gallery, he has taken out a subscription with Smugmug. To date he has put in a lot of effort and uploaded around 2,500 images from 1994 through to 2007.
The new look "Steam and the Dragon" is at http://brianhawkins.smugmug.com/.
(Brian Hawkins, Steam_in_China 9707)
Mike Ma has been told by an official from Jixi repair workshop that there still may be 3-4 steam working at Chengzihe and 3 at Didao. No further new diesels are expected and the Chengzihe electrification is incomplete. China Railway no longer allows steam locomotives on their tracks to run to the workshops for maintenance. They would even like to sell some of the steam locomotives.
Fula'erji, Qiqihar, Heilongjiang
There is steam here at a Power Plant and a Chemical Works.
The Power Plant has JS 6545 and 8123 (both working).
The Chemical Works has SY 0118, 0897 (working), 1040 and 1688 (ex Jalainur, working).
Recent pictures at http://bbs.railcn.net/viewthread.php?tid=681875.
(Gaolaijun, Steam_in_China 9695)
Xingyang- the end II
Peter Semmelroch reports that Xingyang restarted to run around May 15.
Unfortunately the line's future is not certain. The whole brickworks has been sold to a real estate company for development and everybody expects a final closure (of the whole works) within the next 4-6 weeks. So better go there now.
It will certainly not last much longer. The staff has been told that contracts will terminate end of June, the overhaul of C2 207 has of course stopped...
But as always nothing is certain.
(Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 9593)
David Thomas reported that on 15th April, he observed SY 0950 at Didao being fettled up for return to service.
Now purely by chance, due to a day's delay in Huanan commencing to clear the coal stocks remaining at Hongguang, Bernd Seiler was at Jixi Chengzihe on 29th April and found all the diesels there have disappeared and steam was, once again, king. No more poles have been erected, so there were still many photogenic places. His group even saw a steam headed and banked train, something very rare these days.
As there continue to be rumours of its demise (notwithstanding recent reports on SY-Country to the contrary!), Michael Reilly visited Xingyang on 15th May.
The line was very much working and the staff seemed confident about the future - no-one talked of closure, imminent or otherwise. With 207 being overhauled in the shed, it would suggest that the line is indeed likely to stay in operation for a while yet.
Reasons for the erratic and unpredictable nature of operations are essentially twofold.
First, clay cannot be dug in the wet - it sticks like glue so becomes impossible to load and tip out of the wagons. So there are no operations in the rainy season, or during any unseasonal rain, or for however long it takes after rain for the clay to be workable again.
The second factor is stocks at the brickworks, of both bricks and clay. On the day of the visit, clay stockpiles were almost non-existent, suggesting the line will be operating regularly until the rains come (due late next month, and will normally last until August). Demand for bricks is generally high in the autumn, when people repair houses after the rains, and spring when they might be building anew. So basically April-May and September-October are generally the best times for seeing the line working - but an unseasonal rainfall could easily change matters!
In terms of operations etc, everything was much as in the other recent reports from February and March.
A message from Rick:
With the demise of fotopic and the sheer number of pics from three closely spaced trips (not all to China !!!) it has taken a while for me to upload some of the pics from the trip that Ian Hopkins, Steve Szwejkowski and I did with Mike Ma in late February and early March.
The links are
Other Steam (Shenyang & Shanghai Museums, Beipiao and Hongmiao) https://picasaweb.google.com/106311384271513562260/MiscellaneousChinaSteamFebruaryMarch2011?authkey=Gv1sRgCO-kmOrIw-3UHQ
and if you are interested - Diesels and Electrics https://picasaweb.google.com/106311384271513562260/ChinaDieselsElectricsFebruaryMarch2011?authkey=Gv1sRgCL29q6_i5bnOEg
Sadly with the demise of fotopic my earlier photos have disappeared. There is talk on the web that fotopic might revive and the photos be recovered but I guess we'll just have to wait and see - otherwise when I have the time I'll re-create the previous albums.
Bernd Seiler reports on his Farrail Tours Blog that the Huanan narrow gauge line closed on Monday, 4th April, and coal is now transported by trucks. The line seems to have had a hard winter, being blocked by heavy snow falls for days if not weeks on end, and with the mechanical condition of the locomotives becoming increasingly poor; a very sad loss indeed.
There is a scarcely believable suggestion for a future tourist operation from Huanan to a proposed "ski resort" at Lixin. Remember a similar idea was suggested for Yabuli when the forestry line there closed and Yabuli is an established resort which was the site of the 1996 Asian Winter Games.
Rob Pritchard, compiler of the Industrial Railway Society's book, Industrial Locomotives of the People's Republic of China, is seeking identification of the new diesels at Nanpiao. As he explains, even total steam fans must appreciate that if we know the identities of new diesels then we can tell how many there are and better judge their impact. SY-Country is one of Rob's main sources of information, so please consider recording the identities of diesels for inclusion in your reports. (An example of diesel identities unknown to SY-Country is Huludao which according to Isao Kanda's recent report is now steam free. I only have the identity of one diesel there. D.F.)
Peter Semmelroch is just back from 2 days in Beitai steelworks. Official visits are now possible, at least when you have the right contacts. Security is tight, so illegal entry is discouraged.
They have 3 groups of blast furnaces, group 1 has 4 blast furnaces and is only served by steam (5-6 locos), group 2 approx. 1 km to the south has 3 blast furnaces and is also steam served (3 locos), but slag is transported without rail here, only raw iron is transported by rail. The steel works (converters) are also situated here. Group 3 is across the river (2 (or 3) blast furnaces) and entirely served by diesels.
9 SY are in use, 10 are servicable in steam: SY 0448, 0864, 0946, 1077, 1191, 1560, 1561, 1648, 1684, 2019. SY 0825 is used as stationary boiler in the depot outside the works. No spare steam locos are present (SY 1114 is in Tiefa, overhaul completed). SY 1054, 1075, 1131, 1514 are dumped outside the depot.
No other SYs seen, but they have also lots of diesels and recently received two brand-new GK1DA (or so), so also here steam will probably be phased out slowly.
Peter lists the Shenyang Museum locos, stating the Museum will be opened (or re-opened) on April 10.
He also adds that approximately 500 m further on from plinthed GJ 1018, the well-known workshops for industrial locomotives is situated. They overhaul now mainly diesels, a DF5 was being painted, a DF4B was freshly overhauled and a DFH5 was test running its machine.
A JS (building plates 1987) had recently been cut up. But also steam is still overhauled: SY 1574 was receiving a full overhaul (This SY is one of four from Sinosteel Jilin Ferroalloy Plant, a single report of in service January 2008 in Duncan Cotterill's List. D.F.) The works now also operates on Sunday, all buildings and maybe even the location is new.
Still worth a visit.
(Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 9494, 9493)
Li Yi reports the bad news that QJ 7189 and 7190 in Zoucheng were formally retired today! Because he is not in Zoucheng at the moment, he asked several friends, they all told him this is true.
He gives us two video links for QJ 7189 and 7190, these were shot by himself in this winter holiday. (His parents are both Yankuang Group's staff, so he had many chances to take photos.), Video of QJ 7189 and Video of QJ 7190.
Jixi: Chengzihe Diesels
I'm not sure whether it's been reported before, but there are now diesels working on the Chengzihe system at Jixi. Yesterday I saw a DF4 diesel with a rake of empty coal trucks between Dongchang and Zhengyang. Today the same engine brought a rake of 55 empty coal trucks into Dongchang yard from China Rail. There was also a DF5(?) diesel sitting in Beichang washery this morning as well.
The former coal heap at Nanchang has a large shed now built on it. The yard has been upgraded with new track and signalling. Inside the 2 road shed they were repairing Tipping wagons. The DF5 diesel was shunting this shed this morning. Steam engines still take water and clean the fires on the one remaining road for steam.
The track on the system is in the process of being upgraded, I assume for the heavier engines, it is almost main line standard. Heavy rail is now in place on the line through Nanchang - Donchang - Zhenyang. I assume it goes all the way to China Rail. There are lengths of heavy rail lying in the 4 foot on the track up to Beichang washery. I assume once rerailed this will be the end of steam on the washery trains. At present there is a large hump in the rail at Beichang washery with a 10 km/h speed on it where they have been working, this I assume will be fixed when rerailed.
I counted at least 4 engines in steam still at Chengzhie. The washery trains are still steam hauled and are as spectacular as always. The pole situation seems unchanged from previous reports. Dongchang yard is a maze of poles and a nightmare for photography. The former de-ashing road with pit is now blocked by a brick fence making the de-ashing road and water column permanently unusable.
With steam facilities being dismantled and strengthening of the track on the system for heavier engines and the electrification program, I can't see steam lasting much longer here unless some miracle happens. (Peter Haynes, Steam_in_China 9480)
Shenyang Railway Museum and GJ 1018
During my recent trip to China I attempted to visit the Shenyang Railway Museum but found it closed - don't know why! However, there are two locos on either side of the car park in front of the museum building, one QJ and one RM. Both are very freshly painted but have no numbers visible at all.
Duncan's list suggests QJ 1316 and QJ 6368 are at the museum. Photos on a Chinese site show QJ 6368 inside the Museum so a good guess would suggest that QJ 1316 is the one in the car park. However, I can't find any reference to an RM being preserved at Shenyang. Anyone know anything about its identity.
As the museum was closed I resorted to photographing diesels and electrics around Sujiatun. About a km from the museum building there is a park with a lake right in the middle of the railway yards. On one side of the park is a small but quite attractive "museum" set up with statues of a track gang, two standard green cars and 0-6-0T GJ 1018, last shown in Duncan's list as the Sujiatun Industrial Locomotive Works pilot in 2006. (Rick Coles, Steam_in_China 9477)
Guanlin Steelworks, Luoyang, Henan: On January 23, 2011, a friend of mine was at Guanlin Steelworks and photographed SY 1339, SY 2014, SY 1316 and SY 0866. SY 1339 and SY 2014 were in use, SY 0866 was under repair and SY 1316 was spare(?).
All pictures in my website: http://gaolaijunsphotos.fotopic.net/c1936673.html.
Tiefa (Diaobingshan): On Saturday Jan 15 still both SY were in steam, but only SY1770 was used on passengers, SY1771 only on shunts.
On Sunday 1771 was put out of service (for minor repairs they said) but 1770 was still used on passengers.
Usually it will take the following turn:
H211, 202, 301, 308 (still on the published schedule), 309, 304, 303, 306. So mainly the double track line to Daqing is served, but with the 5-carriage rake.
Between the 308 and 309 there are more than 5 hours and the loco is shunting sidings in Diaobingshan which obviously cannot be served by diesel due to the too large profile of the diesel. Over night Wangqian is served on a freight but not daily, also here a diesel cannot shunt the siding so far, they say.
Fuxin: They still load a minor amount of coal from the open cast mine (both open cast mines). The Taiping locos are used to take coal from the open cast mine (a front loader is loading their wagons). But they mostly sit around idle, one loco in the stabling point, the other next to Taiping passenger stop. Sometimes they shunt in the next deep mine there.
Nanpiao has still one SY in use, but only for shunting in Xiamiaozi and Zaojiatun. Occasionally they run a train to the power plant, but you need to be lucky.
Beitai steelworks: I was offered a permit for two hours for 300 RMB per person, but obviously this is not an official permit, only something "arranged". Independent travellers can do it, but it's too dangerous for a group.
Guangyuan (Rongshan) - prison railway: a third party reports that the area is still strictly closed to foreigners and no sign of a change so far.(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 9300 & 9312)
And another report from Duncan Cotterill:
Beipiao (06 & 07 Dec)
This was a first visit to Beipiao and probably the last. Previous reports indicated that the line was fairly uninspiring, that there wasn’t much activity and that trains were difficult to predict, so we didn’t expect much.
We found three locos at the depot in working order but cold (SY 1091, 1196 and 1550) with JF 886 stored in the wagon works. There were only two steam locos in use, SY 1004 and 1451 plus a diesel, DF5 1113. The DF5 carries the mining company logo and lettering. It was built in 1991 and is almost certainly second hand ex-CR. In a compound near the depot, two locos, SY 0193 and 0387 were being cut up for scrap. We were told that two or three more diesels were on order and expected to arrive next year, enough to finish steam working at Beipiao.
Most of 06 Dec was spent at the western end of the system around Yijing, Taiji and Sanjing. SY 1004 worked a train of empties to Taiji, passing Yijing at 08:45 and then returned with loads just after 10:00, leaving its train at Yijing and going on shed for servicing. It then disappeared towards Guanshan light engine but returned just before 12:00, collected the loads and took them to Guanshan.
We were told that there might be a train of empties to Taiji around 13:30 and there would be a train to Sanjing around 15:30. The Taiji train didn’t show up so we found a spot in open country, west of Taiji, and waited for the Sanjing train. The locals confirmed that there was usually a train around 16:00. Sure enough, SY 1451 appeared with a short train of empties at 15:38, just a few minutes before the sun dropped behind the hills.
07 December began with a visit to the washery at Guanshan where SY 1004 was shunting. In the two hours we were there the loco appeared several times at the photogenic south end of the washery but it was always propelling and never positioned itself in a good spot for photography. DF5 1113 took a train of empties out towards Taiji around 08:30 and SY 1451 disappeared towards Sanbao with some side tippers loaded with spoil around 09:30.
We photographed SY 1451 returning from Sanbao at the village of Sanjiazi (sounds familiar) at 11:45 then went to Yijing where the information on afternoon workings was the same as the previous day. Only the Sanjing train ran and it was a light engine going out, returning with three loaded wagons.
Beipiao is a difficult system to photograph satisfactorily but there are some reasonable locations towards Sanbao and Sanjing. Trains weren’t as unpredictable as we were led to believe and the Control Office staff at Yijing were helpful in indicating what was likely to run.(Duncan Cotterill, Steam_in_China 9297)
Additional reporting from Duncan Cotterill:
Tiefa (04 Dec)
Both SYs were out this morning. SY 1770 worked 201 to Wangqian and 204 back. SY 1771 worked 202 from Wangqian, 301 to Daqing and 308 return. We left shortly afterwards so didn't see what the steam did for the rest of the day. Additional diesels seen were DF4 7755 and DF5B 0038.
Note that 308 runs approximately 30 minutes earlier than previously, arriving Diaobingshan at 09:04. Trains 307 to Daqing and 310 from Daqing no longer run. All other passenger trains run within a couple of minutes of the times previously published.
Fuxin (04 - 05 Dec)
Passenger 114 from Xinqiu to Wangying was worked by DF5D 0067 on 04 & 05 Dec.
The morning line up at Wulong on 05 Dec comprised SY 0770, 0988, 1210, 1319, 1320, 1378, 1460, 1818(1414) and DF5D 0068.
The DF5D seemed to be employed working trains between the CR yard and Wulong yard and working the line west towards Wangying. The area around Wulong mine (around 2km south-west of Wulong yard) was busy with coal and spoil trains, all steam worked. I'll draw a map when I get back.
Additionally SY 0941, 1396 and 1397 were all in steam at the servicing point at lunchtime (along with SY 1818). SY 1395 was seen in the company of another, unidentified, SY running light near the entrance to the opencast mine at midday. Where they went is a mystery as the line into the opencast pit appears to be disused. We didn't get to Taiping stabling point to check if there were any engines there.
The loco at the mining museum, masquerading as SY 1395, is a fake, probably SY 0939 judging from the painted over number on the tender but it carries 1974/11 plates and SY 0939 should have 1975/01 plates.
The other duplicate reported is SY 0770. The one seen at Wulong appears to be the real thing with 1974/01 plates. We didn't see the second SY 0770, reported to be dumped at the carriage sidings adjacent to the servicing point, but the other locos reported in April by David Thomas were still there (JF 508, SY 0036, 0076, 0127, 0391, 0540, 0576) although 0127 and 0540 weren't 100% positively identified. We didn't explore the other dumps around Fuxin.(Duncan Cotterill, Steam_in_China 9285)
Further information from Peter Semmelroch on the operations from Nanzhan to Liushuquan and Beiqian:
Nanzhan has 8 locos now, 3 JS (8053, 8314 and another one) as well as SY 1729 and DF8B 0247-0250. So Hans is wrong when he says all old Liushuquan locos would have been withdrawn.
As mentioned by Duncan all trains to Yijing and Erjing are steam, traffic levels are higher than last year with 2 pairs of trains to each mine during daylight.
It is strange that they use a SY as the loco regularly stalls on the 20/1000 bank out of Nanzhan, due to lack of steam (with 20 empties). After boiling steam the train then moves on, so the tractive effort is enough, just the SY boiler does not produce enough steam. No top and tailed trains were seen this year in contrast to 2009 to those mines.
Line to Liushuquan: Although they have 4 DF8B they use only one daily, 3 are stabled in Nanzhan, obviously steam is still cheaper. All trains to and from Liushuquan are DF8B hauled (up to 75 empties), but as trains are sometimes longer nowadays (we saw 88 empties), in these cases a JS runs light engine to Liushuquan and banks the DF8B train up to Nanzhan. The JS is not working very hard though and the train runs much faster than during the steam days. The diesel runs only to Liushuquan and not through to Hami.
All shunting in Nanzhan and at the adjacent coal washery loading there are naturally steam as well.
Duncan Cotterill reports:
Sandaoling (22 - 24 Nov)
Not much to add to recent reports. In general the locos are all looking very run-down. The exceptions are JS 8173 and JS 8368 on the coal trains out of the opencast pit, which both look good. These trains are hauled by chimney first locos, making them very photogenic and can run as frequently as every 30 minutes. The spoil operations at Xibolizhan are still impressive, if not quite as busy as before. Up to 12 locos can still be seen gathering for the shift change at 09:00. On the surface section, only one DF8B seemed to be in use with the other three stabled at Nanzhan. Trains to/from the Beiqian mines were all steam. (This last corrects my impression from Hans Schaefer's recent report which stated "All the old Liushuquan engines are withdrawn" and implied to me that steam on the Beiqian trains must have finished. D.F.)
Jixi (26 Nov & 02 Dec)
DF4 1964 and 9305 were seen at Didao. Both locos still carried Harbin Bureau Mudanjiang Section allocation codes and no lettering to indicate ownership by the mine railway. They are probably CR locos on hire. SY 1446 was still active at Didao with the other four locos caged as reported by Brian Hawkins.
On the Chengzihe system there are still a few sections clear of poles, principally the main river bridge north of Qiaonan, a short section of the main line near Nanchang, Beichang washery and the connecting lines to Nanchang and Dongchang and the Zhengyang end of the line to Xinghua. Everywhere else appears to be poled although there are no wires anywhere yet. Photographically the poles are a disaster as they are very closely spaced. Everything was still steam worked with the regulars joined by SY 0951 ex-Lishu. Nine locos were present for shift change on 26 Nov.
Huanan (26 Nov - 01 Dec)
Very erratic with only three locos serviceable and lots of failures. There was not a single day when the four-hourly pattern was maintained from dawn to dusk. 004, 011 and 044 were the locos in use with 041 and 168 under repair. The spark arrestors mentioned in previous reports have been removed. Still a very rewarding railway to visit despite the reliability problems.
Tiefa (03 Dec)
Only two locos, SY 1770 and 1771, are available for traffic but they spent most of the day at the depot at Daqing. SY 1770 worked train 202 in from Wangqian then train 301 to Daqing before retiring to the depot. It reappeared at Diaobingshan light engine at 17:40 and we were hopeful it would work an evening train but it disappeared again light engine around an hour later. All the passengers from 08:00 onwards were diesel. SY 1772 has joined the other stored locos in the "Exhibition Hall" at Daqing. Outside are six dumped DFH3s. DF4 7772 and DF5B 0037, 0039, 0052, 0053, 0059 and 0060 were all seen in use. I can't recall so many DF5B being reported before.(Duncan Cotterill, Steam_in_China 9281)
From Bernd Seiler's Blog: Road construction adjacent to the much photographed curve above the Shibantan Reservoir.
Two from Brian Hawkin's Picture Gallery after his recent Jixi trip:
SY 1205 + SY 0407 + SY 1213 + SY 0950 caged at the mine.
SY replacement, second hand DF4 9305.
Hans Schaefer has just returned from ten days in Sandaoling and reports:
They have 23 steam locomotives, 20 JS and 3 SY.
SY 1504 reported by me before is wrong: Must be 1304.
They use 11 JS on stone trains through Xibolizhan and 3 on coal trains.
They use all SY on the worker train and other work trains.
They use one JS on the spreader.
They may additionally use JS on work trains.
This normally accounts to 18 engines in use daily.
JS 8368 seems to be newly overhauled.
JS 8173 has a brass plate at the cab side and looks better than the other engines.
JS 6436 seems to be the normal engine for the spreader. This engine is very sandy.
All the old Liushuquan engines are withdrawn, 8221 and 8222 as well.
The crews tell different stories about how long the engines will last, the average seems to be 3-5 years.(Hans Schaefer, Steam_in_China 9246)
Bernd Seiler reports 5 SY under steam, no additions to the two diesels.
Mike Ma reports:
There is now one diesel which started working at Beipiao in June this year (DF5 No:1113 second-hand diesel from Qiqihar).
Jixi and Huanan
I'm with a small group led by Mike Ma. This is what we found:
Jixi - Donghaikuang (1st Nov):
A crossing keeper told us all trains were dieselised "about six months ago", so we did not visit.
Jixi - Lishu (2nd Nov):
SY1118 and 2 x DF4 working. Both times we saw the SY on a train it was "topped and tailed" with a diesel. SY0477 and SY0590 were stored in a recently built cage inside a two-road brick shed.
Jixi - Didao (1st Nov):
SY1446 and 2 x DF4 seen working. Four other SY were stored in a recently built cage. Staff told us that SY1446 would finish work "in a day or two".
Jixi - Hengshan (2nd Nov):
SY1344 in steam as a spare loco. Two industrial diesels seen working.
Huanan (3rd and 4th Nov):
C2 004, C2 041, C2 044 working a fairly intensive service. C2 026 is plinthed in a smart black and red livery near the depot.
Jixi - Chengzihe (1st, 4th and 5th Nov):
Electrification poles are now up along the line from the China Rail exchange sidings to Dongchang yard and from there to Zhengyang mine, on to Xinghua mine and along the branch to the spoil tip. There are gaps at Zhengyang mine itself, along the line to Dongchang from there for about 100yds and along the line to Xinghua for about 200yds. Also in and near Dongchang yard there are some small gaps; but in the three days between our first and last visits several more poles went up. Beichang washery and its connecting lines have no poles though.
The watering facilities and ashpit in Dongchang yard have gone, the engine crews' buildings are nearly demolished and a new building appears to be almost complete. A new two-road shed is under construction at Nanchang stabling point; the large piles of coal have gone but watering facilities and ashpit are still there.
Workings to and from the mines, washery and China Rail seemed normal while we were there, except for some disruption caused by special pole laying trains. A total of nine SYs were seen working.The familiar early morning line up at Dongchang did not seem to happen on our first day there but on the second and third days we saw up to nine SYs there at a time.
We were denied a visit but the deputy director told us that one loco was being overhauled. We saw one plinthed SY inside the works entrance and one which appeared to be out of use. He told us that steam would finish "in three to four months".
Mike Ma is there with a group and reports:
There is only one working steam at the mine in Donghai. There have already been dieselised on the main line from Donghai to Jidong when we arrived there on the first day from Jixi airport.
There have been dieselised in Didao Mine as well but they still have one working steam doing the transportation to the back mines uphill.
We went to the steam repair workshop in Jixi and were told that there will be all diesels or electrics working in Jixi in about three month.
Steam still in use, JS 8418 shunting and 6245 with afternoon worker train to Fengshuigou. Three more JS in repair shop, one diesel under repair, only one diesel working!(Hans Schaefer via Ronald Olsen, Steam_in_China 9212)
Inspired by a book that a friend of mine made using Blurb, I have put together a synthesis of my 25,000 images of China in the format of a luxury coffee table book entitled "Requiem for Extreme Steam". They were taken over 18 years and 30 visits and give a pretty good idea of the last great steam railway show on earth. A full preview of the book can be seen at this link:-
I hope the preview proves interesting and if one or two of you buy the book, I'll be delighted. The book can only be ordered through Blurb and I am sorry that it is expensive (80 quid!), but they only produce the books one at a time in response to orders.
(Note: The preview is well worth a look as you can view each of the 160 pages in the form of double page spreads. Michael introduced the book on the Yahoo! Steam in China Group two days ago so check out the several comments posted there. D.F.)
John Raby has received information from guide "Zebedee" concerning the road that is to be built which will end the traffic free isolation of Bagou on the Shibanxi narrow gauge line (Jiayang Coal Railway). "Zebedee" says: The road is started from Tangba, through Mamiao, to arrive at Bagou, not from Shixi to Bagou.
This is a road that will allow people from Bagou to get to Qianwei (and the rest of China) via Mamiao without going via Shibanxi.
John understands that this road will be completed in spring 2011. Beyond that, everything is speculation, but John suggests:
Will a regular minibus/bus service start up along this road? I would think so.
Will it lead to cheaper/faster journey times to Qianwei. Probably.
Will the railway's regular passenger service survive? Unlikely but the tourist traffic may keep the regular passengers going for a while before the line becomes 100% tourist or closes.
Will the coal from the coal mine at Huangcunjin go out by road and will the coal trains stop? Will Bagou lose its character? Probably.
Will they put roads through the village which has never seen a four wheel road vehicle? Probably.
John has an interest in seeing Bagou one more time before any of the above can happen and is also looking to take a group of enthusiasts there in March 2011 for an extended visit. See http://www.users.waitrose.com/~jraby/chinatour1.html.
Colin Martindale comments that when he visited Yuanbaoshan on March 19 this year, the morning passenger train was formed of 6 coaches, three in green and three in the more recent mainline white and orange. This would add credence to the idea that the orange coaches are replacement stock.
Peter Semmelroch has discovered a Panoramio Gallery on Google Earth containing many, mostly recent, steam pictures from a photographer with the nickname "pocahontas". Peter lists locations (14 in 2009, 20 in 2010) and locomotives in the gallery (maybe "including some guesswork") in Steam_in_China 9172.
Some recent pictures from Yuanbaoshan show passenger stock which Peter describes as "repainted in glossy orange", but could well be replacement ex-main line stock in orange and white livery.
Joeri Vanvaerenbergh lists the direct link to the Gallery as http://www.panoramio.com/user/522181. Well worth a look.
Jixi Didao will get four diesels on September 10th.
Jixi Chengzihe will see another winter with steam. Poles are only placed on a part between Dongcheng and Zhengyang and one spur branching off north (no photographic potential anyhow). They mount ten poles a day, including Sundays.
No poles between Dongcheng and Jixi Xi, the golden triangle, Jiukeng dump or on the Xinghua line so far, so all good spots are still unspoiled.
Donghaikuang unchanged (two locos).
Huanan was working normally at the end of August. Nos. 011, 044 and 168 were in use. No trouble with forest authorities, no big posters on the tenders of the locos.(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 9171 and 9170)
The latest news about the electrification of the mining railway in Chengzihe (Jixi) is that the poles are now being set up. At the moment they just finished doing the western part with the poles set up exactly say from the Xingfa mine (Xi Jixi) to the old viaduct which is parallel to the CNR. They might finish at the end of this winter or the first part of next year.
For anyone who missed his recent posting on the Steam_in_China group, Duncan Cotterill has updated his Railography Chinese Loco Lists to include sightings received since May 2009.
Guangyuan (Rongshan) Prison Railway:
Guide Zhang Guangyu ("Zebedee") visited the line in September 2009. Locos are three C2 210, 211 and 218, two SY 1305 and 1434. He heard from a few drivers there that the line will be electrified after September 2010 because of purchase by the Panzhihua Iron and Steel Company. The line is still restricted to foreigners at this moment but he hopes it could be open to the public in future after the Panzhihua Company takes over.
Three web pages have been found with pictures of the line:
by Joeri Vanvaerenbergh (Steam_in_China 9093),
two more by Derek Jenkins,
Emei Iron Alloy Foundry:
A "new" location which "Zebedee" has visited. Three SYs, 0465 and 0516 were working, 1146 out of use. However the latest news is that steam finished in November 2009 with the appearance of a diesel. Emei is 156 km south of Chengdu on the line to Kunming, not far from Shibanxi.
Qu Xian Freight Depot:
Another "new" location visited by "Zebedee". Two SYs here, 0560 and 1500. Seems they don't like visitors. Qu Xian is about 170 km north of Chongqing (Quail Atlas line 26, km 660).
Qinghua Iron and Steel Works:
Visited around June/July 2009. Working loco SY 1635 newly repainted looking very smart, with spare loco SY 0529 in the depot. This location does not work every day.
Mianzhu Freight Depot:
SY 0045 is probably scrapped as it now has SYs 1198 and 1656 bought from Songzao in 2009. This could mean steam at Songzao is now finished.
Peter Semmelroch reports information from photographers he met on his visit to Xingyang.
He was told that Yuzhou still has 2 or 3 steam locos (QJ or JS) but only for shunting, they go to Pingdingshan only as bankers of diesel hauled trains now, if at all.
Interestingly the place to be for Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese gricers seems to be the so-called Rongshan "Prison" Railway. For Asians visits seem possible, although Japanese gricers have been arrested and thrown out there recently. At least the Taiwanese we met had been there recently together with Chinese friends. For westerners the line seems to be off limits. Traffic levels are high, the line is said to be extremely scenic ("much better than Shibanxi") and serves a coal mine. There should be pics on Taiwanese websites available. Unfortunately the line will be electrified during 2010… Maybe we should go there now and disguise as Haibaos…
The Steel Works at Xuanhua no longer uses steam, (David Longman) and Chengde finished 18 months ago. (Xuejun Liu via John Raby, Steam_in_China 9079).
I can add that steam also finished at Tangshan about 18 months ago.
In April at least 5 steam remained in use at Panzhihua and 2 at Qian'an. (D.F.)
Shijiazhuang Local Railway, Hebei Province
Thanks to Colin Martindale for an update to Steam News (December 21st 2009). He visited Shijiazhuang on March 21st and found QJ 6391 and a second QJ, 6887, at the line's depot, neither in working order.
With reference to the Steam News (December 31st 2009) item extracted from Simon Colbeck's post 8883 on Steam_in_China, I have had it pointed out to me that the pictures of QJ 3174 and QJ 3233 are headed 老图支持 which translates as "Old picture", so interesting as the pictures were, probably not news. (D.F.)
Ameling Algra visiting from February 8th to 11th pictured a long train of empties from Liushuquan top and tailed by two JS and only mentioned diesels in passing, so clearly steam was still working alongside diesel on the connection to China Railway. So arriving late on March 1st (for explanation of lateness, await a full trip report), I wondered if the situation had changed. Passing Liushuquan station, there were two green DF4s present, were these the Coal Company diesels? Shortly after, the answer came as very unlikely as we were passed by a coal train from Nanzhan to Liushuquan hauled by a very non-industrial looking blue and white Co-Co lettered, according to Mike Ma, our guide, in Chinese as Luan (or maybe Lu'an) An Xinjiang Coal Company. The full extent of diesel arrivals was shown next day with DF8B 0247-0250 stabled at Nanzhan. Mr. Fu later told us the four secondhand locos had cost the price of two and a half new ones. On their visit in March 2009, Richard Turkington and Keith Strickland had learnt from an assistant driver that four second hand diesels would be delivered from Shenyang the following month, with two more in July/August. We know that the arrival of diesels did not keep to these dates, but it appears that both here and at Baiyin, non appearance of diesels in 2009 was merely postponed to the first quarter of 2010. If the DF8Bs are to be put to work on block trains over China Railway to a power station at Hami, as has been reported, will that keep them busy enough to see the return of some banked steam workings from Liushuquan to Nanzhan? Peter Haynes in Steam_in_China 9000 and 9047 notes during the three days he was there, on 9th March, one JS took a loaded coal train down on its own and returned light engine, and on 10th March a single JS brought up a rake of 37 trucks from China Rail. No banking engines however, all others were diesel hauled. He had the older CITS guide (Mrs. Gou?) and she had train control ring her when they were running the steam down to the China Rail. There didn't appear to be much running to and from China rail while he was there. I was there a few days earlier, from late on the 1st to the 4th of March. The only steam working seen to Liushuquan was SY 1729 on loaded coal around 17:30 on the first day, returning later on the rear of a diesel hauled train of empties. There may have been other steam workings, but we were without Mrs Gou and any contact with the control office.
In order to work coal trains out of the pit loco first, the embankment at Nanzhan from which the trains are unloaded has had to be extended to allow for the added train length including the loco. On the unloading operation observed, the loaded train passed over the unloading point to position the final wagon to be unloaded first. The loco then reversed its train, unloading each wagon in turn. Not all loco first trains are chimney first, one train noted was tender first. Not all loco first trains are loaded at the new loading point. Whilst making observations there, an empty train, which would return loco first, passed the loading point and descended deeper into the pit. In addition to the conveyor belt to the new coal loader, another belt continues eastwards just above ground level to where a large stockpile of coal had been created using a complicated piece of "conveyor belt engineering". This stockpile had its own siding and a train was being loaded by one of the conventional tracked bucket cranes as used in the pit to load coal and spoil trains. Sandaoling is now unchallenged as the number one industrial steam hotspot worldwide. If you are lucky enough to picture a top and tailed train between Nanzhan and the deep mines at Beiquan, you will have some consolation for the diesel takeover of the line to Liushuquan. (D.F.)
You will have read all about the unwelcome arrivals in Duncan Cotterill's latest report. They did not arrive completely "under the enthusiasts' radar". On February 6th, Trevor Maxted passed on a message from guide Liu Xuejun of Chengde that diesels were expected at the end of February. Trevor remarked that of course this has been threatened before and nothing happened and this could be another rumour or mis-information. With Trevor's remark in mind and knowing I would be on the spot myself on February 27th, I decided not to pass on a possible rumour, so my apologies to Jun for ignoring his well sourced information. Only GKD1A 0206 had arrived by the date of my visit and it was decorated with small bows of red ribbon to celebrate its entry into service at its new home.
In Steam_in_China 8992, Joeri Vanvaerenbergh references link http://bbs.hasea.com/thread-427811-13-1.html which indicates Dalian will deliver a batch of four GKD1A. The link includes a picture of a loco body in undercoat described as 0206, and a picture of completed 0208 which is not in the BNMC blue colour scheme.
The more powerful DF7G 5183 seen by Duncan Cotterill has a lower running number than might have been expected. 5182 was noted at Pingdingshan in December 2007, as was 5186 at Haishiwan. 5195 and 5196 were at the Yaojie-Tiehejinchang Railway by February 2009, the same month as 5198 and 5199 were seen at Jalainur. Maybe the number had been reserved for an optional purchase that was not completed. (D.F.)
Thanks to Tim Arnot for informing me that the address of Liu Xuejun's Web site is now http://www.hasea.com/jun-railjourney/. The Links page entry for the site is now updated, but other links to his site will be changed as and when time permits. (D.F.)
Note: Duncan has made a draft report from his recent trip to Jixi and Baiyin available at ... http://live.railography.co.uk/ ... along with some pictures from each location.
He had intended to publish this material from China but was unable to upload the files from there.
He has provided a link (which will be used by SY-Country) for the final version of the report ... http://www.railography.co.uk/reports/2010/20100301-cn.htm ... It will reach the draft report until he gets round to publishing the final version. So just click on the link before this Note: in the usual way.
All clear, alles klar?
(Duncan Cotterill, Steam_in_China 9023)
Attempts to link to the Web site of Liu Xuejun (www.jun-railjourney.com) are not being resolved currently. If Jun reads this or anyone travelling with him can ask on my behalf, I would like to know if this is a temporary problem or if the site has been permanently closed. (D.F.)
The latest news today from Sandaoling is that they have tried to run the two new-bought diesels on the main line from Nanzhan to Liushuquan. Sometimes they are seen working together with steam. They are still using steam on the line to Beiquan.
Li Yi, a student studying at Hainan University whose home town is Zoucheng, reports QJ 3461 and QJ 6811 still very busy when he visited on January 16th. QJ 7189 and QJ 7190 are both stored after recent overhaul at Laiwu Dong. Working QJs on heavy trains survive into the new decade.
Click here to view three of his pictures.
Note: Yi loaded a greater selection of pictures at http://www.ourail.com/thread-64916-1-1.html.
However access is currently impossible as the ourail Web site "needs to be checked by the authority. Maybe you know the Chinese goverment is cleaning the bad information such as erotic pictures or articles at the moment. Ourail.com needs a licence, so the website will be closed some days before we get it back".
Also, when it reappears and assuming it is in its previous format, you need to register to view. At the top right in pale blue there were two links each of two Chinese characters 注册 登录. The left hand link took you to registration, the other to login.
G W Travel
In case you are unaware, G W Travel have a tour with the China Orient Express, Beijing to Beijing, 18th - 27th March, visiting the industrial steam locations of Tiefa, Jixi, Huanan, Beitai and Fuxin.
There is an optional extension to Sandaoling and Zoucheng (for QJs) using air and hotels.
The itinerary and other information can be found here.
Price (without the extension) sharing a twin berth cabin is £ 3,995 / US$ 6,595 / € 4,595.
If you are interested, e-mail Rachel at G W Travel in the next week.
... SYs located
Peter Newsome has found additional information concerning the December 31st request for "SYs to be located ..." at Chinese Web site page http://english.rednet.cn/c/2009/03/04/1719319.htm .
... SYs located
Thanks for a quick response by Gaolaijun, all 4 SYs, 0622, 0747, 1044 and 1724 belong to the Manganese Ore station of the Xiangta Electrification Group, Xiangtan, Hunan province. According a reference on the Web, manganese ore is mined near Xiangtan at Shaoshan, which is the end of a 25 km branch from Xiangshao, 29 km west of Xiangtan.
(Gaolaijun, Steam_in_China 8902)
SYs to be located ...
The following video, http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNzQ1NTQ5Njg=.html, shows 4 SYs not in Duncan's Lists at 2 (or possibly 3) locations:
1) SY 0622 in steam and SY 1044 spare,
2) SY 0747 in rather desolate condition with much of its motion and some fittings missing,
3) probably in the shed behind SY 0747 is SY 1724, built Tangshan 1992/5 in the company of diesel GK1E 3319 built Beijing 2008 which dates the video has having been taken recently (the introduction states 10 months ago but this might relate to when the video was uploaded).
An English speaking gentleman, possibly a Mr John Fildew, and a Chinese lady (guide?) appear on the video. The title mentions "Chinese Manganese Ore, last steam locomotive" but can anyone help with the locations?
Simon Colbeck has pointed out that page 81 of the thread which Su Hang referenced for his news of QJ 6391 in steam near Shijiazhuang, http://forum.xitek.com/sorthread.php?threadid=264870&pagenumber=81 contains pictures of QJ 3174 and QJ 3233.
Despite the very poor external condition of the locos, they appear to be in working order. QJ 3233 has moved (or been moved), compare the position of the connecting rod on pictures 10 and 11 and note the shine on the piston rod emerging from the cylinder on picture 11. On picture 6 note the shine on 3174's tender wheels' treads and the good condition of the brake pipe. Unfortunately, the date and location of the pictures are not known, to quote Simon "any help would be appreciated".
Refer to Simon's Steam_in_China posting for remarks about other pictures on the thread.
(Simon Colbeck, Steam_in_China 8883)
One SY still running, mainly shunting in Yiying and freight trains to Sanjing. To enter the station Yijing (which is fenced now) you need to contact the chief of railway operation (independent travellers may struggle here, but those who travel with a guide have good chances). They sent their second locomotive to the workshop Sujiatun and do not plan to finish steam operation next year. The loco in service is SY 1564, it was last overhauled in Sujiatun in December 2008.
Fuixin, Tiefa (Diaobingshan), Nanpiao are unchanged from my last reports.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8878)
Su Hang, a Chinese steam enthusiast from Beijing, has reported the following steam observations from 2009:
Qian'an Steelworks, Hebei Province
Visit in March when he found four SYs still running (0727, 1033, 1034, 1752), all in good condition. There were also several stored SYs (one of which was 0985) as well as plinthed XK13 113 and SY 0026. The works belongs to the Capital Steel Group ("Shougang"). Workers told him they will still use steam for a long time. These are the nearest working steam locomotives to Beijing (Qian'an is about 200km east). See his pictures at http://www.railbus.cn/viewthread.php?tid=73352&extra=&page=2 and onwards.
Shijiazhuang Local Railway, Hebei Province
The last seven pictures at http://forum.xitek.com/sorthread.php?threadid=264870&pagenumber=79 were taken on 25.7.2009 and show QJ 6391 at work in Yi'an Zhen, Pingshan, Shijiazhuang. The loco belongs to the Shijiazhuang Local Railway and Mr Su thinks it is possibly still working and will appear at Yi'an station. The number of working QJs left in China is now no more than 10.
Gaoshanzi Fertiliser Factory (w of Dahushan), Liaoning Province
There is a picture of SY 1015 working at the factory taken on 23.11.2009 at http://www.dongbeifeng.com/bbs/read.php?tid=428487. This loco was previously recorded in steam here in August 2007 (ref. CRJ 152).
Hohhot, Inner Mongolia
SY 1263 and SY 1278 work in a goods yard here. See pictures taken in November at http://forum.xitek.com/sorthread.php?threadid=631296&pagenumber=11. They belong to a goods yard near the west power plant. Heading north from the Power Plant Road(Dianchang lu/电厂路), about 1km, you can find the yard. (SY 1278 was noted working here by a group in October 2004, but further investigation was almost immediately curtailed by the arrival of the local police.)
Liujiaxia: no steam left in service, fully dieselised. No steam charter train possible any more.
Yinghao: still serviceable locos there, but the track is not usable any more - hence no charter trains are possible.
Baiyin: no new plans for purchasing diesels.
Huanan: they should run until Chinese new year.
Pingdingshan: only one QJ remains in service, now many diesel trains to Yuzhou.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8862)
Two further Galleries have been added to the Links page.
Zhalai Nuoer: opencast mine finished, five loco left in steam for shunting/deep mine trains.
Xingyang: closed at least until April 2010.
Yamansu: since end of November no daily trains any more. Some breaks of five days without any train.
Later info, line service suspended for 2 weeks, due to the current lack of wagons on China Rail. It should restart next week though...
Sandaoling: The new line may take another three years before construction. A conveyor belt system was installed recently and should start to work soon. Rails at the eastern and of the pit are already lifted, trucks took over. These trucks should only run from the loading place to the conveyor belt.
The company operating Nanzhan-Liushuquan have already purchased 4 diesel locomotives. Training of loco drivers is expected to last until April so the line should not go diesel before April. Reason for the change to diesel is that the company intends to operate their coal trains in the future not only to Liushuquan but over the CR tracks to a power plant in Hami.
Additionally they plan to end steam in the open pit in 2011 (Coal trains will go to truck first maybe already in 2010, spoil trains later). But they will keep 6 steam locomotives in service, because they will open a new 30 km line to a new deep mine. The line will start in Xibolizhan. The line will be opened in 2011 only ("more than a year"). They want to keep steam on that line as they have coal for free.
Additional info from Peter's visit there two weeks ago:
They will operate during Chinese New Year holidays (Feb 13-19, 2010) just normally. A visit during that time is no problem. (Info from Mr. Fu and NuEr).
(Bernd Seiler via Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 8799)
Still 100% steam at the moment with about 30 locos in service. The line from Liushuquan to Nanzhan is very busy with a train every 2 - 3 hours. Not all trains are banked, shorter rakes, up to 35 wagons, are hauled by a single loco. The opencast pit is also very busy with spoil trains leaving the Xibolizhan end every 5 - 10 minutes and coal trains leaving the other end every 30 - 60 minutes. Dongbolizhan is very quiet. There are lorries taking spoil to a large tip at the eastern end of the pit but they don't appear to have affected rail operations at Xibolizhan yet.
It seems that the management would like to buy diesels but they're still looking for brand new DF8Bs for the price of clapped out DF4s. Anyone planning a trip this winter should definitely go before they make their minds up to buy something.
Note that there is no internet access in Xinjiang and foreign mobile phones don't work either although Chinese ones can still send and receive calls or SMS messages.
(Back in Beijing after being fogged in at Wulumuqi for 2 days.)
(Duncan Cotterill, Steam_in_China 8766)
The management held a meeting just recently and changed the plan again. Now they want to finish using steam in the open cast mine in mid November.
Yesterday they had 11 locos in use, only 5 of them in the pit.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8735)
I am just back from Nanpiao, SY 0754 and 0366 are working well. SY0754 steam passenger is at 6:24 from Xiamiaozi to Sanjiazi in the morning, 14:20 from Xiamiaozi to Sanjiazi in the afternoon. The other steam SY 0366 only running to POWER PLANT and to Zaojiatun. To Linghe branch line no steam working.
SY 1299 repaired in workshop, will be working soon.
2 DF5G arrived at Nanpiao on Oct 16, but no driver now, will be working after 20 days when new driver coming.
(Liu Xuejun, via Trevor Maxted)
Jalainur is still using steam in the open cast mine. During a talk to the manager of rail operation two days ago it was said that they'll use steam in the open cast mine until January 2010, then they'll change to trucks. The exact date is not clear yet. They expect to use ten locos in the open cast mine until trucks take over. At the moment they're using 12 locomotives in the pit. Four steam locos will remain in service for shunting operations until 2011. This is their current plan, it might be changed again.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8714)
Derek Jenkins passes on some news from a recent visit by Ron McElrath, an American aquaintance.
Sept 4/5, Jalainur. Still working as previously. No sign that cessation of work was imminent. Was told that as there was still a good seam of coal available, work may go on for several months.
Sept 7, Huanan. Working as usual.
Sept 8/9, Jixi. Nothing new. No sign of electrification work at Chengzihe.
Sept 10/11, Fuxin. Again nothing new but very little moving.
Sept 13/14, Baiyin. The passenger train to Sanyelian was not running. Was told that it had now ceased and that the workers travelled to the plant by bus. Shenbutong passenger ran as normal as did ore hoppers.
Sept 15/16/17, Sandaoling. No sign of any diesels. Banked train ran with JS as usual.
So for those planning upcoming trips for Autumn / Winter, don't rule out Jalainur or Sandaoling .... yet.
Xingyang Brickworks - Bad news?
Mike Ma's contact at Xingyang Brick Works reports as follows.
He says that the steam locos have stopped transporting the clay for the bricks production for a long time since June 6, but one of the steam locos sometimes works as a "shuttle bus" to take the staff from the brickshop to the quarry.
The workshop 3 of the Brick Works has already started transporting the clay by road.
He cannot tell when the steam locos might start working again with clay prodution.
(Mike Ma via John Raby, Steam_in_China 8711)
From the Chinese Hasea Web site, picture of plinthed QJ 6911 and steam crane and pictures of ten(!) QJs in the "Cultural Square" at Daban shed (click on picture to enlarge).
According to the latest issue of "Steam Railway", the "Jingpeng China Orient Express" they were promoting for November 2009 (strictly only for those with very deep pockets) will now run without the Jingpeng section and "devote more time to seeing real steam".
Zoucheng QJs continue at work and are still being sent for overhaul to Laiwu Dong workshop.
From the Chinese www.railwayfan.net Web site, pictures from a recent trip through Shandong and Henan provinces (http://www.railwayfan.net/viewthread.php?tid=77064).
(a) QJ 3461 and QJ 6811 working from Dadongzhang servicing point of the Zoucheng system (working locos as February 2009 report).
(b) QJ 7189 newly repainted (Zoucheng main depot?).
(c) QJ 7072 out of use at Zoucheng Iron Alloy Factory.
(d) Dumped QJs at Jibei Railway depot (7121, 7124, 7127, 7130, 7132).
(e) Yanzhou Coke Plant, QJ 6814 and QJ 7126 working (as February 2009 report), QJ 6936 and QJ 7188 stored (as previously assumed).
(f) Laiwu Dong workshops, QJ 7190 (working at Zoucheng, March 2009) and QJ 7191 (most recently assumed stored at Yanzhou Coke Plant) both being overhauled. Also boiler, frame/wheels and tender of an unidentified JS being worked on. QJ 3460, QJ 6868 and QJ 7032 out of use outside.
(g) Xintai Zhaizhen Coal Railway, newly overhauled QJ 7076 in steam, QJ 7086 spare. Even a Chinese visit, despite introductory letter, had problems here.
(h) Moving on to Henan province, QJ and JS both out of use are probably QJ 7179 and JS 8132 at Yanshi Power Station, east of Luoyang.
(i) Guanlin Steelworks, Luoyang, SY 0866 working and SY 1316 spare(?).
(j) Pingdingshan Concrete Sleeper Factory, QJ 6205 out of use and QJ 3438 very out of use.
(k) Yuzhou-Pingdingshan, QJ 6690 (out of use Pingdingshan?), QJ 6786, QJ 7186 and JS 8030 in use.
(via Joeri Vanvaerenbergh, Steam_in_China 8695)
None have arrived yet, but some drivers are on diesel training courses with China Rail.
Following his recent visit, Florian Menius has sent a picture showing the new tender "decoration". The slogan says something like "It is better to starve a whole day long than to lighten fire in the woods for one second" - an anti-fire slogan on the tender of a coal fired steam engine! How strange Chinese can become...
Let's just hope that after the high fire risk season when the spark arrestors are removed, they also get rid of the "decoration".
For anyone who missed his recent message on the Steam_in_China group, Duncan has updated his Chinese Loco Lists with sightings up to and including May 2009.
Reviewing Duncan's list of steam locations around Chongqing, on my recent visit to Chongqing in April 2009 I overlooked a check of the situation at Maogang Ferry Co (Nr Luohuang SW of Chongqing) which had 2 servicable SYs in July 2007. Luohuang is on the line south from Chongqing just after the River Yangtze is crossed. The Chongqing inset on Map 12 of the Quail Atlas shows a branch from Xiaonanya, 7 km further south than Luohuang, down to the river at Gangqian. Continental Railway Journal 152, page 267 refers to a 10 km branch north of the river but north would appear unlikely if Luohuang is the nearest place with accommodation. (D.F.)
Jixi - Chengzihe ... lack of money halts electrification work
Good news for anyone planning a trip for later this year. At the end of last October I reported poles being planted along the line between Dongchang and Zhengyang. I was there again at the beginning of May and checked progress only to discover the poles I had seen were nothing to do with electrification and were now strung up with other wires (telephone?). At Nanchang my guide Mike Ma pointed out a small pile of larger poles which he described as electrification masts already bought adding he had been told there was not enough money to buy sufficient. A message from a colleage passed on by Ronald Olsen confirms this news as he also was told they have no money to electrify so will keep running steam there.
Following his report of March 2009, "TW" was here again in May when SY 1236 was at work.
However the bad news is that the 2 SY would be replaced by diesel by August 2009.
The references to www.chinasteam.com on the Steam Lines pages should now all be changed to www.chinasteam.co.uk . It would be helpful if you could contact me if you find any problems.
Rob Dickinson warned me in March that he was relocating his chinasteam data from www.chinasteam.com to www.chinasteam.co.uk and that www.chinasteam.com would be "let go" as he was not renewing its registration in April. I have recently tested for the presence of www.chinasteam.com and it no longer exists. All references in the Trips indexes and News pages should now be updated to www.chinasteam.co.uk and I have just started on the Steam Lines pages.
The Steam Lines Index Page, "Steam Operations in China", has been re-ordered alphabetically with Nei Mongol Province (Inner Mongolia) under N and Xizang (Tibet) under T.
Any updates e.g. striking out Operations that are no longer steam or addition of new Operations, please contact email: email@example.com.
I got the same information about Sandaoling, but different sources have different answers as to when they are expected. The worst information is that they'll get six diesels and the first is to arrive by August 2009. As soon as this one is there it will take over the section state railway - Nanzhan. The last of the batch of six should arrive by mid January 2010.
The better information says that they'll get their first diesel in January 2010.
These answers are not from the workers around the station or the loco crews, they are from the management level.
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8296)
Baiyin ... 2009 diesel purchase cancelled
Today in the afternoon there was a meeting about the new diesels. The companies management decided NOT to buy diesels anytime soon. At least in 2009 all plans for purchasing diesels are cancelled! They will run 100% steam into 2010!
This might be in relation with the new purchase of the company: they acquired a mine in the U.S. Which makes much more sense to use the money compared to buy diesels which can't do anything better or cheaper than their SYs.
SY 1097 (Yaojie-Tiehejinchang), stored outside the workshop during 2008, is under overhaul in their workshop.
At the moment almost no freight trains (tender first) to Sanyelian. The new smelter is not finished yet and the old one caused some trouble and needs repair. Rest unchanged. A group before us (which left today) ran into trouble while visiting one place where no permits are issued. The foreign affairs office, the police and the security office of the company have been involved to sort it out. Seems to be important to follow their rules although it's always tempting to look behind the next corner ...
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8293)
It seems the rot may be setting in here too. See below a brief message I received from Mike Ma a few days ago:
"We are now at Sandaoling. I was told by Mr.Fu who comes from the Open Cast Administration Office and escorted our last trip at Sandaoling that they have planned to buy six diesels this year to replace the surface lines transportation since the Chinese New Year."
(Jim Colley, Steam_in_China 8291)
Diesels Will be coming in mid Jan 2010, but not for one trip and will use diesel from National station to South station and use in a new coal mine line.
I will get some detail in March when I am going there.
(Xuejun Liu , Steam_in_China 8292)
Steam and diesel mixture on both lines, Tiebei and southern line.
Yesterday (Feb. 20th) they tested a train from the southern line with one diesel and later with two diesels. Both tests failed, the diesels struggled short before the level crossing and the second train on the level crossing. They needed to be rescued with steam. Unfortunately this won't help, they'll just take shorter trains (which are still 30% heavier/longer than SY hauled trains).
By November (opening of a new deep mine) they'll have six diesels and about three to four SYs. In April they want to open the new line to the new power plant (west of the old one).
Last train today (Feb. 21st): a double headed steam train ...
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8287)
Two diesels are now at work on the deep mines' lines.
(Ameling Algra, Steam_in_China 8276)
From Bernd Seiler:
ZouchengDuring Chinese New Year holidays they cut the steam activity down to one QJ only. This QJ is not used for line service any more. It is shunting in the power plant (Dianchang on the map). As the coal demand dropped down due to the economic crises they'll probably not use a QJ in line service any more.
Very quiet here as well. They still use the class QJ on the Yuzhou line. However, there are only 3 to 4 trains a week to Yuzhou, and some of them are diesel hauled already. So your chance to catch a QJ-hauled train in daylight are about ten to 15%. No other steam loco leaves the depot, just stand-by locomotives. The production is down here as well.
Their QJ is still shunting and stand-by, but their DF4B almost never failed ...
(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8264)
Peter Semmelroch has sent some pictures of maps of Xingyang showing the brickworks railway. He has found the maps to be extremely useful to direct taxi drivers in the area. Two of the maps have been added to the Xingyang entry in the Steam Lines section.
More on Jalainur
I had a meeting with the engineer in charge of locomotive maintenance and overhauls (and locomotives are steam locomotives in Zhalai Nuoer). It is true: in August they'll stop all railway activities into the pit, the other lines will be dieselised by then.
Current situation: in the pit 13 locomotives in use, other lines 8 locomotives in use. From February they'll continue to run some spoil trains, but not as many as before. We've seen one spoil train only.
The spoil trains will be additional to the coal trains. About 5 more locomotives will be used, so almost 20 should be in use in the pit from mid-February plus 7 or 8 for the underground mines/power plant services.
In August they'll start to lift the track and this will be done by steam hauled steam cranes. So there will be some steam action in the pit after August, but declining. Trucks should do all the work, they'll bring out coal and overburden.
The first two diesels will put in service in March 2009 and replacing 2 SY on the lines to the underground mines. By August they plan to replace all steam locos to the underground mines by diesel. That's the plan for now, thing may change, but I'm not optimistic at all.(Bernd Seiler, Steam_in_China 8170, 8175)
Jalainur opencast mine
Adrian Freeman and Bernd Seiler both report no spoil trains operating on January visits.
Planned end of rail working in Jalainur opencast mine
The news from visitors, guides and tour organisers is that operations will end in August 2009.
On a visit in early November, Mike Ma was told 7 diesels were on order for the second half of 2009 with possibly 3 in an initial batch. Subsequent reports suggest diesels will arrive in April 2009.
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