Steam in China - News

Please read the announcement on the welcome page before proceeding (27th December 2014).

This page covers news from January 2014 onwards

Other news pages:

Steam News (2nd March 2015)


SY1047 and SY1581 in steam, SY1047 for the passenger trains and SY1581 for shunting and freight trains (seen at Sanyelian on Feb 28th). But the driver told us that the passenger trains will change to diesel from March 15th and they plan to use diesel for passenger train in next winter.

{John Raby is currently in Baiyin and has reported that the steam passenger service will end on 5th March, not 15th. MR}


SY1094 and SY1321 in steam, but only SY1094 for daily work and SY1321 was as the heating boiler for the engine shed. The work plan for steam may change everyday, so the steam may go to Tiehejinchang, Yaojie and Lvchang or have no work to do for whole day. The driver told us that they plan buy new diesels to replace all the steam in April, 2015.


Shibanxi: The passenger train for the local people were still running in the working days of every week, the time table of steam trains of Shibanxi is:

Trains for local people: 7:00 17:00 from Shixi

Trains for tourists: 9:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 (For weekends 8:00 16:00 17:00 added) from Sanjin.

The steam freight trains were all stopped.

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)


A link has been added to Keiichi Kii's website of 600mm, 762mm and 900m ng railways, Narrow Gauge Railways in China

Sandaoling, Pingzhuang (27th February 2015)

A report from Ben Kletzer on recent visits to Sandaoling and Pingzhuang

New Reports (February 14th 2015)

Reports from Peter Haworth (Rongshan, Pingzhuang, Jalainur, Fuxin, Fushun and Sandaoling) and John Raby (Honglu, Shibanxi, Rongshan, Sandaoling and Baiyin) both from November 2014 have been added

Pingzhuang and Yuanbaoshan (12th February 2015)

Currently 2 SYs are in use at Pingzhuang as the DF4s continue to give problems. Trip working to/from the CNR exchange sidings at Pingzhuang Nan is always by a DF4 unless both are out of action. JS8250 is still in service at Yuanbaoshan on coal trains, the passenger service having been suspended.

(Jun via John Raby)

Yuanbaoshan (19th January 2015)

JS8250 has returned to service following its collision with a road truck in October which badly damaged its tender. Currently it is being used on coal trains only, not the passenger service.

(Chinese guide Jun via John Athersuch)

New photos (12th February 2015)

Roger Croston has recently sent photographs from his visit to Sandaoling, Pingzhuang and Fuxin in March 2014. As these relate to the 2013/4 season, they have been added to that season's list of reports.

Wujiu and Fula'erji (15th January 2015)

Chinese guide Jun reports that one JS continues to be steamed daily at one of the Fula'erji power plants (presumably no 2) but sees little action and an SY is also steamed at Wujiu/Yakeshi but only when the diesel is in use (so presumably as a stand-by). At the beginning of October 2014 this was no 1546

YouTube Videos  (8th January 2015)

John Raby writes

During my last China tour in November 2014, I was fortunate to see the last trains at Rongshan (until now - itís still not clear if there will be more trains) and test runs of two steam-hauled coal trains on the new line at Sandaoling from Nanzhan - Shadunzi. It appears that the railway management there has decided that regular trains will be diesel hauled so unless a steam-hauled workers passenger is introduced, the use of steam on this line will be rare and may not include long coal trains.

Iíve placed 3 videos on YouTube:

This 11 minute video shows the last train at Rongshan (so far) on 13 November and is of our charter train with C2 219 from Rongshan to Yujiabian.

This 11 minute video shows the last real train (so far) on 9 November with C2 219 and a short train of bricks and sand (to seal up the mine at Yujiabian?)

This 9 minute video shows the two steam-hauled coal trains we managed to see on 19 and 22 November. On 19 November, we saw a tender-first train of fulls climbing out of Xibolizhan towards Nanzhan and on 22 November, a train of empties climbs from Nanzhan towards Shandunzi and is seen at the new loop between Nanzhan and Xibolizhan.

Sandaoling (6th January 2015)

A report from Dave Habraken on a visit over Christmas / New Year 2014/5

Steam News (5th January 2015)


Reported to currently have three locomotives in steam.

(Jun's friend Alan)

Steam News (4th January 2015)


This site is confirmed dead from at least July 2014, see

Steam News (3rd January 2015)


The passenger train has stopped to run. It has been replaced by buses now. Whether this is permanent or over the New Years Holidays only, is not known though, but we fear it is permanent. No info from Pingzhuang, which means it is probably 100% dieselised at the moment.


Wangying Mine is still closed after the accident that happened there weeks ago. As a result traffic and steam traffic levels are low. Over the last few days the following SYs have been reported in steam: 1319, 1320, 1359, 1378, 1395 and 1396.

(Peter Semmelroch)

New Report (August 29th 2014)

New Report (August 26th 2014)

Steam News (August 18th 2014)

Peter Semmelroch just got the info from a Chinese railfan, that US based Valley Railroad (Connecticut) which already operates ex. Knox Kane & Kinzua Railroad SY 1658m as ?3025? nowadays, has purchased another SY in China. It is SY 1385 from Jinzhou Heavy Machinery Factory (the Jinzhou near Dalian, not the Jinzhou near Nanpiao).

At the moment they seem to be looking for a place in China where 1385 can be fully overhauled according to US Standards. Aw Sujiatun was suggested but they have already sold many of the machines necessary to overhaul steam (For the recent cosmetic overhaul of JF886 the wheels had to be sent away for example). Now besides Sujiatun, Fuxin and Tiefa are considered as possible options.

There would then be 3 SYs in the US.
Besides SY1658m at Valley Railroad, there is SY1647m at New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway (?142?).
SY 1647m was originally also owned by Valley Railroad, but sold to New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway after a SY that had been bought by them went down in the Indian Ocean. This SY was said to be numbered 1698m.

New Report (July 12th 2014)

Steam News (July 2nd 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)
John Raby has just heard from Chinese steam guide Jun who organises his China Tours that 2 C2 locos are now in daily use at Rongshan to move coal from the mine with 2-3 return trains operating per day. The passenger service has not yet resumed but a caboose is attached to the coal trains for the miners' transport. The passenger trains are still planned to restart but no dates are available for that. The 2 locos top and tail the coal trains.

New Report (June 28th 2014)

Steam News (May 19th 2014)

I visited YuanBaoShan on May 18. The steam is back in action there, JS 8418 is in steam and working the passenger train. The JS 8250 is broken, it will be repaired and run soon.
The driver said the steam may run about half a year, hopefully to winter. Please refer to the photo I took:

(Pang Dawei)

New Report (May 16th 2014)

New Report (May 10th 2014)

Steam News (May 9th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)
Guangyuan Tourist office called on May 7th (11.30 local time). Regular operations have re-started on the Rongshan line as of May 7th, currently one round trip daily, serving the mines but with passenger accommodation attached. Previous arrangements for prospective travellers on the trains remain: a permit is required in advance from the tourist office.

Prospective visitors should bear in mind:
(i) there has been another knife attack at a railway station this week, the 3rd such incident in recent weeks.
(ii) 4 June is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
For both these reasons security is tight at present and this may affect or delay the granting of visas.

(Michael Reilly)

Steam News (April 18th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)
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.

(Michael Reilly)

New Reports (April 17th 2014)

Steam News (April 4th 2014)

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."

(Peter Semmelroch)

New Report (March 30th 2014)

Steam News (March 26th 2014)

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.

(Michael Reilly)

New Reports (March 24th 2014)

New Report (March 21st 2014)

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 site have lost their pictures. Let's have a reminder of how it was when there so many more locations to visit.

China visas (March 21st 2014)

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.

China visas (March 20th 2014)

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?

New Report (March 19th 2014)

New Reports (March 9th 2014)

Steam News (February 28th 2014)

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)

New Report (February 23rd 2014)

Steam News (February 23rd 2014)

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.

Steam News (February 18th 2014)

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!

(Pang Dawei)

Steam News (February 16th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)
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)

New Report (February 10th 2014)

New Reports (January 18th 2014)

Steam News (January 12th 2014)

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)

Steam News (January 5th 2014)

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.

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