Steam in China , August-October 2001
Part II : Northeastern China
||Inner Mongolia & Shanxi
||JiTong Railway , Shuozhou-Shenmu , Yinta-Hequ , Dongsheng , Wuhai
||Chengde , Yebaishou , Beipiao , Tonghua , Xinzhan , Da`an Bei , Shuangyashan , Changchun
Florian Menius and Thorge Bockholt report on
a tour to China in August, September and October 2001.
Bejing , Aug 25th, Sep 17th,
Oct 8th 2001
NY 6 : In contrast to earlier sightings ("dumped engines"), Beijing shed contained at least 4 NY6 in ex-works condition. NY6s are said to be special engines for VIP trains e.g. for politicians, important members of the communist party...
NY 7 continue to haul K263 and K 264 (Beijing-Baotou-Beijing) between Beijing and Kangzhuang. The Beijing- Ulanbator and Beijing-Ulanbator-Moskva expresses are exepted to be NY7 hauled, too. In contrast to the Chinese timetable, K23 (Beijing-Ulanbator) leaves Beijing on Saturday (not on Tuesday). Trains :
DF10F : Beijing depot has got a couple of DF10F double-units.
Together with DF11 from the same depot, they haul passenger trains towards
K 3 : Beijing 07:40 - Nankou - Moskva (Wednesday only)
K 23 : Beijing 07:40 - Nankou - Ulanbator (Saturday only)
K 4 : Moskva - Nankou - Beijing 15:33 (Monday only)
K 24 : Ulanbator - Nankou - Beijing 15:33 (Friday only)
CNR : Beijing-Chengde
Beyond Huairou, the line is worked by Chengde based diesels exclusively.
Dongmiaohe depot no longer has got own engines. Passenger trains have DF4
(both green and orange ones), freight trains either DF4 (green) or BJ+BJ
Between Beijing and Huairou DF7 and DF8B can be seen on freights, too.
CNR : Fengtai - Shacheng
This highly spectacular, electrified mainline is worked by French 8K electrics (Fengtai and Datong depots) on freights and DF4Cs on passengers. Nankou based (!) DFH5s and Fengtai-DF7 shunt at Sanjiadian. DF7 work pick-up freights along the old line e.g. to Yexi.
Train K217 (advertised Beijing-Baotou) operates Shijiazhuang-BeijingXi-Baotou. YW may not be available at Beijing, but upgrading on board is no problem.
GKs and GDR-built NY1003 diesels were seen in use.
Sightings Beijing Area (depots in brackets, if noted)
||0006, 0007, 0008, 0010 (all Beijing, ex-works condition)
||0640(Nankou), 0643(Nankou), 2407(Tianjin), 2531(Tianjin), 4404, 5013(Fengtai)
||0030(Tianjin), 0031, 0032, 0136(Tianjin), 0155(Beijing), 3025(Tianjin)
||0017(Fengtai), 0056(Fengtai), 0218(Fengtai), 0242(Beijing), 3067
||0010, 0063, 0111, 0112, 0114, 0115, 0127, 0131, 0148, 0164, 0316, 0317
||0075(Nankou), 0095(Nankou), 0188
||0066, 0077, 0087 (all steelworks)
Chengde Steelworks Branch , Aug
26th-27th, Oct 9th-11th 2001
Chengde-Chengde Xi-Shuangtashan section (the "bank")
Business as usual. Large deflectored JS 6368 was in use - a very fine sight. 6-7 uphill trains during daylight (06:00-18:00).
Shuangtashan- Gantang (Steelworks Yard)
7-8 km long section worked by single SY or JS. Uphill towards the steelworks with much trash. Trains are longer than between Chengde and Shuangtashan. 2 trains with the usual 11-13 cars are remarshalled at Shuangtashan and become 1 train west of Shuangtashan. So, frequency is about half that of Chengde-Shuangtashan section.
Some 5km west of Shuangtashan, the line crosses the river on a large, photogenic bridge. 2-3 SYs shunt in the Steelworks Yard.
Access : The well-known No.5 bus terminates at Gantang, the village near the steelworks. Buses to the Steelworks ("Tiechang") are suitable as well. Fare from Chengde is 1.5Y.
New Steelworks Line
On Oct 9th 2001, Thorge tried to trace the proposed "new steelworks line". Along the whole steelworks branch between the summit and Gantang no possible connection to a new line was found or under construction. Along the first 5km of the Chengde-Longhua line, there was no construction work for a new river bridge or line, too.
In addition to the Beijing-Wulanhaote express and the Chengde-Tongliao passenger, two pairs Chengde-Longhua remain (BJ hauled). Two unadvertised return workings Chengde-Shanbancheng exist, too.
Locomotives (all diesels Chengde CNR depot)
SY 1765 was noted the "wrong way" : funnel first towards Chengde!
||5720, 6216, 6217, 6227, 6368(ld), 6403
||0048, 0533, 1422, 1493, 1522, 1753, 1765(supershine)
||3068, 3077, 3078, 3081, 3085, 3086, 3088, 3090, 3129, 3240, 3289
||0672, 0676, 0692, 0707, 0709, 1658, 9008
Accomodation We stood at the "Jingcheng Fandian" just left hand of Chengde station.
It has got both "hotel standard" rooms (120Y/Pers) and lüdian rooms (30Y/Pers). For the lüdian rooms, a shower (free of charge) in the hotels basement exists. Hot water is available 21:00-22:30 only.
Note that lüdians are fobidden for foreigners at Chengde.
Shenyang Bureau Dieselisation Strategy & Shenyang-Harbin Mainline , Oct 3rd, Oct 6th 2001
Based on observations and information received by local staff the following facts will lead to elimination of CNR steam in Shenyang bureau area :
- Energisation of Shenyang-Harbin (September 2001)
- Delivery of new DF8B diesels to Jinzhou depot
- Delivery of new DF5 diesels to remaining steam depots
CNR : Shenyang-Changchun-Harbin
Electrification of the Shenyang-Harbin section of the Beijing-Harbin mainline has been finished in September 2001. New SS4 electrics (double units) are being delivered to Sujiatun depot near Shenyang. Sujiatun, by the way, has been renamed and is called "Shenyang Nan" now but its depot code remains unchanged. Number of SS4 engines was still very low in early October (probably less than 10 engines in service). So, most of the freight trains between Shenyang and Harbin are/ were still diesel hauled :
On Oct 6th for example, 16 freights were crossed between Siping and Shenyang : 15 DF4C and 1 SS4. A SS4 hauled freight was seen between Siping and Changchun, too.
- Shenyang-Siping : Sujiatun based DF4C
- Siping-Changchun : Changchun based DF4B
- Changchun-Harbin : Harbin based DF4C
Any electrification equipment except for the masts looked very familiar - unsurprisingly, of course, with Siemens as CNR`s main contractor for the catenary. The weak point of the system seem to be the masts, the sole Chinese manufactured part (purely accidental, of course...). Some 5 kilometers south of Siping, I could note a mast of the northbound track simply having broken down! It had snapped off half-way up ... cleary indicating a quality problem of the masts.
Result was that the northbound track was blocked. Passenger trains used the southbound track bidirectionally whereas all northbound freights were looped along the line. Every station south of Siping had an DF4C hauled freight in its loop waiting for passage northwards...
Locomotives : Beijing-Harbin line + radiating lines
SS4 6051-6055 were seen at Changchun depot. They hadn`t entered yet on Oct 7th 2001.
||1149(cold, clean, inside Changchun depot), 0537(under steam, at Xintaizi)
||4108, 4171, 4175, 4173, 4177, 4182, 4210, 4295, 4309, 4312, 4342, 4351, 4400, 5023, 5025, 5314, 5316
||1675, 1690, 1692, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1812, 1847, 2186, 2267, 2305, 2351, 2425, 3293, 6089, 6155, 7170, 7174, 7175, 7461, 7462, 7463, 7468,
||0023(Harbin, DF4C), 2188(Shenyang), 2427(Shenyang), 2432(Shenyang), 2441(Tongliao), 4370(Jinzhou), 4421(Jinzhou), 4428(Harbin), 4442(Jinzhou), 5105(Harbin), 5108(Harbin), 5121(Harbin), 6499(Zhengjiatun), 7316(Zhengjiatun),
||0046, 0095, 0096, 0214, 0243, 0254, 0255, 0257, 0259, 3001, 3097, 3101 (all Shenyang)
||1030(Ch), 1065(Ch), 1066(Ch), 1122(Ch), 1396(Siping), 1426(Siping), 1488(Ch), 1610(Ch), 1710(Jinzhou)
||5123(ShenyangXi), 5151(ShenyangXi), 5361(Ch), 5362(Ch), 5364(Ch)
||0020, 0058, 0069, 0071, 0087, 0091, 0100, 0101, 0102, 0103
||0010(Ch), 0072(Ch), 0073(Ch), 0076(Ch), 0085(Ch), 0088(Shenyang), 0092(Ch), 0093(Ch), 0098(Ch), 0184(Ch), 0198(Shenyang), 0224(Ch), 0227(Ch), 0228(Shenyang), 0268(Ch)
||0003(Kaiyuan-Xifeng rlwy.), 0251, 0287, 0288, 0289 (all Shenyang)
||0555, 0571, 6051, 6052, 6053, 6054, 6055, 6058(all Sujiatun depot, 605x : built 2001 at Datong)
CNR Shenyang Bureau Dieselisation Strategy
With DF4C being released both at Sujiatun (by SS4 electrics) and Jinzhou (DF8B), they are being relocated to the remaing steam depots : Yebaishou, Fuxin, Zhangwu, Da`an Bei, Xinzhan and Tonghua.
Steam at Baicheng ceased in summer 2001 with the last duty handed over to Da`an Bei. At Yebaishou, Fuxin and Da`an Bei dieselisation is to be completed until Oct/Nov 2001. We got no information for Xinzhan, Tonghua and Zhangwu.
Many depots, not only the steam depots, have received 2000/2001-built DF5s during the past months eliminating most JS shunting duties. Exception is Tonghua with no new DF5 at all!
Yebaishou, Aug 28th, Oct 7th
Two 2001-built DF5s have replaced the JS (8237 & 8238) formerly shunting at Yebaishou yard. This fact was a big surprise as the JS had been in very good condition in Feb 2001 (nearly ex-works condition) - in contrast to the QJs. DF4 1088 is a new arrival at Yebaishou, too.
Latest information : Yebaishou shed managers claims to have received the final batch of DF4s in early October. (I cannot confirm this. On Oct 8th, Chaoyang station was still busy with 4 Yeb-QJs seen within 2 hours)
QJ operation was mainly unchanged compared with February 2001. The Chifeng line rarely sees any steam. Lingyuan line was not visited, the Chaoyang line offered a reasonable amount of steam workings. Fuxin based QJs still reach Yebaishou. Chaoyang pilot and the Chaoyang-Beipiao passenger both remain duties of Yeb-based QJs.
The QJs are in worriing condition. Even those few engines which were in acceptable condition in February are closer to "scrap engine" now than to a working engine. We noted not even 1 Yeb-QJ still having a front plate.
||3268, 6409, 6412(dumped), 6413, 6414, 6416, 6417, 6677, 6729
||1088, 1652, 1695, 2117, 2118, 2122, 2124, 2185, 2264, 2271, 7319, 7320,
7322, 7367, 7428, 7453, 7454, 7456
||1079(Chifeng based), 1835
Fuxin, YiXian-Beipiao, Sep 18th-21st, Oct 7th-8th 2001
At least 5 DF4Cs arrived at Fuxin depot until October 2001 : DF4 4399, 4440, 4444, 5095, 5098. The DF4C have taken over mainline duties between Fuxin/Jinzhou and Beipiao/Chaoyang reducing the steam-diesel split to some 50:50. The Beipiao-Beipiao Nan branch line was still 100% steam though. Timetables given in February 2001 for both passengers and freights were still valid. DF5s (including 1047, 1850) have taken over the shunting duties from JS at Fuxin.
According to railway staff at Beipiao Nan, all QJs are to be retired until Oct 30th 2001 !!
This time, we concentrated on the Beipiao Area and "Nanling Bank" (Beipiao Nan-Nanling), where about 50% of the trains needed a banker or double-heading. We`ll save telling details with the DF4 prospects in mind.
Locomotives (all diesels Fuxin CNR depot)
||6095, 6172, 6226, 6321, 6410, 6514, 6623, 6655, 6672, 6707, 6725(with deflectors again), 6752, 6753, 6776, 6991, 7117
||1646, 4399, 4440, 4444, 5095, 5098, 6193, 6195, 7204, 7205, 7429, 7460, 7473, 7474
Aiyouying Coal Mine, some 6km north of Qinghemen continues to use steam. SY 0036 was noted shunting at Aiyouying transfer yard on Sept 21st 2001.
Fuxin Power Plant has received at least 2 GK type diesels (unidentified). Steam may have ceased here (SY 0895 was reported there in 1997).
Zhangwu based QJs with freight trains to/from Zhangwu were seen both on Sep 21st and Oct 7th 2001 at Xinlitun station.
Tonghua, Sep 22nd-29th 2001
Compared with the other steam depots, Tonghua remained a "haven of steam". With - very surprisingly- no new DF5s delivered to Tonghua since 1998. In addition to DF4 5335, which had arrived in early 2001, only 1 further DF4 has arrived here (DF4 4366). Out of the "old" DF4s (4033, 4124, 4125, 4158-4160, 4230-4232) 4160 and 4230 weren`t in working order. Altogether 1 diesel fewer here than in March 2001!
Given condition of the JS and the minor dieselisation efforts, Tonghua stands much chance to remain sometime longer than the other depots...
See March 2001 Report. Compared with March 2001, there were even more JS hauled trains here due to the "missing" DF4. Some passenger trains are still JS hauled here. The new timetable for Tonghua (valid Oct 21st 2001 - April 2002) has got slightly revised timings. It enables the following JS passenger workings (in brackets our sightings):
- 4241 : Tonghua 08:10 - Hunjiang 09:12/09:20 (to Baihe, possibly new steam duty)
- 4245 : Tonghua 09:13 - Hunjiang 10:31/10:39 (to Linjiang, twice seen JS, once DF5)
- 6855 : Tonghua 06:34 - Hunjiang 08:13/08:22 (to Linjiang, possibly new steam duty)
- 6856 : Hunjiang 07:35/07:49 - Tonghua 09:37 (from Linjiang, twice seen JS, once F5)
- 6841 : Guosong 06:07 - Tonghua 07:26 (JS daily)
- 6842 : Tonghua 16:59 - Guosong 18:15 (JS daily)
This line was reported to be entirely dieselised for years. No longer ! On Sept 27th, a JS hauled freight left Hunjiang at 17:00 towards Linjiang. The following day, the Linjiang-Hunjiang passenger 6858 (arr. 16:12) arrived at Hunjiang behind JS ! These all were single observation that did not repeat on the following day !
Two DF5s in use on freights between Hunjiang and Songshuzhen now. They will cover virtually all (or most) daylight freights at Dayangcha. Local trains to Zazi and Sanchazi are unchanged JS hauled. The well-known 15:52 passenger (which sometimes works as a mixed, too) is still JS duty :
- 6865 : Hunjiang 15:51 - Songshuzhen 18:25
100% of freight trains are still hauled by Quanyang subshed based JS. Freight timings have not changed since my last visit in March 2001.
In addition to the freight trains, a mixed train between Songshuzhen and Quanyang operates, too. It is JS hauled as well and has got 1 YZ at the rear of the train. Official timings :
Note, that timekeeping of the mixed is very, very poor! We noted noted the northbound one some 20 minutes too early, southbound up to 1.5 hours too late.
- Mixed : Songshuzhen 05:43 - Xianrenqiao 06:40- Quanyang (appr. 10:00-11:00)
- Mixed : Quanyang 13:55 - Songshuzhen (appr. 18:30)
Inspired by an old FERN-EXPRESS report (Sept 1988, Florian Schmidt), we visited the Baihe line north of Songshuzhen this time. A spectacular section can be found here : the "Songhua River Gorge".
Songshuzhen(km74)-Yonghong(km80) : see March 2001 Report
Yonghong(km80)-Xianrenqiao(km99) : the line follows a wider rider valley, minor grades against southbound trains. 6 km south of Xianrenqiao the village Wanquan is situated (passenger stops here, but no station). Wanquan has got hot springs. Some villages are passed.
Xianrenqiao(km99)-Xiaoshan(km121) : the "Songhua River Gorge"
Xianrenqiao has got watercranes. North of Xianrenqiao the valley becomes more and more narrow. For the first 3 km, the line mostly flat still following the river paralleld since from Songhuzhen on. At km 103, the Songhua River is reached. A climb (2%o-15%o) against northbound trains starts, the line turns eastwards and follows the Songhua River through its gorge for the next 15km. The gorge is surrounded by some 200-300 high mountains with spectacular stone cliffs, width of the valley varies between 100 and 400m. Until km115, the line crosses the river on 9 photogenic bridges and passes 4 tunnels. About half-way between Xianrenqiao and Zhubaogang, the passenger halt "Wanniwaizi" (km 106) is situated. The station of Zhubaogang is reached at km 112. It is situated some 70-80 above the SonghuaRiver with its serpentines.
At km 116, the lines leaves the Songhua River Gorge again. Here, a diabolic 5km long 30%o incline starts following a narrow side valley eastwards. Maximum load for a JS here is 7 loaded wagons only! All trains longer than 7 wagons will be double-headed! Xiaoshan station is reached at km121.
Biggest problem in the gorge is the vegetation. Best spots are the riverbridges in the lower section whereas the "30%o -ramp" at Xiaoshan is absolutely unphotographable due to surrounding vegetation.
As mentioned before, freight trains usually are very short here (usually 2-6 wagons + caboose, sometimes even no wagons). In chronological order, JS hauled trains can be expected at the following times (for Zhubaogang) : 06:45/07:15(mixed nb), 06:45(sb), 09:20(nb), 11:20 or 12:10(nb), 14:40 or 15:20(sb), 16:10(mixed, sb)
Note that the afternoon mixed can run much later, sometimes not before 18:00.
Best basecamp for linesiding is Xianrenqiao. A tared path goes as far as Wanniwaizi. 3-wheel taxi (motuche) costs 10Y. Beyond Wanniwaizi, access on foot only!
Hotels/ Bathhouse : Xianreqiao has got 2 lüdians in front of the station (10Y/person). We stayed at the white 4-floor building (lüdian is on the 3rd floor). Rooms with view into the station are available. No shower but a very friendly "bathhouse" (4Y/pers.) is situated 300m along the main road, an internetcafe half-way between station and bathhouse (see map) and the "railway shop" just around the corner - what else do you need ?. At the "railway shop" you can buy nearly everything - from thermos flasks to knives and saws with the latter ones recommanded for killing trees and shrubs spoiling photography...
The line passes extensive woods. Limited photogenic potential. At km 127, Songjianhe is reached. It is a larger town, probably with better hotels whereas Quanyang is rather a village than a town with a "tielu lüdian" only. Pilot at Quanyang is JS 8106 (8306 refered to before, probably is a recording error). Quanyang subdepot (subdepot of Tonghua, no indenpendant depot code) - home of the 8xxx high-deflectored JS that handle all traffic north of Songshuzhen - is located north of the station.
Not visited but extensive birch woods likely. JS on freights used, too, but partly tender first. A freight train for Baihe leaves Quanyang at around 06:30.
Useful unadvertised trains :
4238/35 : Tonghua 12:38 - Jilin 20:05
4237/36 : Jilin 10:05 - Tonghua 18:06
Again, two previously unrecorded JS could be noted at Quanyang subdepot(JS 8106, 8156). Shunting duties remained unchanged at Tonghua(JS 8155, 8232), Hunjiang(JS 8231, 8233, 8234) and Songshuzhen(JS 8112).
The following JS - except for large deflectored JS 6304 all high deflectored ones - belong to Quanyang subdepot : JS 6304, 8103, 8106, 8108, 8109, 8112, 8156, 8158, 8199, 8200, 8208. JS 8103 and 8200 were in ex-works condition, 8108 and 8109 still have their decorations (red stars, brass lettered frontplates).
JS 6021 is dumped inside a fence at Tonghua wagon repair shop.
||5751(ld), 6021(ld, dumped), 6271(ld), 6306(ld), 6315(ld), 6366(ld), 6483(hd), 8040(hd), 8103(hd), 8106(hd), 8108(hd), 8109(hd), 8112(hd), 8155, 8156(hd), 8158(hd), 8198(hd), 8199(hd), 8200(hd), 8201(hd), 8208(hd), 8231, 8232, 8233, 8234
||0028(Meihekou, DF4C), 4033(Tonghua), 4039(Meihekou), 4054(Meihekou), 4060(Meihekou), 4067(Meihekou), 4124(Tonghua), 4125(Tonghua), 4158(Tonghua), 4159(Tonghua), 4231(Tonghua), 4232(Tonghua), 4366(Tonghua), 5335(Tonghua)
||1167, 1193, 1255, 1256, 1257, 1258, 1516, 1671, 1695, 5009, 5010
Xinzhan, Sep 30th- Oct1st 2001
Xinzhan depot has got some 10-15 QJs which are used on freight trains between Dunhua, Jiaohe and Jilin. We visited the Jiaohe-Dunhua section only. Operation is quite spectacular. Eastbound freights from Jiaohe to Dunhua face a more than 20km long, constant 9%o-11%o grade around Huangsongdian (often double-heading requested). In the other direction, the well known Dunhua-Taipingling bank garantees some good action.
Frequency of steam trains was very low - only about 2 steam hauled freights per day and direction. DF4C (Jilin depot) cover the other freight trains. DF4C 5147 is a new arrival at Jilin. Passenger trains have either DFH3, DF4C or orange DF4B (all from Jilin depot).
Biggest problem is the lack of photo spots. There are absolutely no acceptable spots for more than 100km east of Jiaohe ! Only Dunhua-Qiuligou is ok. QJ hauled trains are banked by Tumen based DF5 : Dunhua-Taipingling.
At Dunhua, freight trains still change locomotive (Jilin based DF4C or Xinzhan QJ westwards, Tumen based DF4B eastwards). 2 Tumen based DF5 shunt at Dunhua.
The following unadvertised trains operate (DFH3 or DF5) :
57005 : Jiaohe 07:24 - Xinzhan 07:52
57006 : Xinzhan 08:17 - Jiaohe 08:56
57007 : Jiaohe 15:25 - Xinzhan 15:55
57008 : Xinzhan 16:42 - Jiaohe 17:19
Accomodation : We stayed at a lüdian at Jiaohe (15Y), bathhouse 1 block away(3Y).
The QJs are well maintained. All - a rarity in China nowadays - still have frontplates, though not always the correct one. QJ 7084 for example has got the frontplate of QJ 7110. But anyway : looks nice.
All diesels from Jilin depot unless stated different. QJs from Xinzhan.
||6733, 7084, 7167, 7172
||2304, 2346, 3202(Tumen), 4080, 4082, 4094, 4098, 4099, 5147, 7469(Tumen)
||1758, 1759(both Tumen)
||0012, 0021, 0027, 0032, 0063, 0074, 0090, 0094, 0247
Huangnihe Forestry Railway is still in use. Ng track leaves Huangnihe north-eastwards. First kilometers parallel to the Dunhua line. Ng depot is visible from the standard gauge line. Forestry railway looks well used but dieselised.
Da`an Bei, Oct 2nd-3rd 2001
24 DF4s arrived at Da`an between July and October 2001. Further engines were soon expected. In early October 39 DF4s were present at Da`an Bei.
In contrast to the other steam depots belonging to Shenyang bureau, Da`an Bei has not received DF4C on an intra-bureau engine relocating basis. Da`an Bei got much older (1988-1990 built) DF4Bs than the mid-90s built DF4Cs from Sujiatun and Jinzhou. The "new" DF4s came from Guangzhou bureau (e.g. DF4 3756, 3758, 3877, 9004, 9007), Chengdu bureau (e.g.Kunming depot; DF4 3200, 3313, 3798) and Changchun depot (e.g. DF4 1524, 1727, 7467). It is not clear why DF4s from the other end of the country have been aquired ...
According to railway employees, the number of QJs will have been reduced to 6 working examples by Oct 30th 2001. Can`t be more than spare engines ...
As reported by Peter Patt (May 2001), DF5 have taken over the shunting duties from JS. JS are sill present as spare engines for DF5s.
The Taipingchuan line is 100% diesel, Baicheng line too. The remaining 15-20 QJs still worked some 40-50% of freights towards Ranghulu in early October. Furthermore, a few pick-up freights towards Songyuan were QJ hauled.
At the Ranghulu line all stations belonging to Harbin bureau have been "refurbished" during summer 2001. "Harbin bureau" means all stations from Lizhi on northwards. The old, yellow painted brickstone buildings got new, blue windows, white tiles were mounted onto the buildings` facades plus new roofs made of blue painted corrugated sheet iron ... Platforms are blue, white and red plaster now, new platform lightning with blue masts and yellow lamp-shades ... It can`t be uglier !! Incomprehensible how these nice stations have been ruined optically ! And all Chinese we talked with were happy about the new design of the buildings !
Da`an Bei : Near the well-known crossing between yard and depot, a bathhouse is located (2Y/pers).
The QJs were no longer in the shiny condition, Da`an Bei was known for. Most engines no longer had frontplates. It seemed as whether the "best" engines (e.g. the decorated ones) were the first to be withdrawn. Out of the 6 supershine QJs, we noted only the "Olympia-Locomotive" QJ 6809. QJ 6809 even still had its (blue) frontplate, but the brass letters have been removed. The ring around the smokebox plus the olympic rings were still present. A surprise was QJ 7180. Previously unrecorded at Da`an Bei, it was seen shunting at Changshantun. QJ 7180, though very dirty, is decorated (ring around smokebox door), too. It had no depotcode on its tender. So, it may be an industrial locomotive e.g. from the large factory east of Changshantun, too.
All steam locos listed below were under steam.
||6281, 6361, 6367, 6368, 6773, 6809(decorated), 6847, 6851, 6882, 6886, 6889, 6891, 7081, 7180(decorated, see note above)
||1098, 1472, 1524, 1543, 1549, 1727, 2162(Tongliao), 3200, 3283, 3284, 3313, 3315, 3488(Baicheng), 3551, 3756, 3759, 3798, 3877, 3985, 3987, 3988, 3989, 6075, 7467, 9001, 9004, 9007
||1029, 1811, 1812(2000), 1834(2001)
Shuangyashan, Oct 4th-6th 2001
A quite unpleasant location : broken down old industries, ruins everywhere, high unemployment and no prospects for a better future ... The people seem to be prepared to behave more violently towards each other than in other parts of China. If there would not be such a good steam worked line, I`d advise not to visit this area ...
100% steam during our visit. As reported before, the passenger trains are a class of its own here. Especially riding Shuangyashan-bound passenger trains is breathtaking, as you can stand on the first platform some 2m away from the smokebox of the hard working QJ an listen to it. No door or window between you and the engine. Such a ride is an unforgetable experience...
Freight : In contrast to my visit last year with almost no freight traffic, the system was worked at capacity in during our visit ! 5-7 freights trains in each direction along the main line during daylight were usual, some of these trains double-headed or banked plus various light engine workings. Once, even 2 "Diesel Motor Trolley" had to haul a short freight train due to a lack of motive power !
The Bafenchang-Shuangyang line`s passenger trains were noted QJ hauled. Bafenchang station, which is located just next to a power plant, has been renamed. New name is "Dianchang" (literally "Electricity Factory" = power plant). At Dianchang there is a small locomotive service point ("depot"), too.
Linesiding / Photospots
See March 2000 Report for Shuangyashan Area. Along the mainline, the Sifangtai-Liujing section offers some good spots with large dumps as backdrop. Beyond Liujing, the line is rather uninteressting. The first 5 km north of Xin`an are steeply graded against northbound trains. The passenger trains are hard worked here, too.
There are frequent minibuses along the parallel road at least as far as to Baoshan. They start in front of Shuangyashan CNR station.
In early October, sunrise was at 05:45 (early enough for the first morning passenger at Tudingshan !). Sunset around 16:30.
Some minor changes since my last visit (March 2000) only. It seems that Zhongxin is the lonely station along the railway`s network that sells tickets, Edmonson style ones, of course. The second ticket counter at Zhongxin station, that one equipped with an computer, sells tickets for CNR trains ex Shuangyashan CNR station !!
Zhongxin - Shuangxing
Bafenchang - Shuangyang
||Dianchang (ex Bafenchang)
Zhongxin - Fushan
Zhongxin - Lingdong
||0568, 1045, 1486
||3593(8-wheel tender), 3598, 6806, 6808, 6897, 6917, 7017, 7018, 7020, 7029, 7030
||1425, 1381, 1710, 1819, 1856, 4309, 7131, 9290, 9306 (all Jiamusi)
||0368(Sankeshu), 0385(Sankeshu), 0500(Sankeshu), 3086(Sankeshu)
||0128, 0182, 0235, 0236 (all Jiamusi)
||0169, 0172, 0197, 0333 (all Jiamusi)
Shuangyashan has become another town not allowing cheap accomodation for foreigners. About half-way between the station and the main road "Shuangyashan Binguan" is situated. Staff there is friendly - at least for a binguan. A double costs either 130Y or 70Y with the latter one having no in-room shower. But you can visit the bathhouse attached to the binguan. Hotel guests pay 5Y (instead of 10Y) here.
CNR : Jiamusi - Nancha (-Harbin)
Fast and express trains are hauled by Sankeshu based DF4D, freight trains by DF4B. All stations between Jiamusi and Nancha have been refurbished (or better "optically destroyed") in a similar pattern to Ranghulu-Lizhi. Nancha for example has got a pink station building with green windows now, the old-style pedestrian bridge is light blue now with a red roof ... uaaaarrrghhhh!!
Many bridges are beiing rebuilt between Nancha and Jiamusi, partly including realignment of the line. Soon, there will be nothing left resembling to steamier days ...
CNR : Jiamusi-Shuangyashan-Qianjinzhen, Xinyouyi-Baoqing
Passenger trains are hauled by Jiamusi based DF4B or DFH3, freight trains by DF4B. DFH5 shunt at Jiamusi, Fulitun and Shuangyashan. The Jiamusi-Fulitun-Baoqing fast train which runs along the recently opened, steam worked Xinyouyi-Baoqing branch line was seen DFH3-hauled at Fulitun. The possibility exists that the DFH3 is exchanged for an QJ at Xinyouyi - though this is not very likely. Lack of time prevented us from checking the Xinyouyi-Baoqing line.
4141 : Jiamusi 16:06 - Xinyouyi 18:09 - Baoqing 19:25
4142 : Baoqing 06:58 - Xinyouyi 08:19 - Jiamusi 10:26
Through trains to and from Shuangyashan :
Shuangyashan station has got a certain number of seats/berths for many trains ex Jiamusi including the number-changing through trains. Conclusion : you are able to buy tickets for connecting trains now! China is changing rapidly ...
- 4133/35, 4134/36 Jiamusi-Qianjinzhen fast train becomes 2095, 2096 Jiamusi-Shenyang-Xiliu at Jiamusi
- K684, K685 Jiamusi-Shuangyashan becomes 1439, 1440 Jiamusi-Beijing at Jiamusi. So, it is possible to go from Beijing to SYS without having to change train at Jiamusi
Changchun Tramway, Oct 6th 2001
Best access from Changchun main station is bus No.25 to Hongqi Jie(=Road). Get off at the second stop after passing the large freeway interchange crossing.
Changchun`s lonely tramway line has been completely rebuilt and reopened in Dec 2000. Each tramway station has got advertisements for the "New Changchun Tramway 54" including a map.
The tramway has received 10 new railcars. The 8-wheel high-floor vehicles (type "YK4-600") have 2 90kW drives and are designed for 130 passengers ! Builder plates indicate Dec 2000 as builderdate but not the factory ! The new railcars all wear advertisements. Livery is either pink or light green. Plastic-made longitudinal seats inside. Lyra pantographs. A employee is on bord : not for collecting the fare but for announcing the next station and opening the doors ! Availability of the new railcars is poor - only 4 out of 10 operated with the remaining cars stored at the depot. Availability of the older railcars was vitually 100% !
The Dalian built railcars still operate with few changes after refurbishment. Grey livery. The lonely self-made railcar is "catenary contol car" now and no longer used for passenger transport.
Best news is that the Japanese-built old railcars are still in service. They have been refurbished seriously and are in very smart condition. New interior with PVC covered floors, new passenger holding devices at the ceiling, wood veneer, new lights and new leather-covered longitudinal seats inside. Externally, the cars are in yellow and red livery - very smart !
Cars seen :
Japanese cars : 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207 (all in line use)
Dalian railcars : 701, 702, 703, 704, 705, 706, 707, 708, 709 (all seen in use)
New railcars (801-810) : 804, 805, 807, 808, 810 (808 inside depot, rest seen in use)
self-made : "caternary control car", unnumbered
Kaiyuan-Xifeng Local Line
On Oct 6th, only diesels (ex CNR, 1 DFH3 and 3 DFH5 including DFH5 0003) were seen at the local railway`s shed at Kaiyuan.
Shenyang Local Railway (Xintaizi-Hushitai)
Still steam here. On Oct 6th, two SYs including SY 0537 were noted under steam at Xintaizi station.
Visitors and Reports
or better "visitors and no report" ! Whereever we went - I am talking of "new" locations only, of course - we had to learn there had been some others before but we never had reports about these trips!
It really frustratring and annoying if you go somewhere you have no or almost no information about and you have to learn there that others had been there but did not write a report !
At Xianrenqiao for example, we heared about 2 Japanese visitors (in year 2001) who had visited Songhua Gorge. Even a little bit of information would have saved at least 1 day which had to be spent exploring areas which already had been explored before! A kind of wasting time and nothing else! Taking all information from reports of others (eg the Songhua Gorge freight timetable from my March 2001 report) but providing no at all ! Thank you very much !
The same story at Wuhai and "Nanling Bank" : visitors without reports! A certain period of time during the trip, I was in serious doubt whether I should write a report about the tour at all !
Well, we`ll stop critisising now with only a few days to go until the last state owned QJ will have been retired in northern Chine. Steamy days in China are over now! One more winter until we`ll have to look for another subject of interest !
Dresden, Oct 22nd 2001
Florian Menius, Thorge Bockholt
Acknowledgment to Bruce Evans for all the additional information received, espcially concerning the modern traction(s).
© 2001, F.Menius, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org , T.Bockholt, email: