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Steam in China, March/April 2002

Peter Odell

Pingdingshan, Luohe-Fuyang, Anyang, JiTong, Tiefa, Shenyang Local

China Rail - General

Undesireable new development is enforced use of X-ray machines at entry of major rail stations. Previously they seemed to be optional.
On departure (Apr.11th, 13:00, Beijing Main Station) old October 2001 timetables were still being sold all over, no sign of the new timetable.
South of Beijing (Anyang, Luohe, Pingdingshan) long distance trains were more crowded than I`ve ever before seen. Hard seat passengers were being "pushed in" one by one on most services.

Pingdingshan (Mar 18th-20th 2002)

Pingdingshan Sketch Map

This is only a rough guide map based on official town/rail map.

Passenger timetable (as displayed at local railway`s Zhongxin station)

Pingdingshan- 13th mine

303 305 301   302 304 306
06:00 13:40 21:50 Zhongxin 02:00 10:00 18:10
      Tianzhuang      
07:10 14:50 23:00 Shisan __ guang (13th mine) 00:50 08:50 17:10

Pindingshan-Baofeng-Gouzhuangquan

103 105 101   102 104 106 102
07:40 13:30 19:15 Zhongxin 06:50 12:00 17:50  
08:38 14:28 20:15 Baofeng 05:58 11:07 17:04  
      Gaozhuang 05:00 10:08 15:56 21:42
09:45 15:35 21:26 Ting __ zhuang ("Gouzhuangquan")   09:55 15:49 21:36

Trains stop at all stations, loads are 7 coaches. Fare to ═13th mine╬ 2.5Y, 4.6Y/ 4.8Y to Ting __ zhuang, the end of the other line. Intermediate timings of 8 stops of train 305 (but I`ve copied only 7 stops) are 13.46/47, 50/51, 55/56, 14.03/04, 10/12, 22/24, 31/32, 14.40/41.
On 105 we stopped at a large village. Train girls translated it as Lianwanchan (also a mine west), a colliery as Dazhuangquan (15:25) and the 15:35 terminal Gouzhongquan. Train 106 stopped at Baofeng 16:55/59 wb 5 min early.

The seven coach sets have steel meshed windows but some vestibules/vans have open windows platforms. Lines are generally flat and trundle but trash away from frequent stops especially from mine mine/station II on east line into Pingdingshan.

Passengers seen were worked by :

Pingdingshan Zhongxin station is 2-3 km north of CNR main station. Easiest train access to system is cross platform interchange at Baofeng or Yuganying.

The "hotel first grade" first biulding on right in Zhongxin station sqare has doubles for 80Y. But despite having name on door in English denied to take us on day1 we waited for shift change and got in on 2nd night. We were directed to the (foreigners) grand hotel at 180Y 23-25 minutes walk half way to CNR station. Straight down out of Zhongxin station, turn right at green 4 storey (police?) hotel, turn left just after the badge over stream. Hotel is 500m on right. Hot water and telephone(!) in bathroom.

Locomotive List (from depot workshop board and observations)

SY 0276 : dumped
SY 0367 : dumped
SY 0758 : listed dumped but seen active
SY 0783 : listed dumped but just looks oou
SY 0854 : oou
SY 1002 : active
SY 1003 : boiler off - retube
SY 1010 : active
SY 1209 : active
SY 1687 : active

JS 5644 : active
JS 6225 : overhaul - stripped
JS 6252 : active (Baofeng)
JS 6253 : active
JS 6292 : active, new purchase
JS 6429 : repairs
JS 8054 : not seen, new purchase
JS 8057 : active
JS 8062 : active, new purchase
JS 8065 : overhaul
JS 8068 : active, new purchase
JS 8120 : active, highly decorated
JS 8122 : active

QJ 2035 : active, deflectorless
QJ 6450 : active (Baofeng)
QJ 6690 : not seen, new purchase
QJ 6786 : active, new purchase
QJ 6813 : active
QJ 7186 : active, deflectorless

All locos face west. All locos seen also visually except JS8054 and QJ 5590. No diesels listed or seen.

English speaking depot guide explained 3 locos aquired in 2001 and 2 in 2002 but gave numbers of 6. JS 6252 and QJ 6450 were seen at and west of Baofeng on both Mar 18th and 20th but not at Pingdingshan.

What works south from Pingdingshan Dong to Wugang (CNR diesels? Luohe Xi QJs?) and north to Yuxian ? Are QJ 6690 and JS 8054 subshedded at Yuxian or does it have its own locos as in an CRJ , page 634 (1997).

Taking photos

No spectacular postions. Suggestions :

Tianzhuang yard west end is the place to be for a continual JS-SY-QJ parade. Passing through on westbound passenger 304 about 09:40 with SY1002, 0758/1010/6253/6813/7186 were all standing on adjacent yard roads facing west. Alas I didn`t alight for the fot in bright sun and the next day was overcast. Another regret! Alighting 304 at 10:00 JS 8122 soon followed on loaded coal at 10:30 and 6253 at 10:45.
An afternoon session at Tianzhuang failed to provide a 5-6 loco line up despite constant moves. JS8068 arrived tender first at 17:00 on 55-60 coal loads. And as the sun sank the beast I had been waiting for : 7186 pulled in from the east at 17:20 on a mixed load of 59 tanks/ wood/containers/coal etc, split its load and headed west on about 17:30.

At night there are continual chime whistles to be heared at Pingdingshan. What a place to be! It reminded me of 1997 at Rizhao

CNR line Luohe-PingdingshanDong is electrified, locos change at Pingdingshan Dong. In addition to the long distance trains published in the CNR timetable (e.g.2505 and 2567 from Beijing), there are some unadvertised passenger trains, too :

Don`t ask me where "Pingdong" is !

Summary

This incredible place has all 3 classes of steam including QJ with and without deflectors working together and offers a passenger service to rival CNR between 2 major Chinese cities!

LuoheXi-Liangbatai/Wuyang (Mar 20th 2002)

At 15:15 armed with a town plan and a taxi we set out to find mythical LuoheXi station and the fabled 16:15 to Liangbatai (who? where?). About 2 km off the left bottom side of the town plan we came across a standard gauge level crossing. In the distance (another 1 km) could be seen an exchange yard/ depot with at least one steam and a QJ going down light engine to ???. The crossing attendant and taxi driver were fully aware of our need for a 16:15 train but ═MeiYou╬s predominated. I asked the taxi driver to proceed to the clearly visible depot but he charged past and dropped us at the main station booking office at 16:00! No ticket to Wuyang was forthcoming. So we had to abandon our quest and leave Roger Blundell and Florian to carry on the good work. We got on 4741 instead (Luohe-Fuyang line).

Luohe-Fuyang (Mar 20th/ 21st 2002)

Passenger service as shown on Zhoukou station board. 4741/4742 are in Oct 2001 timetable, too.

6071 4741 km   4742 6072
07:15 16:50 0 Luohe 08:51 20:45
08:51
09:03
17:56
18:08
  Zhoukou 07:35
07:40
18:38
18:58
10:13/16 19:08   Shenqiu 06:30 17:18/20
11:00/13   141.8 Jieshoushi   16:23/33
12:08/11     Taihe   15:29/32
13:22(appr.)   201.6 Fuyang Xi   14:35(appr.)
13:35   208.5 Fuyang   14:20

Additional stops/stations : timetable shows 10 further stops between Luohe and Shenqiu, another 10 stops between Shenqiu and Fuyang Xi.

Loads : 4741/4742   11 coaches, 6071/6072   7 coaches

Observations

4741 (Mar 20th,21st): box (departed 16:45 on 20th)

6071 (Mar 21st) : Luohe-Jieshoushi : box (DF4 ?) 3246
6071 (Mar 21st) : Jieshoushi-FuyangXi : QJ 519
6071 (Mar 21st) : Fuyang Xi-Fuyang : QJ 519 (tf)
6072 (Mar 21st) : Fuyang-Jieshoushi : QJ 519
6072 (Mar 21st) : Jieshoushi-Luohe : box 3246

Box 3246 and QJ 519 both had 1984 builder plates ...
Infrequent freights all had QJs. The 2 loads we saw had 49 and 49+van respectively. Engines QJ 1271, 6901, 7006. At Zhoukou a line to southeast looks more than just an industrial spur

South of Luohe the most amazing heart rending sight of the bash! A QJ at sunset plodding up a 2-3 km long horseshoe viaduct over the mainline with 55-60 on. Big regret I didn`t stay on to try to fot this ! Prints invited if anyone does. I presume this concrete viaduct over the south main line links Fuyang line to Luohe Xi and Wuyang.

Facilities :
Luohe : just southwest of Luohe small stabling point including coaling crane but no station. Zhoukou : 2km southwest of station had 2 QJ (no sign of dumped locos in a repair/ storage compound at north east end).
Jieshoushi : just a turning triangle at east end, presume FuyangXi locos work out and back.
Fuyang Xi : north side of line 1 km east of station, contained 506, then 519 plus one other QJ which came off and took at short freight along branch line to north at 14:30.

Suspect not wise to alight 4741 at Shenqiu. Appears to be just farming area, nowhere to stay. Zhoukou hotel straight across and up from station, turn right after 8 min (opposite street market on left). Hotel is 2nd /3rd door on right. Double 120Y, warm water pm.

Anyang (Mar 22nd 2002, 03:24-17:30)

Service on branches to west neither in Oct 2001 timetable nor on departure board at Anyang. 2 early morning attempts to buy ticket to Lizhen met by ═Mei You╬, 4 assorted boxs on the depot and JS 8064 as stationary boiler clearly not moved for weeks. No sign of the other JS or any other steam. While observing 07:00-10:00 ═steam whistles╬ could be heared in the west of the city. However 3 coaches sat in the platform, a box coupled on and left north at 07:20.

Box and 3 coaches ran in from north end at 09:55. Box uncoupled and no one got in the 3 coaches. So certainly 951 (of Apr 2000 timetable) doesn`t run but 07:20 out agrees with timings of 955 (of Apr 2000 timetable). These timings were still in use Mar 2001 when Florian Menius visited. Draw your own conclusions !

JiTong Line (Mar 23rd-Apr 5th 2002)

Sangendalai

New line goes off at east end about 2 km out. Various points and lines still to be laid on ballast. In station area no sign of stock/locos/freight. So clearly not yet open. It will be quite a large interchange with 3-5 lines and assorted sets of crossovers.

Linxi-JingPeng

Only general comments neccessary. The best news is you can still get 0.5Y back on beer empties making it only 1.5Y per bottle in Reshui. Worst news is "Chifeng Pijiu" is now "Chifeng Beer".
Traffic levels fluctuate as usual but a general pattern seemed to be more uphills on Reshui side am and more uphills JingPeng side pm. As expected new loops have made both sides even better with ever more foto possibilities. The challenge - not satisfactory achieved - to get trains on 2 levels on same pic in sun ... and snow.

Having had most weather including hail on previous visits (May & Sept) I expected bitter cold but intense wind which blows you over, duststorms and sandstorms (which rain down on your hat like hail) were not appreciated. Overnight snow on easter Sat (Mar 30th) was perfect in bright sun till melted by 11:00 am, ground remained dry and by 14:00 we were sheltering from gusts of dust! On the viaduct side what a remember as grassland has been cultivated leading to dirt storms at viaduct, too.

Noted the "MeiLe Hotel" clearly marked in English, north side of road about 500m west of Railway Hotel. We stayed 12 nights at the green brick 4 storey hotel next to the railway hotel. Double rooms only 80Y, it is usually 120Y (perhaps 80Y is off season tariff). Only problem here is waking staff and going in (gates locked - climb fences) when arriving on either steam passenger. Opposite on south side of road old buildings being demolished - not for another shine hotel I hope ! Someone has to get it over to them that we come for steam not trains! Or they will have a lot of empty hotels when boxs arrive.

Cab Riding

As feared crews (especially firemen) now hold up 2 or 3 fingers when you ask and indicate it applies to all 3 on the cab. I decided not to set a precedent, refused two at Linxi and instead rode free (with 11 others) in the van to Daban giving my 199th and 200th China locos (7009+7112). A few days later I relented, accepted 2 finger offer from the driver at JingPeng. Alighted at Linxi and found it was 200Y and not 20Y!
In the last 38 years I`ve had cab rides in UK/DB/SNCF/TCDD/USA/EAR/CFM/SAR/China etc. Not once has money changed hands. As a 25NC driver I have given countless cabrides to Germans/Aussies/Japs/Americans/English and never received or expected more than a few fots/video or six pack! I`ll wait in S.A. for the Chinese gricers ...

The Mafia

Clearly not the manace I had been fearing. We booked 4 nights, then 7 more, then 1 more at the same hotel in Reshui and saw no sign of them till at 18:00 on day 8 when D20374 sped crazily down the main street. I was beginning to fear they would find me. On day 9 and other days later they would stop opposite the hotel about 10:00 and use the publih phone booth. That afternoon, I saw D20374 pestering 2 combis at Shangdian tunnel mouth view when I was hitching to Reshui. On 10th or 11th day Anita watched from hotel bedroom as they chased a combi across the river and pestered them at the first level crossing. On return to the hotel at 18:50 on day 11, I found D20374 parked outside and the 2 men trying to make Anita pay upstairs in the bedrooms. At last I could act. Being dark I easily emptied the pockets full of tacks and nails I had brought from S.A. under D20374`s tyres, got out the camera and started fotting Erdun and Wenzhong. They showed me their little red books whick I knocked out of their hands into the flower bed. I shook hands with both, showed them the Chinese word for criminal and offered not to report them if they paid me 2000Y. The little one held his book over his face and ran off into a guest room to avoid the 2 of us fotting them. The big one phoned the police (to complain I`d knocked his little red book around) who arrived immediately. I explained (or tried to) to the police these men should be handcuffed. Nothing happened. Big one started indicating he wanted my film (fots of him, but hid film in bedroom). D20374 sped off, police left!
One hour later I went down to extend for a 12th night. The same police man also "popped in", said nothing and we never saw police nor D20374 again. If the photos come out, I`ll ensure that Hans Schaefer receives copies. It seems best form of defence is attack. China TV is daily sowing criminals in handcuffs for stealing grain etc. Could China TV do an expose? Finally, we both fear if gricers want to waste money on unneccessary uides and minibuses to get level crossing shots I wouldn`t even consider, then it is thir own fault to pay !

Daban

An afternoon (Mar 28th) saw deflectorless QJ 6984 as pilot and a double header arrive from east. The shed dump contained 2388+2706 as wrecks, 2645+3073 in compound with parts missing. Another unidentified wreck presumed to be 6135 (see F.M. Sept 2001) plus 6795, 6844.

Following locos were seen working out of Daban : 6110/25, 6230/74, 6301/51/88/89, 6483, 6517/72/76/80, 6630/38, 6760/63, 6828/40/78, 6925/78/81/86/92/6/7/8, 7002/7/9/12/40/1, 7112/37/43.

Various people emerged from Daban loco on foot and motorbike to sell/give me assorted badges. In return I showed them fots of steaming 2000 25NCs - which they all wanted! But declined when I held up five fingers!

Zhelimu

Passenger 6051 was box from Zhelimu to Tongliao. No steam seen on Tongliao depot. Deflectorless QJ 6572 on Zhelimu shunt. Surinai (145kms from Tongliao) is water stop, sports facilities to pump/load a full train of oil tankers. QJ 6358, 6478, 6978 were seen at and east of Chabuga.

Passenger Trains

23/03/2002 : 6051 : Benhong-Baiqi QJ6304, Baiqi-Haoluku QJ6564, Haoluku-Daban QJ 6389
23/03/2002 : 6052 : Chabuga-Daban QJ 6911, Daban-Haoluku QJ 6389
05/04/2002 : 6051 : Haoluku-Daban QJ 6840, Daban-Chabuga QJ 7002, Chabuga-Zhelimu QJ 6996
05/04/2002 : 6052 : Zhelimu-Chabuga QJ 6751

Pleased that 4 of the 7 passengers I rode produced new QJs with further potential of QJ 6751 and 6301. 7002 out of Daban being my 124th (and last?) QJ.

Tiefa/ Diaobingshan (April 6th-8th 2002)

Passengers as before. Complete timetable is (Thanks to David Longman,too. FM) :

Diaobingshan-Wangqian

201 203 205 213 207 209 211   202 204 214 206 208 210 212
01:29 06:28 09:28   14:51 18:32 22:57 Diaobingshan 07:08 08:45   13:56 18:14 21:54 00:30
01:37/38 06:38/00 09:38/40   15:01/03 18:42/43 23:07/08 Sanjiazi 06:49/58 08:34/35   13:44/46 17:36/04 21:48/49 00:19/20
01:42/43 07:04/06 09:44/45   15:07/08 18:47/48 23:12/13 Dajiang 06:43/45 08:28/30   13:39/40 17:30/32 21:43/44 00:14/15
01:48/49 07:11/13 09:50/51   15:13/15 18:53/54 23:18/19 ___ 06:36/38 08:21/23   13:33/34 17:23/25 21:37/38 00:08/09
01:52/53 07:16/17 09:54/55   15:17/18 18:57/58 23:22/23 Qiaonan 06:32/33 08:17/18   13:29/30 17:19/20 21:33/34 00:04/05
| 07:24/32 | 12:40 15:25/33 19:05/13 23:30 Diaobingshan | | 10:40 13:14/22 17:04/12 21:18/26 23:57
02:08 07:52 10:10 13:00 15:53 19:33   Diaobingshan 06:16 08:02 10:20 12:54 16:44 20:58  

Diaobingshan-Dongguantun

401 403 405 407 409 411 413   402 404 406 408 410 412 414
  06:40 11:30 14:11   18:30 21:20 Diaobingshan 02:18 07:54 10:03   17:26 18:00  
  07:18/19 12:08/09 14:46/47   19:02/03 21:52/53 Faku 01:45/46 07:14/22 09:23/25   16:45/48 17:27/28  
00:30 07:53/58 12:40/42 15:18/20 16:14 19:31/32 22:21/22 Xiaokang 01:15/17 06:43/46 08:50/52 14:48 16:08/11 16:58/59 23:05
00:43 08:19 12:57 15:41 16:32 19:47 22:37 Dongguantun 01:00 06:22 08:29 14:30 15:50 16:40 22:50

Diaobingshan-Daqing

301 6686 303 6684 6688 307 309   302 304 6683 6687 308 310 6685
01:40 05:24 07:16 09:41 15:05 17:31 22:45 Diaobingshan 00:46 06:21 09:21 13:22 17:22 19:06 20:12
01:50/51 05:32/35 07:26/28 09:51/52 15:15/16 17:41/51 22:55/56 Sanjiazi 00:35/36 06:11/13 09:09/11 13:10/12 17:10/12 18:55/56 20:01/02
01:55/56 | 07:32/33 09:56/57 15:20/21 17:55/56 23:00/01 __ __ 00:30/31 06:05/07 09:03/05 13:04/06 17:04/06 18:50/51 19:56/57
02:02/03 05:44/45 07:39/41 10:03/04 15:27/28 18:02/03 23:07/08 Xiaoqing 00:23/24 05:57/59 08:55/57 12:56/58 16:56/58 18:43/44 19:49/50
02:06 05:48 07:44 10:07 15:31 18:06 23:11 Daqing 00:20 05:54 08:52 12:53 16:53 18:40 19:46
  06:28   10:42 16:11     Tieling     08:16 12:15     19:08

Diaobingshan-Daming

101 103 105 107 109 111   102 104 106 108 110 112
01:06 06:40 09:15 14:39 18:20 22:31 Diaobingshan 01:16 06:32 08:57 13:44 18:03 22:11
01:16/18 06:50/02 09:25/27 14:49/51 18:30/32 22:41/43 Sanjiazi 01:04/06 06:20/22 08:45/47 13:33/34 17:34/53 22:00/01
01:51 07:37 10:02 15:25 19:06 23:17 Daming 00:31 05:47 08:10 12:58 17:00 21:27

The 3 CNR trains continue with their CNR diesels, not SY as one recent report. CNR timetable page 202 shows 6683-6688 incorrectly. They all go to/from Diaobingshan. Maybe 6683/6684 split at Tieling, one part going to Kaiyuan.

Diaobingshan station has an internet cafe, the hotel on right outside station still offers 160Y doubles and I still don`t know what is on offer on 2nd and 3rd floors for 120Y and 140Y ...

Train 203 : changing loco at Sanjiazi could be frequent - 22 min booked. Passenger locos noted : SY 0063, 0393, 0435, 0665, 0860, 0979, 1771. Further engines : SY 1147, 1255, 1749, 1764, 1769, 1770. Also JS 5029 stored outside the carriage works 2.9km out on Dongguantun line.

The Daqing hump shunt is now CNR box.

Shenyang Local Railway (April 9th 2002)

Alight Yintaizi 07:05. SY 0537 sinnering in local yard just south east of CNR station. At 08:00 SY 0111(tf) and 1 coach arrive from local rlwy, people get off. SY 0537 couples on and departs with passengers (including us) at 09:10. Very pleased to be getting new locos and track on this ═abandoned╬ railway only 125 minutes after alighting. My 212th (and last ?) China loco.

Fare 2Y, pay on train. Kilometer posts scarce. Post 7 is just north of mine station with 2 road closed up shed (Qiantun ?). Further stops at 09:40, 09:45, 09:48 (mine, "Qiantun" ?), 09:55 and at 10:12 run through 3 track ex colour lights disused station and mine. By now CNR parallel again on west side. At 10:18 pass a siding connection to a mine and arrive in Hushitai (parallel to CNR and 0.7km north of station) at 10:21.

SY 0537 coals, runs round and couples to coach. Lady conductor says it returns to Yintaizi at 14:40. No other passenger stock or locos seen on the system! Only a handful of coal trucks at some mines. Yintaizi and Qiantun appeared to have no loco coaling facilities.

At Yintaizi noted most/all freights electric but various passengers still diesel. In approximately 65-75 min at least eight electric southbound freights were noted in procession. And throughout the bash passenger trains ran to time ! A bit different to South Africa!

Further sightings

Oral info received from Paul Colun/ Dave Longman met en route


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© 2002, Peter Odell