Steam in China Feb / Mar 2007
by Ole Jensen
Jixi, Hegang, Jalainur, Fuxin
The plan for this winter trip was that we, Bo Lindhardtsen and
I, wanted pictures with snow and white exhaust from the SYs.
Although Jing-Ping is long gone now, China still has got a lot to
offer the steam-enthusiast. And I think its definitely
worth while to travel long distances for it. Flew Finnair from
Copenhagen to Helsinki; from here to Beijing. We thought
The plane was cancelled, due to damage on the aircraft made by a
cargo-truck. We therefore had to hurry in order to catch the
flight to Shanghai instead, Finnair quickly arranged. Finnair in
Helsinki even managed to put us on a China Southern flight from
Shanghai to Harbin too. From here we travelled to Jixi in a
comfortable soft sleeper in K 411, arriving in Jixi at 6.25 in
Temperatures in the mornings minus 10° C rising up to ca.
minus 3° C midday. Mainly sunny weather, only little wind. Steam
operations in Chengzihe and Hengshan seem to be the usual, no
sign of any diesels yet. Observed several trains on the bank up
to Zhongxin, mainly in the morning hours. The best was at 9
oclock, when SY 1095 was in front of 30 empties, banked by
0746 and 1340! This train was followed half an hour later by SY
1369 having serious trouble hauling 21 empties up the hill alone.
At 11 oclock 1369 again arrived at Zhongxin with 14 wagons.
In Lishu south of Jixi SY 0477 was doing (little) work here, no
sign of any other engines. We found her waiting with 5 wooden
hoppers being coaled at the Qikeng mine up in the hills at 11
oclock. Train departed half an hour later to Lishu, and
this was the only train this day, we were told
SY 0477 was
looking a bit strange with only parts of its chimney remaining!
We did not investigate Didao and Donghaikuang this time, but we
probably should have done
Working SYs in Jixi: 0341, 0477, 0590, 0733, 0746, 0804,
0863, 0898, 1058, 1095, 1340, 1351, 1369, 1437 and 1544.
Weather pretty much the same as in Jixi, perhaps even more
sunny. Still lots of steam here, but the electrics are hauling
most of the heavy coal trains. Passengers are steam with SY 1498
and 1464 sharing the work, 1498 looking good with brass boiler
rings. Notice that times for the passenger trains has been
changed slightly, and the trains 25 and 26 on the northern branch
are now cancelled.
We were not allowed access to the shed, therefore we were not
able to check out the locos in there. Observed 3 dumped engines
at the western side of the shed area, but could not identify the
Seems like most is happening on the southern line; the passenger
3 with SY 1498 was being followed by 3013 one day, disappearing
somewhere to the south. The electrics are interesting to watch
too. The northern line ending in Xingshan did not see much
traffic, at least not in the afternoon hours. And yes, train 24
is leaving Xingshan at 16.50 now, not the funniest place on earth
to spend 3 hours between two trains
Why did we not take a
Working SYs in Hegang: 0498, 0799, 1030, 1370, 1464, 1498,
1683, 3013 and 3014.
Amazing as ever! Sunny, very cold and almost no wind, apart
from Sunday 4th, a very strong icy wind blew down from Siberia in
the north. Even dressed with 6-7 pairs of clothes it was a tough
job being out in the open trying to make any pictures.
We stayed at the cheap ludian approx. 200 yards west of the
crossing close to the Daqiao depot. For the fair price of 30Y for
a double we slept there 3 nights; some decent food was possible
to buy there too, otherwise there is a good restaurant just
across the street.
At midday the second of March we counted 17 (!) steam locos
active in the mine when looking down in the big hole
from the north. Quite a sight. Nothing new to add according to
steam activity. The workers trains ran as usual at 7.30 in both
directions, being back at Station 510 about 9
oclock again. We travelled both trains without any problems.
The Nanzhan-train ends down to the south in the
middle of nowhere at St. 565, just a small cabin. The
tracks seem to end up in the spoil dumps out there. We were told
that there are no longer any workers trains on the western branch
to the Shiyijing mine, but there seems to be a number of freight
trains on that line, many even as mixed freights. Locos chimney
The short, but steep bank from Dongfanghong up to Daqiao still
offers many trains, and the place is good in the afternoon hours.
Often you can expect steam here every half an hour.
I must mention, that on one occasion we were told not to take
pictures at the Daqiao depot. That was the only problem of any
kind we had in Jalainur, still the place is highly recommended.
Go there, you wont regret it for sure.
Working SYs in Jalainur: 0682, 0924, 0957, 0959, 1119, 1126,
1240, 1257, 1258, 1285, 1286, 1303, 1371, 1376, 1416, 1424, 1448,
1450, 1496, 1600, 1618, 1650, 1654, 1663, 1678, 1688 and 1689.
SY 1234 were dumped at Daqiao with an JF-tender numbered 1688. A
wrecked SY-tender stood there too also numbered 1688! And
still the SY 1688 where running too
Got interested in Fuxin by reading some recent reports (Duncan
Cotterill, thanks), and we decided to give it a chance. It is a
very industrialised place, but the SYs are very active
there, and around the main yard in Wulong the number of trains
are quite high. As everywhere we visited, the people here are
extremely friendly and we had no problems by taking pictures. The
morning session at 8 oclock just north of the crossing,
where the crews are changed, is really a gem. Seven engines were
present and are leaving one by one in an hour or so.
Many lines are electrified but we saw only steam, not even the
new diesel disturbed us. We did not even see it. Some crossings
offer nice yellow cabins; one is situated on the line from Wulong
to the open mine and another at a crossing approx. 3 kms
north of Wulong, close to the depot in Taipeng. Here YJ 403
stands for years together with SY 0541, both engines in a very
At the depot between the new blocks in Fuxin/Wulong JF 0508 were
buried in a pile of snow, a bit further to the south stood SY
0127 and 0576. One km north of the depot, we found the dumped
engines SY 0036, 0391 and 0770, together with some passenger cars.
The workshop was quite busy; 2 or 3 SYs were receiving
heavy overhauls (one was 0941). A cab was being painted, standing
on the floor among lots of other steam locomotive parts.
We stayed at the Railway Hotel, just west of the CNR-station, 120Y
for a good double room.
Working SYs in Fuxin: 0540, 0785, 0849, 0850, 0988, 0989,
1210, 1319, 1320, 1378, 1395, 1396, 1397 and 1818 (1414).
We also observed SY 0895 active some 8 km north east of Fuxin in
a yard close to the CNR line to Shenyang; loco may belong to the
Fuxin power plant?
Travelled the rather slow train 2112 from Fuxin to the new
station in Beijing Bei. Home-flight again Finnair to Helsinki and
finally to Copenhagen.
This was really a trip to SY-country; the first
trip to China without any QJs
A bit sad, but we like
the SY, and some places they are still to be found on heavy
duties; in Jixi among others. Its been said before, but
Jalainur has really got it. Nothing will last forever, not even
Jalainur, but it will probably be one of the last steam locations
in the world. In many ways to be compared with Sandaoling, I
think. Fuxin was positive too, seems that steam will go on there
for some time, they have the facilities to carry out heavy
overhauls on their own. There may still be some non-explored
lines left in this area. And perhaps even more steam than we
© 2007 Ole Jensen