The International Steam Pages


Steam in Northern China, New Year 2001

Hans Schafer presents a brief report of his New Year 2001 Trip

Yebaishou 29-30 Jan

Still some few steam engines in use, in blended schedule with the DF4. No day with same schedule. Fuxin based QJ still working into Yebaishou, at least two trains in daylight. One or two QJ work as helper engines from Yebaishou to Boluochi or Chaoyang and return light engine. They may actually go from Yebaishou into Boluochi two or three times in a day. DF4 are always first engine, and if second engine is steam, that engine works as little as possible, very often not at full power, sometimes not at all. Also orange DF4 on freights.

One JS is shunting at Pingzhuang. On Jan 30 it returned to Yebaishou in a freight handled by DF4 + QJ + JS. Two JS shunting at Yebaishou.

Railway Ludian near station did not take foreigners this time. Jian Ping Binguan in town is as bad as ever before.

Sightings:

QJ 6416, 6418, 6554, 6677 (The first three horrible, the last one relatively clean) all Yebaishou depot
QJ 6226 and 6990 Fuxin (dirty, almost unreadable numbers)
JS 8236,7,8 Yebaishou, relatively clean.
DF4 1649, 2122, 2185, 2269, 2271, 6193, 6194, 7318, 7319, 7322, 7358, 7367, 7368, 7369, 7424, 7428, 7453, 7454, 7455, 7456, 7475, 7476

Jitong railway news

Daban: 59 QJ in use, of which 15 are based at Chabuga.
New engines in use: 5981, 6986, 6905
6998 and 6301 have a working stoker (however 6301 just got it blocked by freezing coal)
Locomotives waiting for repair: 6844 (repaired in 10/2000), 6984, 6925.
Locomotives in scrap lkine: 1760, 2388, 2706.
Some data: Boiler washouts are now done every 4000 to 5000 km. New piston rings are fitted every 8000 km. Every locomotive runs about 9000 to 10000 km every month and about 100.000 km per year (average numbers). A major repair at a workshop is scheduled about every second year. All Jitong locomotives have now got automatic train stop (ATS) and the whole line is fitted with it. The equipment looks like the German INDUSI and works like that. The magnets are fitted on the left hand side of the tender between the bogies.
Baiqi: Now 6 DF4D, which is the whole batch they have bought. Long term plan is to abandon baiqi depot and replace it by a new depot at Sangendalai. West of Sangendalai most freights will be diesel, and the now serving Baiqi engines will be used on the line to Xilinhaote.
The diesel express train: They have one unit now, and one more will be delivered in March or April. From July a daily service Huhehaote to Tongliao is planned with the diesel set. However, what will happen with the steam passenger train is unclear. The diesel does not stop at most stations.
New Year traffic: During the Chinese New Year the passenger trains at Jitong ran with ten cars west of Daban (3 sleepers), and 9 cars (2 sleepers) east of Daban. Shunting done during stop at Daban station.
Special situation with freight traffic: The line between Huhehaote and Baotou was blocked by a serious accident in the end of January and the beginning of February. This led to very low traffic level until Feb 2, with up to 20 QJ parked at Daban depot. From Feb 3 traffic "exploded", especially westbound. They transported long trains of empty C62 cars westbound, most of them single headed, and often one train every hour, sometimes even every 40 miutes. Eastbound light engines were common view until Feb 9. Some westbound trains had max loads of 2300 tons. They still transport hay to this region, as there is a shortage after the dry summer.
Hotels etc: Daban has a railway hotel. Located between the station and the depot. Price about 60 Yuan per double room, but hot water seems to be never available.
Right outside Daban station, 100 m out, on the left hand side, is an internet café. However connection is too slow for it to be useful. There is one more in the Daban post office, second floor, but it was down during Chinese New year.
Reshui, railway hotel: Hot water was not always available. They are also picky about late checkout and try to charge for another night if you leave in the evening. However its restaurant was good and cheap (good dinner for two up to 50 RMB).
Warning against one taxi driver: Do not use white minibus number D25173. He will try to cheat you by giving you a price before the trip and charging you more upon arrival. If you use him at all, have small money available!
Jingpeng: Keshengketeng Binguan in middle of town charges 130 for a double. This time even the cold water supply was not working at times.
Beijing: Hua Ping hotel on second ring road in the south is OK. Double for 130 Yuan, a bit run down, but hot water always available. Western breakfast round the clock.

Detailed sightings will be in the trip report on his own home page


Rob Dickinson

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