The International Steam Pages


Bad News from North China 2001

Full versions on both these reports will be posted in due course:


Bernd Seiler (11th December 2001) shows that bad news can come in droves:

"Yes, I got the information of Xilin closure three weeks ago so we had to skip this point from our itinerary. The track is already lifted, according to my Chinese contact.

Other sad news is that Shuangyashan has bought used DF1's. We saw six units in service.

Next bad news: Mudanjiang workshop has overhauled their last steam loco and finished the work on November 26th. No new orders are available. It comes to an end ..."


Mike Tyack is struggling too:

Weather appalling - have seen the sun for half a day at Singing Sands with no trains and a full day above the sand storm at Wuhaixi!

7/12/01

Arrived Singing Sands at 12.30, just in time to see smoke of uphill freight disappearing into tunnel beneath us! Weather dull. Cleared as afternoon progressed. Snow on the dunes.

Passenger 7401 - DF4
14.40 QJ6764 on downhill freight
16.00 DF4 on uphill freight

8/12/01

Weather started clear, clouded over by 9.00 & gloomy/dull rest of day.
Arrived Singing Sands at 0800. QJ6908 passed on Train 30027 at 0750 - too early for photography.
But Train 30027 is booked at Shabazi from 08.21 to 09.27 to allow cross of 30030 & be overtaken by DMU at 08.53. Walked up valley 1 hour to Shabazi station to get leaving shot of 6908. As we got level with the driving wheels of the loco, it left!!!!!! Trudge back.
Booked times at Shabazi(taken from the station board) are as follows:-
From Baotou.
30027 - 08.21 to 09.27
4695 (DMU) - 08.53
K993 - 11.07
30033 - 12.43 to 13.04
7401 - 13.52/53
30035 - 14.40 to 15.04
30037 - 16.23 to 16.53
30039 - 17.24 to 18.45
30041 - 18.20 to 19.00

From Dongsheng
30030 - 08.31 to 08.56
7402 - 10.20/21
30034 - 12.03
30036 - 12.56
30038 13.45 to 13.58
4696 (DMU) 14.57
K994 - 15.42
30040 - 16.42
30044 - 18.45

Great day for steam but no weather. Turn-round time for downhill steam at Shabazi to return is about 4 hours.
QJ6908 - uphill (30027)
QJ6740 - downhill (30030)
DMU
DF4 9504 - downhill pass 7402
DF4 - uphill pass K993
QJ6863 - downhill (30034)
QJ6452 - downhill (30036)
QJ7053 - uphill (30033)
QJ6740 - uphill pass 7401
QJ6784 - downhill (30038)
DF4 9504 - uphill (30035)
DMU
DF4 - downhill pass K994
QJ6863 - uphill (30037)
QJ6908 - downhill (30040)
QJ6452 - uphill (30039)
QJ6784 - uphill (30041)
QJ7053 - downhill (30044)

A great day for activity - if only the weather had been kind! All trains were running pretty well within 10\15 minutes of booked times at Shabazi.

9/12/01

Wuhiaxi - Jilantai.

Scenically uninspiring with a line of poles on each side of the track. The climb out of Wuhaixi/Wusutu is stiff but the whole area is blighted with poles of 3 different varieties/pylons etc. etc. Possibly about two worthwhile photographs if trains ran at certain times of the day, but the chances are not high!!!
Downhill freight arrived at 10.40 with QJ6762.
Mixed from Jilantai arrived 12.30 behind QJ7053 with 3 of the most filthy coaches(sand-blown) that I have ever seen on the back! QJ Uphill freight at 14.40.
If this is one of the final outposts of CNR steam, so be it. I will not be coming back!
Cut & run after 1 day - drove to Dongsheng.

10/12/01

Aobaogou
2 uphill freights steam & 2 diesel.
6788/6088 at 08.55
6863/6452 at 15.12

Diesel combinations of
9504 & 9497
9502 & 9506
9501 & 9496

11/12/01

1 uphill steam freight booked for 14.18 this afternoon.
Uphill diesel freights at
08.11 - 9506 & 9497
09.16 - 9505 + a scribble that I could not read!
10.44 - 9504 & 9502
17.13 - 9506 & 9497 again!

Grimmo is the word that springs to mind - both weather & diesel operation!
All DF4 have 2001 builders plates.
That's it for now. This should be the least film efficient trip ever since 1974 when I sat on Fortezza-San Candido for 4 days of strike-bound railway non-operation. But at least the sun was shining!


Rob Dickinson

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