The International Steam Pages
Steam in South China, March 2001
Gernot Gmeinhart sent me this report in December 2001 - the main item of interest is the previously unreported (?) SY passenger service north of Chenzhou...
In March 2001 we spent a week in the Guanxi, Huanan and Guangdong Province
Hechi - Pingzhai/Shangchao (25th March - 27th March 2001)
100% steam. No changes of timetable and locomotives to the last reports.
Henyang - Chengzhou: 100% diesel; electric wire exists along the line except in the stations.
Chenzhou - Shaoguan - Guangzhou: 100% electric
Chenzhou - Jiahe (28th March - 30th March 2001
The narrow gauge line works daily with only one mixed train at 8:00 from Chenzhou with a water stop in Guiyang one hour later. After the arrival in Jiahe the locomotive makes a short visit to the coal mine near Jiahe to pick up the coaches from the mine. When the train comes back half an hour later don't miss the very nice photo spot at the road crossing with the line (about 1 km north of Jiahe, there is only one road crossing). Back to Chenzhou at 13:30 from Jiahe. We visited the line three times. In this three days we saw only C4 96 under steam. C4 22 was cold standing in front of the depot. Note: If the mixed train is "full" (with full coaches) you have to expect a delay of about 2-3 hours and the train may arrive at Chenzhou after sunset. Because of the poor condition of the steam loco it had to be repaired two or three times during our trip!
The line: Along the first 3 km the line is parallel to the road to Guiyang (road in good condition) and offers only little photographic potential. When the road leaves the track (90 degrees) there are some spots for the train in the morning and afternoon. Near Guiyang this section is not photographable due to the vegetation next to the track. Between Guiyang and Jiahe the line is very scenic but very far away from the road. In Jiahe the line ends in the coal mine after 3 km.
Lei Yang - Xinshen (30th March 2001)
This unknown railway is the Yong Lei Railway Transportation Company, Lei Yang, Hunan Province. The time tables in the stations are wrong, there are two passenger trains each day with SY and freight trains with DF4.
The line: The railway begins at the Lei Yang station on the main line Guangzhou - Chenzhou - Hengyang, about 80 km north of Chenzhou. From Lei Yang to the main station of this railway, Mao Jia Ping, there is a distance of about 2 km with one photo hill. The traffic is very low but the passenger trains are remarkable because the passenger coaches are pushed by the steam locomotive between Mao Jia Ping and Lei Yang, the first coach is constructed like driving trailer. The distance Mao Jia Ping - Xinshen is 30 km. We only visited the first section to Mao Jia Ping. The shed master and his staff is very friendly, we were invited for tea and lunch.
Pingshi - Muchong
No steam since the Chenzhou - Shaogang section has been electrified. The shed master of Mao jia Ping depot (see below) is a steam enthusiast, he told us that there are no JS in use any longer in Guangdong Province except the shunt in Chenzhou (JS 5444, very bad condition). He said that since the electrification of the section Chenzhou - Shaoguan the line Pingshi - Muchong has worked with diesel and all JS have been withdrawn.