The International Steam Pages


Steam in Paradise China Tour December 2001/January 2002

Ron Lingley reports:

Weihe more than lived up to its reputation and it will be a tragedy to lose this system. This unfortunately is highly likely to happen this year. Only the most temporary p.w. repairs are being carried out, with rails being underpinned with (offcut) wooden wedges. Even though the season had not long started, there were more than enough trains to chase and keep us busy all day long. 6 of the locos were seen in use. Weather excellent.

Monday 24th. December: Weihe - All C2.
053 on m/t's from Weihe.
033 on m/t's from Weihe.
034 on pax. from Liushan.
054 on pax. from Weihe.
055 in steam on shed.

Tuesday 25th. December: Weihe.
030 in steam at coaling stage.
054 on pax. from Weihe.
055 on m/t's from Weihe crossing
033 on loads at Chonghe.
053 on m/t's crossing 033 at Dongfeng.

Wednesday 26th. December: Weihe.
055 pilot loco for Weihe yard.
054 arrived at Weihe on pax.
030 depart Weihe on pax.
033 arrived at Weihe on loads.
054 on m/t's from Weihe crossing both
030 on pax from Liushan and
053 on loads at Chonghe.
033 on m/t's crossing 053 at Dongfeng.

The Tiefa system was a surprise in terms of the quality of shots achievable on this briefest of visits. It certainly deserves a more thorough investigation. With the SY passenger services as a backbone to the day's activity, it was also possible to find some impressive workings of a SY's capability with both loaded coal and long trains of empties. It appeared to us that the haulage by CF or TF facing locos was not as haphazard as had been previously suggested, and the workings are more predictable if both origin and destination are known. Given this knowledge, some of the more photogenic outlying locations could be investigated. Getting a permit is a must and well worth it as it gives you access to almost anywhere. SY0979 is the first locomotive to have been completely overhauled in the Teifa workshops and has emerged in decorated condition. Some pollution in Teifa on 2nd afternoon, otherwise weather excellent.

Thursday 27th. December: Teifa - All SY.
At crossing between Daqing and Huirangzhan.
1772 CF on m/t's from Daqing.
1749 TF from Huirangzhan.
Stabling point.
1769, 1771, 0979, 1412.
1749 return LE.
1412 CF on loads.
Diaobingshan Station
1764 CF on m/t's from Power Station.
1683 TF arr on 108 from Daming
1769 CF on coal tippers in station.
0435 CF arr on 206 from Wangqian
0393 CF dep on 407 to Dongguantun
1683 CF dep on 107 to Daming
0435 TF dep on 207 to Wangqian
Qiaonan
0435 CF on 207 to Wangqian

Friday 28th. December: Teifa.
Stabling point.
1771, 1772, 1749, 1767, 1412.
0860, 0665, 1764.
Diaobingshan Station
0393, 1769.
0979 TF arr on 204 from Wangqian
1683 TF arr on 106 from Daming
0665 CF arr on 306 from Daqing
0393 TF dep on 105 to Daming
0665 TF dep on 305 to Daqing
0979 CF dep on 205 to Wangqian
Datong to Qiaonan
1749 CF on hoppers.
Daqing Loco workshops
1770, 1771, 1147, 1255, 0063, 1751.
0023 dumped.
Near Huirangzhan
1749 TF hoppers from south
1183 CF m/t's to Sanjiazi
1772 TF from south
SY CF to north
Sanjiazi
0393 CF on 108 from Daming
0979 CF on 206 from Wangqian
Daqing
1749 TF + 1764 CF banker on hoppers for power station towards Tieling.

Chengde was as good as usual. The visit to the steelworks was unofficial as distinct from last year's official visit and it is possible that this may not be repeatable in the future. Unfortunately the management are not interested in promoting the tourist potential of their installation. During our stay in Chengde, a high level banquet was held to celebrate the commencement of work on the Chengde town avoiding line for the steelworks. This is expected to take two years to build and is scheduled to use diesel traction when open. Enjoy it while it lasts, this is multiple steam power, constantly 100% on the limit of its capability. Strong winds on day 1 meant excellent visibility to add to the good weather.

Saturday 29th. December: Chengde
Stabling point.
JS5720
Blast furnace/Slag tipping.
SY0099, SY1422.
Stabling point.
SY0533, JS5634.
SY1029 arrived with loaded train.
Summit.
Up JS5720 + JS6403/SY1522.
Down JS5634 + SY0533/JS5720.
Up SY1522 + JS5720/SY0533
Up JS6403 + JS5720/SY0533
Up JS5720/SY0533 + JS5634

Sunday 30th. December: Chengde
Stabling point.
SY1029 on train to steelworks.
SY0533.
Summit.
Down JS5634 + SY0533/JS6403
Up SY0532 + JS6403/SY0533
Up JS5720 + JS6403/SY0533
Down SY1522
Up JS5634 + JS6403/SY0533
Up JS6403/SY0533 + SY1522
At river bridge.
Up SY1522
Up SY0532

Monday 31th. December: Jitong - All QJ.
Zhelimu 7163, 7049, 6358, 7048.
6988 dep on freight. 7105 pilot. 6349.
6751 on train 6052.
Crossed 6996 on train 6057.
Crossed 6572, 6632, 6385, 7038 on freights.
Changed to 6631 on train 6052 at Chabuga.
Chabuga 6630, 6988, 6911, 6375.
Crossed 6576 on freight.
Changed to 6840 on train 6052 at Daban.
Crossed 6351/6878 on freight.

Traffic levels were similar to last year with 3 good days and 1 poor. Fortunately this coincided with the 1 day of bad weather on the trip. Only 1 pair of light engines were seen and 1 pair with a very light train. 3 single headers were seen (all westbound). The practice reported recently, of the lead loco dropping off at the summit to assist a following single header was not seen. The new stations have helped smooth the traffic flow, and often now the only long gaps in activity are mid afternoons. A typically quiet period of the day on many lines in China. The improved external condition of locos has already been reported. During our visit, no significant snow remained on the ground this year and on some days the midday temperature was positively balmy by Jingpeng standards. If global warming continues it will be shorts and t-shirts soon even at Christmas!

Tuesday 1st. January: Jingpeng Pass.
Eastbound            Haloukou
44151        7041/QJ    0600
44153        6638/7040    0720
51041        6981/6356    0800     Short freight.
44155        6388/7143    0935
44251        6577/6828    1240
Westbound            Daban
44154        6351/6878    0310
84910        6230/6998    0700     Tanker train.
84916        6760         0810
22834        7009/7012    1030
84918        6110/6630    1310

Wednesday 2nd. January: Jingpeng Pass.
Eastbound            Haloukou
44133        6981/7041    0200
22817        6356/7040    0640
44135        7143/6388    0750
22839        6828/6577    0905
44137        6986/6876    1040
22837        6878/6351    1205
Westbound            Daban
22842        7012/6760    0410
84812        6905/6763    0657
22846        6110/7009    0850
22844        7112/6630    1115
44152        6274/6638    1305

Thursday 3rd. January: Jingpeng Pass.
Eastbound            Haloukou
LE's        7040/6356   
22819        6388/7143    0500
44141        6577/6828    0715
44149        6876/6986    0820
44125        6878/6351    1045     Crossed 22826 at Loudigou.
44127        6760/7012    1340
Westbound            Daban
44140        7009/6110    0510
44144        6630/7112    0810
22826        6638/6274    0920     Crossed 44125 at Loudigou.
44146        7041/6981    1105
22828        7040/6356    1215

Daban Shed.
7137, 6844, 6795, 6135 all stored. 3073. 2645, 2706, 1760 all dumped.
7041, 6981, 6274, 6230, 6998, 6517, 6735, 6636, 6992, 7040, 6356, 6389, 6301, 7002, 6388, 7143, 7010, 6978, 7112, 6630, 6984 pilot. Preserved 2-6-0 4335.

Friday 4th. January: Jingpeng Pass.
Eastbound            Haloukou
22833        7143/6388    1040
44125        6828/6986    1150
44127        6876/7012    1405     Crossed 44136 at Jingpeng.
Westbound            Daban
84816        7112/6630    0657     Chased from Linxi.
44134        6274/6638    0805
44136        6998         0915    With 44134 at Jingpeng. Crossed 44125 at Jingpeng.
22836        7041/6981    1400

Saturday 5th. January: Jingpeng Pass. (Short day on lineside)
Eastbound            Haloukou
44135        6981/7040    0510
44123        6356/6517    0630
84905        6230/6351    1000
Westbound            Daban
44140        6905/7112    0525
22842        6638/6630    0805     Tanker train
44146        6878         1100
44148        6110/6998    1300     At Linxi

The end of another highly successful visit, and much credit as always to Weishu Li for smoothing our path and maximising our opportunities.

The decision to miss out Dongsheng this year in favour of Weihe proved almost clairvoyant. One year nearer to the end of steam in China? - Who knows? There are not many good signs around!


Rob Dickinson

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