The International Steam Pages


Extreme Steam Team in China February 2003

The 13th Extreme Steam Team trip was undertaken by Michael Rhodes, Vernon Murphy, Steve LeCheminant and Nick Dodson, guided by Li Weishu

15/2/3
BA 039 to Beijing

16/2/03
CA1209, 13.35 to Xian, then bus to Tongchuan and stay at Red Rose Hotel.

TONGCHUAN
17/2/03
Sunny -1 to +8
Saw JF2369 at 1215 and JF 2113 at 1400 on uphill trains of empties to Wangshiwa colliery. A new development however was that the 0930 uphill train and the 1600 uphill were both hauled by a DF7 with 18 empties. The DF7 then returned with half the empties and a light engine JF was sent from Tongchuan to collect the remainder, thus removing uphill steam working from half the daily trains.

A note on Wangshiwa colliery is that it employs 2000 people and produces 1.4 million tonnes of coal a year.

18/2/03
Sunny +2 to +12
JF2368 uphill at 1000.
JF2113 shunting Tongchuan town at 1300
Tongchuan yard at 1500 contained:- DF43719, 1457, DF7 7001, 3064, JF 2113, 2368.
Bus to Xian airport for WH2370, 2005 to Yinchuan
Overnight in Kaida Hotel

DAGU RAILWAY
19/2/03
+1 to +11 and a sandstorm which was so severe as to close Yinchuan airport
We planned to do the DaGu railway, first reported by Bernd Seiler. We meant to go to Daba but the bus driver got lost and we ended up at Guyaozi. The day was made up of exploring the line and trying to take a picture on the Yellow River Bridge in a sandstorm!

20/2/03
DaGu railway again. The shed area at Guyaozi is quite photogenic and there is a moderate sized yard at the adjacent station. The mine lies just over a kilometre beyond Guyaozi station and produces 2.4 million tonnes of coal per year. There does not appear to be a run round at the mine and empties are propelled from Guyaozi yard and brought back to the yard by a locomotive facing tender first.

DaGu shed

The mine and associated railway were opened in 1992 and the staff say that it was initially worked by JF and JS engines which were sold on to Hami colliery in Xinjiang province in 1995 (this is apparently somewhere in the far west near Urumqi). The line itself is 71.4 kilometers long and the journey from Guyaozi to Daba takes 1 hour and 50 minutes. The returning empties also take 1 hr 50 minutes. There are 2 or 3 return trips between 0800 and 1600 and there are plenty of locations to the east of Lingwu and also a long bridge over the Yellow River.

During our visit we observed the following QJs:- 1465, 2690, 2869, 6545, 6832, 7036, 7061, 7194, 7195, 7200, 7205.

21/2/03
+5 to +15, warm and wet (it was -5 in the UK!)
CA1218, 1125, Yinchuan to Beijing
Visited the new museum, the content of which has already been documented elsewhere. It will be really good once it is finished and it just needs a nice little souvenier store and a tea shop! Donated a copy of "Extreme Steam" to the curator.
2130 Beijing Nan to Chifeng sleeper

PINGZHUANG
22/2/03
-7 to 0, sunny
Drove to Pingzhuang colliery system. There are 4 deep mines and one opencast in the system and if I have time I think I'll produce a detailed map of the network.. The network is slowly dying as the opencast produces just 1.15 million tonnes and the four deep mines combined produce only 600,000 tonnes of coal per annum (compare that for UK pits like Taff Merthyr which produced over 1 million tonnes from a single shaft, yet were deemed uneconomic).

Anyway the following SYs were seen:- 1052, 0916, 1025, 0943, 0798, 0463
The KD No.487 is in a derelict state in a compound
The following Henningsdorf (built 1981) electrics were seen:- 7305, 7304, 7330, 7364, 7349, 7359 - by implication we guess there are about 60 electrics on the opencast network..

Lunch in Pingzhuang was excellent and for those with sartorial interests we found one of the cheapest cashmere shops in China on the main street in Pingzhuang and everybody (even Li) purchased a couple of sweaters!

YUANBAOSHAN
In the afternoon we transferred over to Yuanbaoshan for the afternoon mixed which was hauled by JS8246, leaving Yuanbaoshan at 1500. After arriving at Fengshuigou, the locomotive shunted the pithead here (which also has a narrow gauge electric system). It then tripped to the China Rail yard at Anqinggou returning with a long rake of empties.

Yuanbaoshan

On the depot were JS 6246, 8216, 8218, 8418 and 6066 (scrap). Power station pilot GKD1 4008 was pottering to and from the power plant.

23/2/03
-13 to 0 (sunny)
Today was one of those great days when a visit to a system just clicks.

0715 to 0800 JS6246, mixed from Yunbaoshan to Fengshuigou (chased)
0810 JS 8249, coal Yunbaoshan to Anqinggou
0830 to 0900 JS 6544 shunting Yunbaoshan CNR station
0930 to 1300 JS 8246 Mine 1 yard, trip to opencast then trip to Mine 1
1515 JS 6246 mixed from Yunbaoshan to Fengshuigou

We then drove from Yuanbaoshan to Jinpeng which took only 4 hours thanks to the new roads. Stayed in the Jinpeng Hotel to try and avoid the crush in Reshui.

JINGPENG
24/2/03 - 26/2/03

Then we drove to Tongliao where we stayed in the Tongliao Hotel

27/2/03
-12 to +4 (sunny)
Drove from Tongliao to the Tiefa system, via a nice brunch in Zhangwu
Started at Xiaokang which is one of the large collieries on the Faku branch and spent almost our entire day on the Faku branch which serves 2 large deep mines beyong Faku with a third mine under construction with a new rail link installed but not yet in use. The line is easy to follow beyond Faku with an excellent road and quite a few good locations.

The mines along the line are at Xiaokang, then Dongguantun (where the mine is called Santaizi) and the new mine between the two is called Deping.

1200 SY0979 & 1751 Coal Xiaokang to Daqing (awesome sight of 44 x 60 tonne hoppers with megaclag leaving the mine)
1220 SY0979 & 1751 arriving in Faku
1300 SY0979 & 1751 arriving Tiefa
1310 SY1770 Tiefa power station branch
1330 SY0979 & 1751 leaving Tiefa
1330 SY1772 shunting Tiefa
1435 SY1769 coal at Faku
1445 SY1772 Tiefa to Dongguantun passenger at Faku
chased this along the branch to the terminus
1820 SY1255 & 1772 night shots Tiefa station

Overnight in the Tiefa colliery hotel

28/2/03
Very windy and dull
Welcome party for the Jinpeng Orient Express at Tiefa station with fire crackers and canons - quite a spectacle and the opportunity for Steve to hand over the Sony camera to Phillip. We took one shot SY0665 on the Faku to Tiefa at the tunnel (where we met Derek Jenkins and the steam and safaris group - looking pretty tired and hungry). Then off to Shenyang airport for CA1628 the 1515 to Beijing and a very pleasant day of R&R at the Holiday Inn before flying home on BA38 on Sunday 2nd March. The market opposite the Holiday Inn sells North Face jackets at 20 a pop!


Rob Dickinson

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