The International Steam Pages

Steam in China, April 2003

China Report April 2003, by Hugh Ballantyne (travelling with the Railway Touring Company)


31 March 2003. Seen at Heshan JS 8289 and JS 8353 plus three OOU JF unidentified. JS 8286 departed at 16.00 to Laiban with coal wagons and one coach attached for the Railway Touring Company group and arrived Laiban at 18.47 after a 40 min. wait outside the station. We were told there are three trains between Heshan and a coal mine at Ha'an, 12 kms, and at 15.50 JS 8354 with two 'coaches', converted coal wagons, left Heshan with the miners train to Ha'an.


This railway runs from Hechi, formerly called Jingchengjiang, to Pingzhai, about 91 kms, with a branch from Puluo Jct. to Shangchao.

1 April 2003. At 08.50 JS 8284 hauling Train No. 45307 coal empties with charter passenger coach attached at rear left Hechi for Pingzhai. Mixed train No. 8598 hauled by JS 8375 was crossed at Pohua at 09.50. JS 8284 returned from Pingzhai at 14.14 working Train 45306 with loaded coal wagons plus the coach. JS 8288 was crossed at Puluo Jct at 15.43 working Train No. 8597, the northbound mixed from Hechi and later at Wenping JS 8375 was crossed, also northbound with coal empties.

JS 8375

The next day 2 April 2003 JS 8288 was seen on train 45307 ex Hechi which was followed by a long lull in traffic thought to be due to an urgent P.W. possession. At 15.06 north of Puluo JS 8284 was seen with northbound uphill coal empties and at 16.05 JS 8373 came up with the northbound mixed from Hechi. Finally, at 17.20 JS 8288 passed Puluo Jct. southbound with coal train No. 45306.

JS 8284

On 3 April 2003 at the stabling point at Hechi at 08.30 were JS 8283/84/85/87/90, 8373/76 and OOU JS 5706. JS 8375 departed at 08.26 with Train No. 45307 coal empties to Pingzhai. Hechi has a large turntable but no covered shed although a large building is nearly completed but not yet fitted out. Query awaiting diesels? At Pingzhai locos continue north from the station for several kms to the colliery and turn on a triangle.

All the JS class seen were devoid of smoke deflectors.


When visited on 11 April 2003 traffic was at a low ebb due to several of the local mines being on maintenance work. There are long and extensive sidings at Xizhan, in the area of Yuanbaoshan, roughly in the centre of the system which is about 30 kms long connecting at each end with the national system. Near Xizhan is the power station and the railway brings coal from two mines and an opencast loading point off branches to the north west of Yuanbaoshan, all situated in a rather flat industrial landscape. The loco shed is at Xizhan and it believed the railway uses seven JS class, all facing north, and these were seen as follows.

JS 8246 left Xizhan at 09.10 with coal wagons northwards to Fengshuigou and returned tender first at 10.30 hauling eight passenger coaches, from which a number of people got off and the train terminated. The empty stock and the loco just stood in the platform, rather then the loco detaching and going to shed. JS6246 was shunting in the yard and JS8218 arrived from the south with a freight believed to have come from the CNR connection at Yuanbaoshan. Outside the shed was JS8216 in steam, and dead inside were JS6244 and JS6544. At 15.00 JS8246 left on the mixed train to Fengshuigou with the eight coaches trailing behind seventeen bogie coal wagons. Lastly, at 16.25 just as the party was leaving the area JS8250 was seen at Xizhan having just arrived off the colliery branch.

JS 6246

Diesel GKD1 4008 was also shunting power station traffic at Xizhan yard.


On Saturday afternoon, 12 April 2003, operations got off to a bad start, with several derailments in quick succession outside the loading tunnel so train frequency suffered.

0-8-0s 2 and 3 had a relatively quiet time and everybody finished work by 16.00.

The other two locos, 1 and 4 were dead inside the shed.

Rob Dickinson