The International Steam Pages

Steam in China, October 2003

Bill Alborough led the tour on which Chris Yapp's report (below) is based. Chris missed the Jalainur section so I have appended Bill's own report:

Jalainur 11th/12th October 2003

The pit is at its most active between October and March, with some production also in September and April/May. The months between will see maintenance only with up to 10 steam locomotives in use.

There are two distinct operating units

Transportation Unit

Their locomotives are used to haul CNR standard wagons to the exchange sidings which are shunted by CNR diesels. Locomotives are serviced at a stabling point between the East Station and the Exchange Sidings, with a steam crane here.
This unit has 9SY:
4 stored (NOT dumped) in a secure guarded compound adjacent to the East Station: 0056 (-/68 on l/h only), 0924, 1234, 1448
In action 1126, 1416 (11/85 both sides), 1424 (1/86), 1618, 1688 (8/90)

Mining Unit:

Their locomotives work within and around the pit, bringing mine owned tipper wagons of coal and cover to the washery/spoil dumps.
11 SY stored, most ex-works condition, to enter traffic when other locos need a Works visit; in the open adjacent to the p.w. Depot, mixed with YZ22 passenger stock: 0614 (10/74), 0682 (7/73 both sides), 0795 (1978, 1979 plates carried), 0867, 1119, 1240 (8/83 l/h, 10/74 r/h), 1376, 1601, 1654, 1678, (1617 NOT seen reported STORED 2001).
1 DUMPED with stored locos, to be cut up "soon": JF 841.
4 JF CUT UP since last report: 2355, 2420 (smokebox door seen!), 4067, 4068.
3 in WORKSHOPS: 0957 (dead inside Workshop 1), 1663 (intermediate overhaul Workshop 2), 1681 (8/90, dead inside Workshop 1).
31 active during our visit: 0471 (2/72 both sides), 0613 (-/73. 8/75), 0794 (carries NO plates), 0958 (BOTH 12/82 plates), 0959, 1041, 1192, 1193, 1256, 1257 (8/78), 1258, 1284, 1285, 1286, 1303, 1371, 1374, 1375, 1401, 1449, 1450 (4/86), 1496, 1586, 1587 (1 plate missing, l x 10/87), 1600 (4/72 r/h, 12/87 l/h), 1619, 1650, 1664. 1689, 1690, 3005. General Manager confirmed 31 working on 11.10.2003.

Chris Yapp reports on the rest of a wide ranging trip

This report relates to a visit to China during the second half of October 2003. The majority of the trip was undertaken with a group, but there was also an element of independent travel. The group tour began with a visit to Jalainur (above). This should have been followed by a visit to Nenjiang-Heibaoshan, but late information indicated dieselisation with only one regular steam duty remaining. The time was instead utilised to visit Nanpiao and Huludao-Yangjiazhangzi. I travelled from Beijing and joined the group at Jinzhou on 14th October. The weather was warm and sunny from 12th October until the end of the month. Only on two afternoons did it become overcast.

Nanpiao Mining Railway

An afternoon visit to Zaojiatun on 14th October revealed SY1299 shunting, SY1017 and Beijing diesel 3241 on freights and SY0973 on the passenger service to Linghe. We then moved on to Xiamiaozi where SY1092 (and one other) were in steam at the stabling point and SY1478 was assembling a short train prior to departure to Hungjia. SY0366 passed through on southbound loads and a diesel arrived on a passenger service (assumed to be DFH3 1013 on the service from Sanjiazi).

Initial contact with local management and local police was friendly, but the situation changed when higher authorities arrived. No further photography was permitted and activity was restricted to an opportunity to ride the Linghe passenger service taken up by some of the party the next afternoon. They reported SY0899 and SY1158 being cut up outside the wagon works. The local railway management indicated strong pressure to dieselise during the next two years.

Yangjiazhangzi-Huludao (Jinxi) Railway

A successful visit was made on 15th October. Local police inspected the guide's papers but there were no problems. The shed beside the Liaoning Bohai Cement Group works at Huludao contained SY1415 under repair and JS6243, JS8307 not in use. SY0513 moved off depot at 10.00 to shunt and later worked trains to and from the China Rail exchange sidings. JS6305 arrived from Yangjiazhangzi just before midday and retired to the depot. JS8207 worked the afternoon trip from Huludao to Yangjiazhangzi and return leaving Huludao at about 13.30 and Yangjiazhangzi at about 15.30. JS8207 propelled empties across the level crossing at the end of the main street of Yangjiazhangzi and returned up the steep grade at the head of loaded wagons about 20 minutes later. There are some good photographic locations on the climbs in both directions to a summit not far from Yangjiazhangzi. All line working appears to be boiler first and both SY face north.

Shenyang Railway Museum

The new museum was visited on 16th October - quite impressive. The main exhibition hall is semi-circular - not a roundhouse because there are no tracks outside the building.

Benxi Steelworks

A visit on 17th October found the 3 "preserved" locos in the usual shed - 5 fireless, PL250 and XK220. SY702 was out of use at the steam depot. A total of 19 SY were seen working or in steam at the depot or stabling point in the steelworks - 701, 705, 709, 711-722, 724, 730, 733, 735. Several SY are said to have been scrapped or sold to Beitai recently. Several recently-acquired diesels were seen - DFH5 512 and 3 GK1C. Complete dieselisation is expected during 2004 and management responsibility for the works is likely to be transferred to Anshan in September 2004.

Sujiatun Steam Locomotive Works

A short visit was made in the late afternoon on 17th October. GJ1018 was shunting and SY1495 (Fushun New Steelworks) was in steam after overhaul. Also present under repair or overhaul were SY1400 (Fushun), JS8239 (Gongchangling/Anping) and QJ7012, QJ7143 (both Jitong). An unidentified SY was also seen in the distance on the diesel depot.

Fushun Coal Mine and Steelworks

Fushun was the objective for 18th October. The roadside viewpoint overlooking the big pit revealed 2 SY shunting and another apparently not in steam. Another SY on a tracklaying train was observed from the viewpoint beside the mine offices. SY0153 was in steam with a crane in sidings near to the mine offices. SY0715 and 2 unidentified SY were stored in one of the compounds housing surplus electric locos. SY0585, SY0655 and SY0716 were seen shunting from the level crossing at the New Steelworks. SY1202 was dumped nearby. It is understood that, apart from the SY at Sujiatun, there are 3 other serviceable SY - 0881, 0998 and 1507. No access was permitted into either the New or Old Steelworks sites - because Fushun steel was used in the Chinese space shot!! (I believe they were busy celebrating its success at the time. RD)

Pingzhuang Coal Railway

Steam was observed working track-laying trains in the big pit and on the one coach passenger train. The electrics work empties into and loads out of the pit. The following steam was seen in action on lines close to the big pit - JS1001, JS5758 and SY0507, 0766, 0798, 1025 and 1487. Another SY remained in the pit for the duration of the visit. Three trains were seen on the lines to/from the deep mines - all SY worked including SY0210 and 1052. SY1083 (full deflectors), 0400 and 1052 were stored out of use in a compound opposite the electric depot. SY0304 was in steam at the nearby stabling point and KD6487 was dumped in a locked compound beside the electric depot.

Yuanbaoshan Colliery Railway

A total of 7 JS were seen working or in steam on depot at Xishan - JS6245, 6544, 8216, 8218, 8249, 8250 and 8418. JS6246 and 8246 were dead inside the depot. We were told that JS6066 has been scrapped.

JS8250 worked the 10.00 mixed (8 coaches and 11 loaded wagons) from Fengshuigou, JS6544 worked empties up the grade from Majiawan to the mines at mid-day, and JS8250 left Xishan southbound on loads at 13.00. At about 14.00 JS8249 on loads crossed JS6245 on empties at the sidings on the "mines" line. At 14.15 JS6544 brought 58 loaded wagons into Xishan from the south. JS8418 brought two wagons into Xishan from the north before JS8250 took the 15.00 service to Fengshuigou. The 600mm electric railway at Fengshuigou is well worth a visit.


Whilst travelling from Beijing to Luohe on 21st October, an unidentified JS was seen beside the diesel depot at Xinxiang.

Zhoukou Local Railway

A brief visit to Zhoukou on the morning of 22nd October revealed a DFH on an eastbound passenger at 09.30 and QJ6624 awaiting departure on a westbound freight. The depot contained QJ7006 and 7011 in steam, QJ7161 serving as a stationary boiler, QJ6901 under repair and QJ6548 dumped.


The Pingdingshan system was visited on 22nd and 23rd October. The following were seen working or in steam on depot - SY0758, 1002 and 1209; JS5644, 6225, 6428, 6429, 8030, 8050, 8052, 8054, 8057, 8062, 8068, 8120, 8122, 8338 and 8339; and QJ2035, 6450, 6650, 6813 and 7816. Also on the depot were JS6252 dead, SY1687 under repair and JS6253 dismantled for overhaul.

Only 4 SY are left - the remainder are said to have been scrapped. SY0758 and 1002 worked the passenger services whilst SY1209 was seen shunting at the east end of Tianzhuang yard on 22nd and out on the line on 23rd. QJ2035 (no deflectors) appeared to be working between Tianzhuang and the China Rail exchange sidings with QJ6813 and 7186 working between Tianzhuang, Shenxi and the mines. The other 2 QJ remained in steam on depot on both days.

There follows a brief summary of the action seen:

22nd: Shenxi (14.00-15.00) - JS8054 shunting and 2 eastbound loads with JS; Tianzhuang (15.00-17.00) - SY1209 and JS8122 shunting, 3 westbound empties (all JS) and 2 eastbound loads (JS, QJ).

23rd: Tianzhuang (08.30-11.15) - JS6225 shunting, SY on westbound passenger and 4 westbound departures (QJ and 3 JS); Shenxi (10.30-12.00) - 3 westbound (all JS including one with a JS banker) and 2 eastbound (QJ, JS); Tianzhuang (12.30-13.00) - One westbound (QJ) and 2 eastbound (JS, SY); and Pingdingshan Central Station (13.00-13.45) - SY0758, 1002 on passenger services and 2 eastbound freight (both JS).


On 23rd October I left the group and travelled overnight to Xian for a day at Tongchuan. I arrived at 09.00 and visited the two stabling points to the west of Tongchuan Nan Station. JF2368 and DF7 6034 were at the stabling point on the east side of the line. JF2113 and 5 DF4 were in the larger stabling point on the west side of the line. At 09.45 both JF moved to the stabling road at Tongchuan Nan where JF2365 remains dumped in a siding. No other JF were seen.

As there was no immediate sign of activity, I went to Wangshiwa where DF7C5217 was shunting. At mid-day JF2113 worked empties to Wangshiwa crossing 5217 at Biamiagou (also known as Shijiahe). At about 13.00 5217 took a few wagons up the line from Tongchuan Nan - probably to Hongtu on the "main line". JF2113 arrived back at Tongchuan Nan on loads at 15.10. JF2368 departed Tongchuan Nan at 15.40 on a second set of empties for Wangshiwa and was seen at 16.10 after the junction at Qiaoziliang where lengthening shadows were a problem. On sunny days afternoon photography is difficult - at 14.30 the sun is absolutely behind trains at Tongchuan Nan.

Handan Steelworks

Whilst I was at Tongchuan, the group visited Handan Steelworks where 9 SY were seen working, 2 were under repair and one was in use as a stationary boiler.


On 27th October 02 and 03 were working and made a combined total of 9 trips in each direction between 14.00 and 16.30.

Rob Dickinson