The International Steam Pages

Steam in China, November 2003

Report of a trip to Tongchuan, JiTong-Railway, DaGu-Railway and Zhun Dong Railway from 30 October to 09 November 2003 by Stephan Thierfelder:

1. General Information

The preparation for this trip to China was very simple: We (two German steam enthusiasts) only booked the flights to Beijing and flights from Beijing to Xian and back in advance, ordered the actual version of the Chinese railway timetable from Duncan Peattie and collected information about steam operations mainly from the internet and a few magazins (Lokreport, etc.). Many thanks to all reporters from China!

Like on a previous trip to China five years ago we did not experience any problems neither with local people, which mainly have been very friendly and helpful (if they understood what we wanted to know or to have), taxi drivers (some may have needed some lectures how to read maps or Chinese signs...), nor with finding hotels or getting train tickets. In fact using the railway was very easy in most cases, even cockroaches knew how to travel in a hard sleeper ....

2. Tongchuan

30 Oct 2003

We spent all the day walking through the sun shine between Tongchuan and Shijiahe and saw the following steams trains:
JF 2113 uphill at 10:30; JF 2368 uphill at 11:00; 2113 downhill at 11:30; 2368 downhill at 13:35; 2113 uphill at 14:30 and 2113 downhill at 16:10.

31 Oct 2003

Another sunny day but nearly no trains:
JF 2113 uphill at 9:00 (light engine); 2113 downhill at 13:00; 2368 was sitting all morning long in the station of Tongchuan Nan.
We did not understand the reason for this very limited operation and the little general activitiy in the streets of Tongchuan. Maybe a local holiday?

3. JiTong Railway

02 - 05 Nov 2003
Still one of the greatest steam shows in the world, but with a slightly reduced traffic level
(about 4 - 5 trains in each direction during daylight) compared to five years ago. Three days of sun shine with temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius and a good development of steam. Day 4 was cold and grey, we left with the night steam train to Jining Nan. How many overnight steam train are there still in the world offering sleeping accomodation?

4. DaGu Railway

07 Nov 2003

After heavy rainfalls followed by snow, the dunes around Lingwu were covered by snow. We saw the following trains:
QJ XXXX uphill towards Guyaozi at 11:00; 2x QJ (tender to tender) uphill towards Guyaozi at 14:10; QJ XXXX toward Daba at 15:00

5. Zhun Dong Railway

08 and 09 November 2003
Like in Lingwu the whole scenery was covered by snow which unfortunately could not hide the disaster: The eletrification announced in a report from Oct 2003 is not a rumour but at least from Km 5 until km 20 the poles have been already set, but we did not investigate the whole line; only the bridges have not been spoiled by the poles yet and no overhead wires were installed yet. The massive concrete poles of course seriously limited the number of good photo positions. Moreover the trafic was heavily affected with engineering trains blocking the line on both mornings between about 9:00 h and about 14:30 and 13:00 h respectively:

On 8 Nov 2003 we saw the following trrains to the west of Zoujiawan/Xuejiawanfangmie
QJ 6759+QJ xxxx towards Zoujiawan at 15.05;
QJ 7067+7058 light engines towards Xiyingzi at 15.15;
QJxxxx+QJ xxxx towards Zoujiawan at 15.45;
QJ xxxx light engine towards Xiyingzi at 16.00;
QJxxxx+QJ xxxx towards Zoujiawan at 17.00;

On 9 Nov 2003 we saw the following trains in the area of Haizita (km 16):
QJ xxxx + xxxx towards Xiyingzi at 9.30;
QJ 6995 + QJ 6944 towards Zoujiawan at 12.55;
QJxxxx+QJ xxxx light engines towards Xiyingzi at 13.05;
QJ 6871+QJ 6513 towards Zoujiawan at 14.20;
QJ 6907 + QJ 6563 towards Xiyingzi at 13.05;
QJ 7058 +QJ 6555 towards Zoujiawan at 15.55;
QJxxxx+QJ xxxx light engines towards Xiyingzi at 16.00

QJ 6871+QJ 6513 are not yet listed in any report.

Rob Dickinson