The International Steam Pages

Even More Steam in China, October 2003

David Thomas reports on his solo trip to China

A. Jalainur 7/10/03 & 8/10/03

Locos working: 1285, 1375, 1401, 1416 (with deflectors), 1424, 1688 (plus lots more not noted).
Locos stores/dumped near mine railway station at junction of lines from CNR exchange sidings to the washery/ works/collieries: 0556, 0924, 1234, 1448.
In the works/running repairs shed: 0959 'light steam'; 1193 dead; 1587 in steam and being 'test run' in shed yard;
1663 under repairs in 'erecting shop'.
The works/running repairs shed is adjacent to the CNR line, but separated by a high brick wall and not obviously a railway building when the doors are closed. There are several buildings served by a fan of sidings; from the north the layout is:

  • siding that leads to a dead end coal yard
  • siding that has a short shunt-back for sand delivery to foundry (behind the 4 road running repairs shed)
  • 4 road shed used for running repairs (no coaling or water column or ash disposal noted - 3 locos here)
  • 1 road erecting shop, with wheel lathe shop and machine shop attached (1663 here, separated from tender)
  • 3 road shop, high enough to have an overhead crane - disused with piles of earth against doors at both ends
  • 2 road shop with overhead crane; 1 x steam crane under repair
  • siding with coal 'drop' adjacent to boiler house
  • 1 road shop with overhead crane
  • then an office block.

These under-utilised railway buildings are about half of a much larger area of equally under-utilised maintenance workshops for the whole of the mining operation and there is a road access (with security gate and a clear layout plan just inside showing railway sidings) to the south west. My access was by walking along the northmost line from the coal railway station and then taking the centre one where it splits left to serve a small disused colliery and right to curve under the CNR line to serve collieries to the north. I was not challenged when walking out through the road entrance.

B. Nenjiang 10/10/03

The three dumped CNR QJs are still there.
Coal railway dump: 5604, part cut up; 5684, 5896 plus tender only of 8247 Coal railway shed: 6547 under repair (rods off); 8248 dead (but recently 'in traffic')
Working: Diesel loco DF4 7690, with 2003 plates
JS 8113 which arrived on a coal train and returned trailing empties hauled by the diesel.
The shed has two newish raised access steps outside, presumably to assist in servicing diesel locos.
Unfortunately I did not find out if the diesel is a one-off. I do note, however, previous reports of the line being 'upgraded'.

C. Changchun 13/10/03

One loco, presumably SY, on one of the shed turntable roads.

D. Tieling 13/10/03

One of those annoying glimpses. Coming on train from Changchun, noted two steam locos at the end of a siding to the east at either Kaiyuan OR at Zhonggu station. Unable to see if dumped or simply 'in transit'.

E. Tiefa 13 - 15/10/03

1. The 'photo permit' cost 220 yuan per day - and was never checked by anyone.
2. The CNR 'connecting' trains are retimed, except for the 12.43 arrival (12.14 ex Tieling), and reduced to just two:
Daqing arrive 08.44 and 12.43; depart 10.01 and 17.21 (this latter having no steam 'connection' and presumably timed for people from the railway admin offices/works).
3. There is a daily express bus from Diaobingshan station ('ticket office' is a parked minibus until 14.00 only) to Shenyang, terminating nominally at the South Long Distance Bus Station, 5 mins walk to Shenyang station. Time about 2 hours. It also passes not far from Shenyang Bei station, but you'd have to recognise when to get off.
From Shenyang: 09.00, 11.30, 13.20, 15.00, 16.00, 16.40
From Diaobingshan: 05.30, 06.30, 08.00, 09.30, 12.00, 14.00
4. Train 304, was 09.14 from Diaobingshan to Daqing, is now 08.54 and runs 20 mins earlier (thus making it a 45 minute connection into the CNR departure). This change was confirmed in the signal box, but the old time is shown on the station 'departure sheet'.
5. The power station near Zhenxipu CNR is served by a line from Daqing
yard that runs parallel but some short distance to the north of the CNR
line. I saw a coal train here being hauled by the JS and banked by a SY.
6. Locos seen:
Works: 1769 oou (minus piston rods); 0393 'stored (plastic bag over chimney); 0605, 1770 under repair. No others dumped or out of use. Seen working: JS 5029 (two days); 0063, 0435, 0979,1683, 1749, 1767, 1771, 1772.
7. Hotel. Staff at the red-brick hotel to the right of Diaobingshan station are unable to reply to even the simplest questions in English. Instead, they switch on a computer that has an English/Chinese translation package and insist on using it. Beware! The computer is not intelligent and shows 'dollars' instead of 'yuan'. The 160 yuan 'hotel fee' (computer words) appears to be a key deposit only; the communal bath/shower is included in the room price.

F. Fuxin 16 & 17/10/03

Working/in steam: 0076, 0126, 0319, 0540, 0770, 0785, 0988, 0989, 1088, 1195, 1210, 1319, 1320, 1378, 1395, 1396, 1397 In works: 1319 boiler out; OOU behind works: 1088 Derelict on loco stabling point: 0403, 0541.
Xinqui: Loco shed still stands, trackless and disused. Transfer to CNR appears to be only for occasional traffic. The former 'big pit' still has some coal moved out by lorry to a nearby siding.
Xinqui - a No. 4 midibus runs every few minutes from adjacent to a level crossing not far west of Xinqui station along the dusty road for about 2.5 miles parallel to the railway line towards Fuxin. Catch it - the line here is overshadowed by trees, so walking alongside in the hope of a rare photo opportunity is pointless.

G. Yuanbaoshan 18/10/03

One train a day train runs from Chiefeng (07.20) to Anqinggou (circa 8.10) and returns at 14.08 (this time confirmed; it is a retiming; previously ran about 2 hours later).
The 'mixed' to Yuanbaoshan started from Fengshuigou at 10.23 (?scheduled c. 10.00), NOT from Anqinggou. However, it is possible to walk from Anqinggou after alighting from the 07.20 ex Chiefeng using the foot/cycle path to the NW side of the CNR line until just after Fengshuigou colliery's electric NG line passes underneath, then take a footpath to the station. Allow 60 - 75 minutes to walk it.
8218 worked 4 trucks as a 'trip' to Anqinggou, arrive there about 08.55, returning almost immediately with 5 empties.
Locos seen working: 6544, 8218, 8249, 8250.
A previous report mentions a less than friendly 'welcome'. I found this in the Yuanbaoshan station and yard area, where there are 'no trespassing' signs and I was asked to leave by a 'plain clothes policeman' after crossing the tracks. The requested 'fine' of 20 yuan was dealt with by giving away two postcards of London. Elsewhere no problem.

H. Yima 26/10/03

This is a very run down straightforward open cast mine. To get to the edge of the working face is literally 3 minutes' walk from Yima station, looking down on the loading point. Which is a problem - the mine cannot extend without under-mining the CNR station approach road, alongside which already some buildings have subsided.
There is a single loading siding and the line then curves round 360 degrees over about 3 km, climbing out of the pit to the washery and sidings from which there is a short connecting line to CNR. The mine sidings are less than a km to the east of the CNR passenger station. The local map in the CNR station which shows railway lines is NOT accurate!
Locos working: 6215, 8087, 8092, 8275.
There is a works/shed apparently out of use and locked up. Rusting disused inside were 2 x SY and one JS.
A further JS was OOU in the open - tender No. 6061. Passenger trains to/from Luoyan were running 10 - 30 minutes late - beware if making connections.

I. Pindingshan 28-30/10/03

1. SIPO line. The SIPO passenger service had a Bo-Bo diesel GKD1 0021,
built 2003; there was a second, No. 0020, at Teishan. Two larger diesels, Co-Cos with 2001 plates ...0036 and one other, were on 'line' freight. At Sipo the line continues, freight only, to the Steel Mill. Shunting the 'exchange siding' were two SY - 0337 and 1416, both facing south. Although they can be photographed, the mill itself is guarded by several security cabins. There's an open air basic coaling and water point here.
A well-maintained line curves off uphill to the right and serves two passenger platforms before terminating at a third platform adjacent to a siding and run-round loop. None have name boards. Total distance from the exchanges siding is about 4 km. I mention this because at Teishan there was a second rake of passenger coaches on a running line. Are they just 'spare' or is there an unadvertised service to these platforms?
Teishan (1.5 hours ride from Pingdingshan) has the loco shed/sidings, just beyond the station. Here were:
Dead but clearly recently in traffic: SY 0483. Ditto, inside one-loco single line shed: SY 0779 Out of use; from rust probably for 6 - 12 months: SYs 0380, 0548, 0780, 1059. Presumably disused from time of the Bo-Bo diesels arriving. There is what appeared to be a derelict factory at the opposite end of the station to the shed. Is/was this the loco works? NOT explored.
It was a long way to go behind a diesel to see just two working SYs, and takes a whole day if using the train both ways!! Although Teishan station is on a dead end side road, half a mile away is a main road that serves Sipo town centre (walk to it along the loco turning triangle). It's about 6 - 7km tedious walk from Sipo station to Teishan shed.
Incidentally, at Pingdingshan midibus route 24 goes to the level crossing at Bailou passenger station for Sipo trains and then runs around the outskirts of town to the south of the CNR line before turning towards the centre.
2. Line to 13th Mine (Shisankuang)/Yuxian. If lineside walking, the platform with a 4km post on it is NOT in use. It is replaced by one about half a kilometre further away from Pingdingshan.
At Shisankuang the passenger train runs forward about 300m from station into the mine itself, but only for miners; 'ordinary' passengers have to alight at the station.
Shisankuang station is served by bus 13 along a partly made up road. This is not a Pingdingshan bus route, but runs to Xiangcheng town. It is NOT parallel to the line (they go opposite sides of a hill). It crosses the freight-only line to Yuxian about 2km north of the junction Qilidian station (which itself is adjacent to the main road).
A freight with QJ on either end was noted drifting into Qilidian from Yuxian at 14.40 seen from the 13.40 Zhongxin - 13th Mine passenger train. One loco was QJ 6786.
3. Locos seen, including shed/works visit, all in use: * = on passenger train (these 3 x SY only)
SY: 0758*, 1002*, 1209, 1687*
JS: 5644, 6225, 6235, 6429, 8030, 8031, 8054, 8057, 8062, 8065, 8068, 8120, 8122, 8132, 8338 QJ: 2035, 6450, 6650, 6690, 6786, 6813, 7186 Also 6252 OOU and part dismantled at shed.
Baofeng CNR depot - one loco in red primer seen from a distance - SY, or possibly JS.
4. Hotel. At Jinxiu Hotel the payment system can cause confusion. I asked for 3 nights and was charged 400 yuan, which I took to be a 10% discount on the normal 148 yuan per night = 444 yuan total. Then on my last evening I had increasingly insistent conversations with staff demanding a further 200 yuan, which was eventually explained as the 'balance' of 44 yuan plus a refundable key deposit of 156 yuan.

Rob Dickinson