The International Steam Pages
The Jiayang Coal Railway (Sichuan)
Li Nan is proving to be an intrepid explorer after my own heart. I have left his report largely as sent to capture its spirit. Click here for his October 1999 visit.
"Both Jiayang and Mojiang were explored on June 14th 1999. We set out from Wutongqiao. Allen Deng, my colleague of Chongqing CITS, son of a Chongqing G. Steel Works loco driver, went along with me.
It is located at the southern bank of Daduhe at Caoba, Leshan. The 762mm gauge line ends up here to a cement factory and a truck ferry dock. Its depot was briefly visited in which 2 Changzhou built electric engines(ZL14-I/14ton/Nov. 1980) were repaired, Nos 01 and 02. And a diesel engine 07 (Changzhou built CZ-60-A/Jan. 1966) was seen. Outside the depot, another ZL14-I, numbered 03 and 04 parked with a homemade electric loco (Numbered 6) which didn't have any signs to tell its type and manufacturer were seen.
Mojiang Coalmine owns 5 14-ton locos and 2 smaller locos.
The depot is composed by two sections. One is for locos and the other is for tunnel coal wagons (600mm). 100 metres from the depot is the train station and quite a few passenger coaches parked with coal wagons at the platform. As chief of the transportation division told me, 16 trains serve the coal and passengers daily along some 20 km line. (Mixed, coal or passenger only? Unknown.)
Originally, the Mojiang Coalmine was linked with another mine-Guanshan. But a truck road was built to Guanshan a few years ago. I explored from Guanshan and only an abandoned line remained there with wireless poles, thought to be 3-4 km long. From Jinhecun, wires were seen and 8 wagons were loaded with limestone. From Jinhecun, all the way to Mojiang, along 8-10km line a few little station platforms were seen. I didn't see any coalmines though there was a branch line indicated to Mojiang Mine - I didn't have time to to take a ride on this line.
According to the workers, this line was powered by 8 Shijiazhuang made C2s before those Changzhou locos. Some one also indicted that there was another line, standard or n.g., lies on the opposite bank of the river in a cement factory. I didn't explore it this time, too.
Jiayang Coalmine (762mm)
Jiayang Coalmine was visited the same day. I took the last ferry boat in the afternoon across the turbulant Min River. And fortunately, I got on the last train as we arrived.
At the Terminal station, 8 passenger coaches (not mixed train) were ready to leave powered by a Shijiazhuang built C2, Numbered 13. I expected to find there were some Chengdu-built Rongjian but found none.
These coaches were home made and there were 3 types of them: one door with side-benches for passengers, one door goods wagon with only one short bench and two-door passenger coach. They have both-sides metal shutter widows.
Four passenger trains serve round-trips (2hrs and a half) daily: (two in the morning-5:30 and 9:00 and another two in the afternoon: 2:00 and 5:30)
Seven stations for the whole trip:
The ticket fee is 3 yuan for one way.
Plenty coal wagons were seen yet no coal trains to be seen.
Two optional stops were made among the stops. The ride was just spectacular with the beautiful mountain valleys. However, the locos were very heavily used-Allen's altimeter said it climbed from the Terminal (460m) all the way up to the other end at 670m within some 20 km. More than 6 tunnels we went through.
The fireman with only a pair of pants on (it was 34 degrees Centigrade with 85% humidity outside but in the cab it might be over 45) shone by flames in the furnace when he shovelled the coal.
The depot was next to the Terminal.
Working ones, No 9, 11, 13, 10 and 12, All Shijiazhuang C2s; besides, two newly equipped, Mudanjiang built diesels there but not used for they are too expensive to use(!).
This mine will survive as long as those C2s last. For the most important reason is the major living communities are at Bagou, the far end of the line in the mountains. Wherever people want to go they have to take the trains. There is no bus road built to there and seems there won't be. Secondly, a new power station has been built, and it belongs to the Jiayang Co. Ltd. The coal mine doesn't worry about the weak market and they can constantly provide coal to the power station by this line.
Time was too limited thus I didn't take the Mojiang train nor could I see the branch line to the mine.
I also didn't visit the Jiayang depot and looked at the locos they had. From the pictures I took, there was a C2 in steam at the gate of the depot and 2 tenders there. A diesel was covered with red and white strip plastics.
Better ways of getting into these spots I learned though my trip was painfully long and all the ways of transportation were taken from rickshows, passenger ferry, truck ferry, mini bus, motor bike taxi, tractors, etc.
Further research needs to be done at both mines, such as:
Jiayang Railway History
Jiayang is located at the mountain range southwest from Leshan. Its No. 1 mine (old mine) is about to be finished and local passengers might point at "English Mine" at Huangcunjin, Bajaogou (banana valley, old mine administry situated.) From there a horse trekking pass linked with it to a tributary of the Min River. Coal was carried out onto junks and then went by Min River to other destinations. In my history book, a French managed coal company was noted as Fu'an Coal Mine. In 1958, during the Great Leap Forward Era, Chongqing Steel and Iron Works helped to build up its infrastructure by sending experts and build its railway 762mm from Huangcunjin, Bajaogou, Jaoba (coking yard), and down to Mifengyan (honey rock), in total 10 km. Chongqing Tianfu Coal Mine also gave two 0-8-0 tenderless Xingjian to here. Later, a new railway was built from Mifengyan to Yuejin (leaping forward, No.3 mine-still actively in production and the present mine administry located), and to Shixi, the Terminal, totalling 20km along with the old railway.
It is situated at the left end of the Shixi Station, with the coal dump yard next to it. Escorted by Mr. Lu, Chief of transport division, we visited into the depot. No.10 out the shed was ready to start the fire after the service, No.09 and 12 were receiving overhauls. The depot makes parts by themselves for they are very hard to come by. They also went to other places where same type of steams were used, such as Yongchuan Coal Washing (that was my first time to hear of the name of Jiayang), and Pengzhou-Baishuihe, to buy spare parts. Two covered Mudanjiang built diesels parked outside the depot with a spare three axle tender. The worker said the diesels burned too much diesel, compared with uncharged coal for the steams, they were not ideal.
Chris West based in London doubted the steam locos here were C2s, they were more likely to be KP-4. The local workers referred them as Type No.3 of the Shijiazhuang, larger and more powerful than Type No.2 as those running at Pengzhou. The time of the largest loco fleet Jiayang owned reached 15.
Now there are 6 steam locos and 2 Mudanjiang-built diesels (not used). They are: 07, 09, 10, 12, 13, 15 (steam); No. 1 and 2 (diesels) Jiayang depot built a steam by themselves. Bernd Seiler found its builder's plate marked with "Sichuan Province Jiayang Coalmine Build" and date "1974.7". It's for No.12. Mr. Lu said there was a ceremony held at Jaiyang to celebrate it. They also build carriages and coal wagons (160 in total.)
We were ushered onto No. 8 car (VIP and Captain coach). A postman came up with full bags of mail. This train had eight carriages and there was a carriage only of the passengers with big parcels or animals. We took the 09..00 train out and came back by the 14.00 train. The stewardess (each car had one) sold tickets and operated the hand brake under her bench while the train going down the hill.
The best photographic section was believed between Xianrenjao and Mifengyan-steep rail, beautiful valley with rice terraced, ricky cliffs and a very good tunnel. The train left from Shixi to Mifeng with tender-first. There was a special thing we noticed on the railway. From the main track downwards there was a single track (thought to be 4 metres long) spread out to the side with an adjustable rod linked with the main track. Local workers said it was for avoiding the "jumping track" and then misjoint while the train came down hill with hard brakes.
Another interesting thing we saw was the farmers home made 4x4 sledge carrying their loads between the train schedule. However, the rail administraion strongly prohibit it. Anyone who was caught would be fined! New power poles (bared) were installed along the rail side at Shixi. Mr. Lu said the mine was short of budget for electrifying the rail. But what if their largest customer, the power plant, decides to pay the coal by electrifying the transportation? I hate to imagine it.
For the No. 1 mine is about to be finished, coal trains are rare-once for many days. We were lucky to meet it headed by No.015 at Mifeng.