The International Steam Pages

Shibanxi Holiday 2011 - Vive le Difference

Long ago (December 2001) I visited the Pengzhou - Baishuihe line north of Chengdu during the same trip as my first visit to Shibanxi. However, the pictures were removed later when I ran out of space on my then server. When the line closed around 2004, I just assumed that the remaining steam locomotives would be scrapped but in fact two were bought by the Jiayang Company for eventual use here and I saw them in 2009, stored at the back of the shed at Shixi. Just before our own visit, John Raby reported seeing one of them in light steam at Shixi and later on a couple of short weekend workings to Mifeng.

Click here for the main Shibanxi Holiday 2011 page.

I have already uploaded some pictures of ex-Pengzhou New Boy #8, but I had to wait nearly 3 weeks for chances to see it close up. We have never seen it on the regular passenger train and it has appeared irregularly and unpredictably on coal and tourist trains. The first chance came when one of our departing guests tipped Yuehong off that it was on its way with a coal train, but there was no point in going to Huangcun as the loco barely stops before coming off the train, shunting out the fulls, propelling in the empties and running round to take the fulls out, so this was it coming through Bagou on Day 20. When it came back the fireman switched on an injector wreathing the whole loco in steam... 

Finally, I caught it stationary at Bagou on Day 21 when Wilson Lythgoe arrived at the Tianya Guest House and told me he had come up with it on a tourist train, of course by the time I got to the station it was running back tender first, but at least I could get some quick detailed shots. When it came back later in the afternoon, the crew most inconsiderately parked it next to the concrete poles seen in the picture below and I only got a clear view as it departed...

The pictures which follow are intended to compare it with the rest of the Shibanxi fleet. Unfortunately, it is very 'leaky' (the front 3/4 shot was useless here) and this with the dank weather made photography difficult. On the left are pictures of #8 and on the right an original loco. I would welcome informed comments from those with more technical expertise than me...

Immediately obvious differences on #8 include the front extension with steps, straight chimney, different cab, injectors mounted on the running plate, clack valves on top of boiler (instead of side), whistle mounted in front of cab (instead of dome)...

Without a tape measure to confirm it, I cannot be sure, but #8's cylinders look larger, note the tail on the piston rod.

#8 has roller bearings compared to the plain metal type. Note also the absence of a 'wear plate' between wheel and frame. To me the wheels look slightly smaller or maybe the axle spacings are greater. Another tape measure job. Both locos have flangeless wheels where the drive is taken, a common feature in locos with multiple driving axles which are not articulated.

The valve gear looks similar on both locomotives:

Similarly on the other side, the original has a lubricator mounted on the main frame, you can see #8's in the next picture:

These are the side views, showing #8's lubricators and injector feed and whistle.

As expected, #8 has lost its Westinghouse brake pump and air cylinder as these are not needed here.

As you've worked your way through some pretty turgid stuff, here's a pretty picture of #8 on the tourist train on Day 22. On this occasion I took the view that it was likely to appear on the second tourist train around lunchtime and as a result, I had a pleasant wait of no more than 30 minutes...

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson