The International Steam Pages

Steam in China, April 2001

Hideki.Sakurai travelled Shuangfeng, Tieli, Langxiang, Yichun, Weihe, and Shed at Hegang in April 2001, see also his tantalising PS from March! The Anhui information was updated on June 10th 2001.

Owing to space limitations on my server, the images from this report have been removed (15th June 2004). 

1. Shuangfeng Forestry Railway was closed around 1987. The switchyard is still tenantless. The Shuangfeng station etc are replaced to residences.However, the town that has the biggest log and timber market in Northern Heilongjiang still takes life.

2. Tieli Forestry Railway was closed 1989. The main station is now used as a sawmill. There remain some derelicts such as railroad bridges, a level crossing and its box.

3. Langxiang Forestry Railway was quite famous among mainline maniacs who paid visits at Nancha. It was featured a few times by Japanese railway mags in past (about 10 years ago). However only a few relics remain there. The switchyard was replaced to the main street. A local told that this ceased railway was featured on TV by their local broadcasting last year.

4. In the Yichun area there were, allegedly, 3 or 4 narrow gage railways.
Yichun Forestry Bureau .... No one knows when it was closed.
Yiouhao Forestry Railway .... Locals told the last one was closed in 1994-95. These agree with what my friend got to know from old Japanese mag.
Xinqing Forestry Railway .... A local mentioned that it was closed about 1990 and others said it was closed in the early 90s..
Xilin Lead and Zinc Mine .... You know the status. I heard that 4 European and 1 Japanese parties visited there during the last one year.

5. In addition to other reports, Xilin Lead and Zinc Mine is operated under Xilin local government as well as the steel mill named 'Xigang'. They have an ore to concentrate process. The concentrate is shipped to major Chinese zinc refineries and Korea. The zinc content is relatively higher but it will dry up in 3 - 5 years. As of 26th April they use two engines. The station master of 'Dishiqihuochezhan' (means 17km station) makes the transportation plan by the day. On 25th they had three trains but on 26th run only two trains. On this 21Km line there are three stations before the mine where electric cars work. I agreed there are several photogenic spots. Unfortunately most of all are far away from the road. You might get on the coach at 20 - 50 RMB a person as many Europeans, whom locals deemed as Russians, did. If you visit at the base station, someone could offer you a ride or a run.

6. Weihe use their steam engines until 10th May. Next steam operation is expected on 1st December. I heard for 2001-02 season they would reduce deforest area considerably. By the way I found their diesel loco again. The shed is located in Yulin. On 29th April they use one diesel engine. Another one which I showed you last year hibernates in the shed. I saw the other scrapped one. In terms of a report on your home page, daytime passenger trains are local services. The late afternoon one is rapid service. As you might be aware, the fares are slightly different.

7. Fortunately Deputy general manager of Hegang permitted me to enter their shed. But he strongly requested to contact their Foreign correspondent department before paying a next visit. They use 10 electric loco and 10 steam (SY). An old JF is now lodged in their storehouse located 30 min away from the shed.

While on a business trip to Anhui in March, I saw steam engines working at Maanshan, where is famous for its steel industry, and at Tongling, which is a centre of copper industry. (See Quail Page 6, Ning Tong line, RD). In May 2001 only JS and SY were seen active with QJs dumped at Wuhu.

Rob Dickinson