The International Steam Pages

Steam in China, Baotou - Shenmu, October/November 2001

Alexandre Gillieron has been seconded to work in Baotou for a short period. There is also a short note from Hans Schaefer and comments from Mike Tyack..

" October/November 2001"

All following observations and timings were noted in the  Xiangshawan (Singing Sands, Shabazi) area.

I haven't found any valid passenger timetable at Wanshuiquan Nan station.

The passenger Baotou - Shenmu is suppressed. (I am not sure if this means cancelled RD.)

There is now a daily QJ-hauled mixed train return Baotou-Yulin. No timetable was found but the train was seen northbound at 09:00 and southbound at 13:00. The consist is 4 green coaches + a few wagons.

The Hohhot - Dongsheng 'fast' passenger timetable is unchanged and was seen DF4-hauled on Nov.7th and QJ-hauled on Oct.21st, 28th and Nov.4th.

There is a new NYJ1 TGV-like diesel multiple unit return Baotou-Shenmu.

Timings at Shabazi are 09:00 southbound (crossing the northbound mixed there) and 14:50 southbound (usually crossing a freight).

All BJ1 diesel are out of service and stored at the small Wanshuiquan shed. Concerning the southbound freight traffic, mostly coal empties, it seems there is less trains in the morning, maybe due to the 3 passengers running between 09:00 and 11:00.

There was usually one train reaching Shabazi before 08:30 (too early for good photography), being overtaken by the NYJ1 and crossing the mixed there. Then usually NOTHING happens (except the northboud mixed and the southbound Hohhot-Dongsheng passenger) till noon, then normally 3 southbound freights can be seen in daylight during the afternoon.

It has now become very difficult to make a desert-backdrop shot as there is no light before 08:00 and by 10:30 the sun is already on the 'other side'. The Hohhot-Dongsheng passenger is too late for a decent shot.

There is a small touristic complex over the notorious 500m tunnel at Xiangshawan including a small hotel with Mongolian-style bungalows and a chair-lift over the valley to the sand dunes. Unfortunately the hotel is opened only during summer (what a perfect place to stay if it would be opened in winter...)

There are some good photographic opportunities South of Shabazi station, including a small bridge just 1 km from the station. Wanshuiquan Nan yards and shed are not too bad for photography, especially late afternoon with some impressive shunting and departures. There are many industry sidings north and south of the station, all shunted by the QJ's. The spotless loco of the line is 6169.

Hans Schaefer adds:

All pass-trains but DMU reported by Florian Menius are steam. No train stops at ChiangShaWen in winter, even if timetable writes stop time there!!!!! Two DF4 heading 4000 tons train at Aobaogou seen, twice. No helper to this train. North of Dongfeng no diesel seen (November 3rd and 4th).

7402/7401 are on Florian's page. Train 7402 is 07.40 Dongsheng to Wanshuiquan Nan and then 7401 11.46 Wanshuiquan Nan to Heitanggou (arrive 16.38), then 7402 again Heitanggou 17.48 to Dongsheng (arrive 19.50). It is a circle of sorts! The TGV is the new DMU service (Train 4695/98 ex Baotou 07.50 to Shenmu Bei and return 12.00 from Shenmu Bei) which is so expensive that the locals cannot afford to travel on it. Hence runs empty and 7401/2 has been introduced (steam hauled) to carry the locals!!!!

Rob Dickinson