The International Steam Pages
The Tongchuan JFs in 2001
Robert Hale reports:
I visited Tongchuan on Thursday 15th November 2001, taking one of the frequent minibuses from Xian. The driver dropped me right outside Tongchuan Nan (South) Station, where in the large yard I could see columns of steam. I saw five JFs in steam, which I was told was the full complement at Tongchuan.
These were numbers 2113 and 2369, which were parked in a siding, building up steam (at least in the case of 2369, where I spoke to the solitary fireman), and numbers 2182, 2365 and 2368 which spent long periods stationary in the yard at Tongchuan Nan between short trips out of sight north and south to collect a few wagons, which they would then shunt. The northwards trips took them at least as far as Tongchuan main station, and the southwards ones could have been to a number of industrial locations in the area. All heavier movements of wagons seemed to be on the hands of DF7 no. 3065 and DF7F no 7001, with DF4s arriving periodically on line trains.
The train crews appeared to tell me that steam would survive for another 3 years, but this seems like a long time, and may have been the result of communication difficulties. I spent about three hours there, and although there were always steam locomotives visible, activity from them was quite sporadic with long periods of waiting in between.
Getting to Tongchuan :
I visited on a day trip from Xian. To do this, take one of the regular minibuses which depart from a stand outside the front of the main bus station near the railway station. The stands are in a corner on the right as you look at the building. Pay on the bus, the fare is 15 yuan one way. The bus passes Tongchuan Nan, and will drop you there if asked (ask for Nanzhan).
To return, frequent buses to Xian cruise the main street of Tongchuan looking for passengers and there should be no problem finding one at least until late afternoon. Journey time is 2 to 3 hours depending on time spent waiting for passengers and how far the driver uses the new expressway. Passenger trains to Tongchuan appear to have been suspended.