The International Steam Pages

Steam in Northern China March 2002

Simon Colbeck reports on Steam and Safari's China trip in March 2002 (plus Jalainur):

"I'm sure Derek Jenkins will provide a full report on this trip on his return from South China. As such this report only highlights new information or parts of the tour Derek was not around for e.g., Changchun and Jalainur."


The Chifeng area coalmines were visited due to the demise of steam in the Tonghua area. These mine systems had been mapped and reported on in detail by J. Middleton. The maps below are based on Johns, to who we owe thanks.

Chifeng Area

The Pingzhuang system links a number of deep mines and a large open cast pit. The open cast pit is electrified la Fuxin style. Steam works track trains and a one-coach dido down the hole.


Steam also works the lines to the deep mines and away from the washery shown above. That really is a brewery marked on the map. This is accessed across a level crossing from where most of the action can be seen. The system was nice and busy on the day of our visit with 12 engines seen in steam. Fleet is a mix of SYs and long deflectored JS.

Locos seen on day of visit as follows;
KD6 487 dumped in compound next to electric depot.
SY 0400, 1007, 0304 On steam shed
JS 6401, 1001, 5758 All working
SY0766, 0517, 1085, 0798, 1083, 0271, 0746, 1025 All working.

JS6401 Pinzhuang mine 2/3/02:



This is another mine system near Chifeng.100% JS worked. The line serves a number of mines, a power station and two exchange yards with CNR. One on the Tongliao line and one on the Yebaishou line. A conveyer is being built from the mines to the power station, which will one assumes will wipe out much of the line's traffic.


A twice-daily passenger operates form Yaunboashan to Anqinggou as a mixed, although neither station appears shared with CNR. In the mornings this leaves at 0700 and crossed the bridge shown at around 0720. The power station itself is worked by 2-diesel locos. The climb up to the mines is very steep and we heard one JS go up with a load of empties thrashed to death.

JS 8249 Yuanbaoshan mixed.

ch02059.jpg (29685 bytes)

Empties leave Yuanbaoshan station yard tender first to the exchange siding where the JS runs around and charges the bank. Traffic is difficult to predict due the track layout on day of visit, a Sunday 5 engines were in steam. Traffic is not just coal, loaded grain train was seen heading for the Yuanbaoshan exchange sidings. Could it be the line does soon bypass trip work for CNR ?

JS 6246 at Anqinggou 3/3/02:


The afternoon pass to Anqinggou leaves I think at 1600. On arrival the loco shunted the yard and then took out the fulls to Anqinggou exchange yard shown above.

Locos seen as follows
JS 6249,  8418,  8218, 6246,  8250 All working
JS 8216, 6245, 6544, 8250 In depot.
JS 6066 dumped.


The depot is now full of shiny new electric's steam works contained the following;
GJ 1018 shunting up and down
SY 1561, 1567, 0881
QJ 6356.
How much longer this dilapidated workshop can keep overhauling steam is anyone's guess. But it has to be the weakest link in Chinese steam survival.

ANSHAN 4/3/02

Still only allowed in front of the blast furnaces. This area is now 50% diesel worked, however it is still a good spectacle. No sign of any YJ's or PL's.


SY 0571 ANSHAN 4/3/02

Loco's seen
SY0306, 1035, 0136, 0835, 0902, 1566, 0090, 0436, 0571, 0833, 1555, 0131, 1038, 0438


One the way to the new light railway depot the following SYs were seen at the car plant power station exchange sidings. These can be viewed from Changchun south station.
SY0984, 0103 and 0086 dumped.


Very few reports have come from Jalainur over the last couple of years, but the pit is still well worth a visit. Although nowhere near operating at capacity there are still plenty of trains. Map below shows most of the main features. We had the services of a local guide "Jack" who managed to get us into all the locations. He seemed to know what gricers want.


The classic shots into the pit can still be had, although 15 plumes of steam aren't possible anymore.


Loaded coal comes from the pit bottom up a couple of levels to the base of the conveyer tender first. Spoil zig zags to the top of the pit and round to the spoil dumping area. A one-coach pass works to the wagon works at around 0800 from below the office marked above. A second leaves around 0830 for the washery and returns chimney first across the road crossing marked above at about 1600.

Locos seen in steam as follows;
SY 1600, 1618, 1193, 1110, 1449, 0958, 1689, 1690, 1258, 3005, 1416, 1654, 1401, 1256, 1586, 1650, 1041, 1375, 1449, 1257.

The dump marked on the map is two lines of tracks in a field!! It contained the following.
JF 2420, 4067, 2355, 4068, 0841
SY 1376, 1371, 0614, 1663, 1664, 1678, 1617, 1681, 1284, 1619, 1601.
Ex-works SY 1374, 1285, 1192, 0794.

The wagon shop area contained the following all stored. Some wired to ground electricity with guys living in them !!
SY 0959, 1587, 0795, 0957, 0471, 1303, 0613, 1450, 1250, 1286, 0682

The workshops are well equipped and contained the following
SY 1193, 1449, 1496.

Jalainur 6/03/02:




The diesel depot contained no steam. A few QJ wheel sets and the steam crane the only reminders of the past.

The guide had been refused permission to go to the works as they claimed there was no steam there anymore and that it was being converted for repairing electric locos. However we tried and were refused by the gate guard. Eventually the guide found the rail access to the works where we managed a sneak at the reception area. It contained the following

QJ7104, QJ6773, JS5740. All were in reasonable condition. Both QJ's had rods off for transport and looked to have been steamed very recently, In for cutting or repair, who knows ??


Steam is going quickly, even Anshan now looks in its eleventh hour. The highlight for me was the Chifeng area mines, which were a joy. JSs with deflectors in good condition.

Jalainur is spectacular, if a long hike to get to but worth it.

Sujiatun is a dump which must be struggling to keep up with its work load.

And has Changchun finished steam overhauls or not ?

Rob Dickinson