The International Steam Pages
Steam on the JingPeng Pass October 1999
Hans continues to provide information on the line - comments on developments and the line capacity (added 6th March 2000). Duncan Cotterill has raised some questions and thrown a few figures in the ring to which Hans has added his response (26th March 2000). Further contributions are very welcome please contact Duncan or Hans directly and I will add the results to this page.
Report from visit to Jintong line from October 19th to October 31st 1999.
This time in China I visited Jintong line only, as I am now using most of the time to work on the engines, instead of standing outside and freezing. Here are some updates about the service on the line, and the use of steam engines.
As of now there are absolutely no plans to replace the QJs (I ought to refrain from pointing out that we have heard this said many time elsewhere....RD). Additionally, JinTong line, with money from itself, and the Inner Mongolian Givernment as well as China Rail, is now building a new line, from Sangendalai (West of Baichi) to Xilinhaote. Planned to be opened in 2003. According to newspaper reports they gave me at Daban, the line will be constructed to allow a train weight of 1150 ton for one QJ and 2300 ton for two, the same as on the Jingpeng pass. The line will be operated by QJs.
Daban and Baichi are the main depots. Daban has 44 own engines, and cares for 15 from Chabuga. Baichi is themain deport for the eniges west of Haoluku. I do not know the assignemant there, but observed which engines visit Haoloku.
Just a few words about running these QJs:
They are running 6300 kilometres between boiler washouts. Every 3000 and 10000 kilometres there is a small scheduled repair. Typically the engines of Daban do one run to Haoluku and back in a day, or just a little more, which accounts to 400 to 450 km.
Most engines have some minor problems, like nonfunctioning coal pushers or nonfunctioning warm waterpumps. On these engines, footplate riding gives you the chance to do some hard work on the tender, shovelling coal to the front!
Here is the Daban roster of engines:
First brigade: 7037, 6884, 6576, 6580, 7002, 7010 (ex works Sujiatun Sept 99), 7063
Second brigade: 6375, 6992, 6274, 6876, 2645 (this loco has no longer smoke screens fitted and is shunting at Daban now), 6638, 6687
Third brigade: 7040, 6735, 6878, 7041, 7137, 6135, 6911 (passenger loco between Daban and Chabuga)
Fourth brigade: 6388 (major overhaul Mudanjiang), 6735, 6828, 6996 (fitted with Giesl ejector, very good to keep pressure up at 15 on the way up Jingpeng pass), 6998, 6356, 6389, 6760)
Fifth brigade: 7009, 7012, 6125, 6110, 7143, 6351, 6631 (passenger loco Daban Chabuga), 7048
Sixth brigade: 6517, 6301, 6763 (poor boiler), 7007 (passenger engine Daban Haoloku, with 6998 as
replacement), 6639, 6577, 6925, 6230
Dead engines in Daban: 2388, 6027, 6050, 6079, 6630, 6632, 1760, 2706 with tender from 6876, 7142 without number plates, damaged in collision 1996.
Chabuga engines: 3073 passenger loco, 6349, 6358, 6385, 6572, 6478, 6751, 6988, 7038, 6853, 7163, 7164, 7049, 7112, 7105.
Baichi engines seen in Haoluku: 6912, 6564, 6563 (not seen, but talked with driver, loco serves line to Benhong), 6835, 7088, 6636, 6483, 7136, 7138, 7139, 7112, 6854
1. The construction plans for the JiTong Railway were completed in December 1988. The ceremony to celebrate the start of construction work was held on 22 June 1990. Trial working commenced on 26 September 1995, and on 1 December 1995, the Deputy Premier of the State Council, Wu Bang Guo, the Deputy Head of the [? Commission - I will try and find out what organ of government this refers to] Bu He, the Minister of Railways, Han Shu Bin and other leaders, attended the formal ceremony to mark the opening to traffic of the JiTong Railway.
2. Total cost of the line was RMB2,170 million.
3. The line capacity is around 17 millions tons per annum. Total tonnage in 1996 was 5.04 million, for 1997 7.31 million, for 1998 7.60 million, and 7.60 million is estimated for 1999.
4. The JiTong Railway's more than 100 steam locomotives are from the Ministry of Railways, Shanghai bureau, Lanzhou bureau, Shenyang bureau, Hohhot bureau, Beijing bureau, purchased from eight depots. Up to now, (the locomotives) have already served for 20-30 years (this info is a bit suspect, as most engines are from the later 70s or 80s) .
A new line is being built to the north from the Jitong line. It will be opened in 2001 and run with QJ.
The translated press release from Jitong line (from September):
"The Xi-sang line start from Xilinhaote in the north. It goes first to south-east and down to south ends at Sanggendalai connected with the Jitong (Jining- Tongliao) line. The whole Xisang line is 152 km long. It is Jitong line's subline. Xisang line's designed capacity per year is 3,240,000 tons of freight per year, and one pair of passenger trains until 2006. Long term designed capacity is 11,000,000 tons per year until 2011.
Main technical data are:
It's a local rail first class line. The line is a single track line. Max. upgrade slope is 12%, and min. slope is 6%. Min. turning radius in general areas is 600 m, and 400 m at difficult areas. Steam locomotive type QJ will be used. Maximum train weight: single QJ 1150 tons, and double QJ 2300 tons.
14 stations, including the starting and destination stations, will be set up along the Xisang line. Six of them will be opened first, and 8 of them later. The two end stations will be opened first (?).
The whole line's investment is 350 million RMB. Capital investment is 240 million RMB, Jitong Railway Co. Ltd. will invest 160 million RMB. The project officially started on 22.09.1999. The construction period is 2 years. The line is estimated to be ready in 2001. Xisang line is to be built and operated by Jitong Railroad Co. Ltd. The main reason for this line is to open the connection between the region with rich mine supplies and the industrial area. Boost the local economy."
In an Email to me Hans says: "We had some communication lately about the capacity of the Jitong railway. You said it may already run to capacity. I got an official document from them, where it is written that the capacity is 7 million tons per year. Traffic in 1998 was 7.6 million tons, estimated in 1999 also 7.6 million tons. Long term capacity should be 17 million tons, but that requires an additional 46 stations to be built. (They have 55, planned are 101). I presume they sometimes run over capacity, and that can be done by letting trains get late. Probably the capacity boundary is set up to guarantee a certain service level. If you reduce service level, you may be a ble to transport more. I can try to compute actual capacity, looking a bit more on line geometry."
Below the translation of a text I got, with my comments in italics.
General Information about Jitong Railway (an updated more accurate translation of the initial part and footnotes courtesy of Robin Gibbons added 26th March 2000)
On 1 December 1995, the country's famous joint venture railway, the JiTong railway, formally commenced operations and became part of China's national railway network. This line is a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the Inner-Mongolia Autonomous Region Government. Both parties were responsible for its construction, and share the profits and bear the risks in operating the railway together.
The JiTong line starts in the west from the Ji(ning) Er(lian) lines Benhong station, and ends at Zhelimu station on the TongHuo line in the east. It traverses the heartland of the Inner-Mongolia Autonomous Region, passing through Ulanqab Mengs 1 Chayouhouqi, Shangdu County, and Huade County; Xilin Gol Mengs Xianghuangqi, Zhengxiangbaiqi and Zhenglanqi; Chifeng Citys Keshiketengqi 2, Linxi County, Bairin Zuoqi (Lindong), Bairin Youqi (Daban), Ar Horqin Qi (Tianshan); Zhelimu Mengs Kailu County and Tongliao City. The Jitong lines main traffic is freight . The total length is 945 km and it is currently the longest joint venture railway in China.
The JiTong railway is an east-west main line that connects the "Three Norths" (Northeast China, North China, and Northwest China), and improves the overall structure of the Chinese railway network . It is an important additional route for moving "coal from west to east, and wood from east to the west"3, and especially for exploiting state energy resources further to the west. It will also accelerate the development of Inner-Mongolia's coal and mining resources, and help resolve the Northeast region's energy shortage problem. It is also an important part of the Europe-Asia land bridge as part of the route between Jinzhou - Erlian - Ulaan Baatar - Moscow - Rotterdam. The JiTong railway's construction and operation is important in developing border trade, strengthening national defence, and stimulating the economy of the "Three Norths".
According to statistical data, along the JiTong line, there are more than 30 kinds of proven mineral reserves, and over 100 mineral deposits. These mineral resources include: 47 billion tons of coal, 150 million tons of iron, 12 billion tons of marble, 2.3 million tons of lead and zinc, 400 thousand tons of tin, 50 thousand tons of tungsten, 11 million tons of natural soda, 30 million tons of limestone. In addition, other non-ferrous metals are plentiful and Kailu has 800 million 1.2 billion tons of oil reserve.
The terrain traversed by the JiTong line is high in the west and falling to the east. At the western end, the line is 1,477 metres above sea level and at its eastern end, 183 metres. The line from Benhong to Keqi crosses the Mongolian plateau, part of it across the sand dunes of the southern end of the Onqin Daga desert. Between Keqi and Linxi County, it crosses the Da Hinggan mountains. From Linxi County to Ar Horqin Qi is an area of low mountains, and from Ar Horqin Qi to Tongliao the line traverses the Liaohe plain.
The climate of the area through which the railway passes is of the continental dry and cold type. The annual average temperature is 1 °C - 6.5 °C. (In winter), the soil freezes to a depth of 2-3 metres. Annual average wind speed is 4.2 - 4.7 m/s. The record high wind speed is 25.3-30.3 m/s. Annual average precipitation level is 310 - 427 mm.
Main technical data of JiTong line are the following. It is a "first class" single line. The line capacity is currently 7 million tons per year (with a planned increase to) 17 million tons per year in the future. Line capacity is 17 pairs (of trains) per day in the near term and 34 pairs per day in future. Limiting gradient is 0.6% for single locos and 1.2% for double headed trains. The minimum curve radius is generally 800 m but in certain restricted locations this is as low as 400m or even 350m. The length of station loops is 700m which will be increased to 850m. in future. The motive power is QJ steam locomotives which are capable of hauling up to 2,800 tons. Communication is by open overhead wires. Signalling is by colour light and electrically interlocked semaphores. Block type is relay controlled semi-automatic.
The JiTong railway has plans for 101 stations, of which 55 are currently open.
These include six divisional stations:
Benhong, Baiqi, Haoluku, Daban, Chabuga, Zhelimu
12 intermediate stations:
Shangdu, Huade, Xinghe, Yalagaitu, Sanggendalai, Jingpeng, Shangdian, Linxi, Gulumanhan, Lindong, Fuxingdi, Kailu
and 37 crossing places4.
The JiTong railway's principal loco depots are at Daban and Baiqi. Depots at Benhong, Haoluku, Tianshan, Zhelimu are used for turning locos. There are servicing facilities at Jingpeng and Linxi5, and crew changing facilities6 at Shangdu. The JiTong railway's main rolling stock servicing locations are:
motive power depot at Daban
principal (section) vehicle inspection depots at Daban, Baiqi, Zhelimu
secondary vehicle inspection depots at Benhong, Haoluku, and Chabuga
passenger coach servicing facilities at Daban
infrared testing and repairing equipment,7 also at Daban
The total investment for the JiTong line is RMB 2,170 billion. The Ministry of Railways invested RMB 669 million and the Inner-Mongolia Government invested RMB 608 million. In addition, USD150 million was borrowed from the World Bank (equivalent to RMB890 million). Total cost per km was RMB2.3 million, or RMB2.05million /km excluding loan interest during construction (and working capital).8
The JiTong railway's major engineering statistics are:
volume of earthworks 52 million m³;
30 viaducts with a total length of 6,480m;
44 medium sized bridges with a total length of 3,055m;
47 small bridges with a total length of 1,154m;
1,310 culverts with a total length of 23,178m;
seven tunnels with a total length of 2,566m.
total length of main line 944.7 km
length of track in station 163.4 km9
turnouts 472 sets
level crossings 252
buildings and other construction 737,000 square metres (including 1,174 buildings, amounting to 297,000 square metres)
confiscation/requisition of land 110,600 mu10.
The original translation continues:
Jitong Railway Project is a long brewed project by the State and local government. Huhehaote Railway Bureau first presented Jitong railway plans in 1982. Local municipal decided to invest on Jitong railway since November 1984. Project design, plan, and feasibility study were presented in December 1986 and approved by National Planning Bureau in July 1987. Engineering plan was completed in December 1988. Project loan from World Bank was officially signed in Sep. 1989. Until then all investment requirements are fulfilled. Jitong line's construction starting approval was granted in May 1990.
The Jitong railway was built in 5 parts separately. The first two parts, east part and west part were started officially on 22.06.90. The middle three parts were started on 01.05.1991. The whole line was all connected on 04.05.1994. Internal testing operation started on 25.09.95. Jitong was officially connected to National network and full operative on 01.12.1995.
Jitong railway's operation method was studied since 1991. Three operation scenarios were presented to Ministry of Railway and Inner-Mongolia Municipal Government. Based on the management rules "combined and unified transportation, independent accountability" Inner-Mongolia Jitong Railway Ltd. started. The company was founded on 25.02.1995. It is responsible for Jitong line's transportation operation and round off works left. Jitong line's transportation plan is managed by Huhehaote railway bureau. As part of national railway transportation system, Jitong line receives centralized command.
Along the Jitong line, it is also a rich ancient culture area. There are lots of relics with archeological values allocated along Jitong line. On the ground surface, there are ancient ruins, rock paints, temples, cities, towers, and steles etc. Under ground, there are ancient tombs, caves, etc. There are together 56 national level and municipal level preserved antique units in Inner-Mongolia Municipal region. Nearly 20 of them locate along Jitong line. Further more, since the area has less human residences, the landscape is kept natural and primitive. There are also some special resources; such as under ground hot water in Keshiketengqi. (The place is called Reshui!)
All these give a board view in developing Jitong line's tourism possibilities in the future. Yes, just now there is one kind of tourism: people from all the world going to that line in winter to see and photograph steam locomotives. There seem to be no other foreigners.
Notes (added by Robin Gibbons)
Thank you, Duncan, for reviewing my data. I am sure there are things wrong, both typos and more. Here my comments:
I'm pretty sure that Shangdian isn't the highest point on the line. According to an old Bartholomews map I've got, both Reshui and Jingpeng are below 1000 m above sea level and 24 km of railway at a constant gradient of 1.2% would only climb 288 m. The gradient isn't constant by any means so assuming Jingpeng is at 950 m and the line climbs 250 m to Shangdian, the altitude there would be 1200 m, far less than the 1447 m quoted at the west end of the line.
I do not know. The only references I have are the following: In my maps (The Times atlas) a mountain near Reshui is maked with 2029 meters altitude. Probably the highest elevation around there. I also talked to some local people at Reshui and they consistently referred to Shandian as "about 1400 meters". The elevation of 1447 at the west end comes from official Jitong line documents.
Trying to make sense of the figures: The incomprehensible bit about the length of "communication line" probably refers to the length of passing loops at stations. 700 metres would be about right.
This is true. After discussions with my translator I found it is the length of the loops. By the way the same lengths apply here in Norway. Freight trains shall not be more than 700 meters in lenght here. If they are longer they must have a speed not above 80 km/h. Then they are allowed to be up to 850 meters. Maybe the Chinese follow some international standard. (Robin, you got the safety manual, maybe there is a rule stating the max lenth of freight trains in China?)
Incidently, here are some figures that do add up: Assuming Chinese wagons are based on pre war US 40 foot designs, which they appear to be, and a 40 foot coal wagon weighs 60 tonnes loaded, then a 2800 tonne coal train should be 46 wagons long and occupy 560 metres of track. Adding a loco and caboose would take this up to almost 600 metres, a comfortable fit in a 700 metre loop. Observant visitors to Jingpeng will have noticed that westbound empty coal trains are indeed about 46 wagons long but loaded trains over the pass are only about half this length with about 23 wagons or 1400 tonnes indicating that loaded trains are worked over the hill in 2 sections.
Sounds right. But your weights are wrong. A loaded coal car weighs 80 to 82 tons (62 tons load is allowed for C62 waggons. Westbound empty trains I have observed with up to 48 cars plus locomotives plus caboose. It still fits in. Eastbound trains I have observed with up to 26 cars, whichis about 26 * 82 = 2132 tons. Plus caboose makes 2150 tons. By the way I doubt the number of 2800 tons. Data for the line to Xilinhaote (Jitong builds this from Sanggendalai) give the same maximum grades as over the Jingpeng pass but only 2300 tons train load. I presume the 2800 tons include the locomotives. It makes sense to me when computing the train resistance and maximum force a QJ can pull. A train load of 2150 tons with two locos a 250 tons gives a total of 2650 tons. Not far from the maximum. By the way the loaded trains are worked the same length all over the line. I have seen them arriving Haoluku as 22 to 26 cars, with one locomotive, and then they work with two engines to Daban, from then on only one again.
Forces needed on the steepest inclines: For every ton of train weight you need 4 kilograms for the rolling resistance at low speeds, 12 kilogramns for the grade (12 promille) and maybe up to 2 for curve resistance, which makes 18 in total. 1400 ton load for one locomotive (it includes the loco itself, as it must be dragged also) makes then 18 * 1400 = 25200 kilograms of force. A QJ has about 100 tons of load on the driving wheels (can be inclereased to 105 tons). With an optimistic friction factor of 0,25, with a lot of sand..., the locomotive can barely pull this.
The capacity figures are very confusing as we don't know the basis on which they are calculated. I assumed that they refer to total train weight (gross tonnes) rather than the weight of freight transported (revenue tonnes), eg an empty coal train represents zero revenue tonnes but still occupies track capacity. On that basis, the figures don't make any sense.
I have no idea either.
A capacity of 7.6 million tonnes per year is equivalent to 2714 trains of 2800 tonnes each per year. That's less than 8 trains total per day, or less than 4 in each direction per day. Clearly this is not the case.
OK, allow for some trains with less weight and the skewed distribution of more goods eastwards than westwards, and maybe also excluding locomotive weight, you get a few more trains. But still there should be reserves. Maybe it could be the net tons anyway. Ifd you roughly assume net tons are one half of the gross tons, then you would get 8 trains per day in every direction, and that is nearer the truth. I also got the tons of freight transported numbers, and they ARE NOW ABOUT 7.6 MILLION TONS A YEAR. Anyway, I have to ask the people up there when I go back.
My estimate of capacity would be as follows: Assume the limiting factor is the longest section, 27 km from Zhunshariwushu to Kailu. Assume trains average 30 km/h on this section. That gives a time to cover the section of 54 minutes, say 1 hour in round figures to give a sensible margin (the stopping passengers are booked 39 and 51 minutes respectively). That would allow 12 trains each way per day of which 2 each way are passengers, leaving 10 paths for freights in each direction. That's 20 freights in total per day at 2800 tonnes per train giving 56,000 tonnes per day or approx 20 million tonnes per year.
What about Jingpeng Pass where train lengths are shorter? The longest sections are Xiakengzi to Shangdian and Galadesitai to Liudigou, both around 16 km long and both taking about 40 minutes uphill and 20 minutes downhill. Assuming equal numbers of eastbound and westbound trains, the average train takes 30 minutes to cover the section. That would allow 48 trains a day of which 2 are passengers leaving 46 freight paths, 23 in each direction. Assume the maximum load is 1400 tonnes, then 46 trains per day is equivalent to 64000 tonnes per day or 23 million tonnes per year. Therefore Jingpeng Pass isn't a limitation.
I accept that my theoretical capacities are very optimistic. They assume no time lost for track maintenance and no allowance for the inevitable sub-optimal running of trains but 7.6 million tonnes does seem unduly pessimistic. Around 14 million tonnes would be a more realistic figure.
A couple of practical examples based on what we actually saw at Jingpeng on 3 March 2000:
Xiakengzi-Shangdian. Between 09:50 and 17:50 a total of 6 eastbounds and 3 westbounds actually ran. 9 trains in 8 hrs is equivalent to 27 trains per day, 25 freights plus 2 passengers. At 1400 tonnes per train that's equivalent to almost 13 million tonnes per year.
Galadesitai-Liudigou Between 09:50 and 17:50 a total of 5 eastbounds and 5 westbounds actually ran. 10 trains in 8 hrs is equivalent to 30 trains per day, 28 freights plus 2 passengers. At 1400 tonnes per train that's equivalent to over 14 million tonnes per year.
That was what actually ran, but examining the paths actually occupied between Galadesitai and Jingpeng leads to the conclusion that it would have been possible to run about 3 more trains during the 8 hour window without delaying any of the trains that actually ran. That would add another 5 million tonnes or so to the annual capacity making it close to 18 million tonnes.
I can accept that the actual tonnage hauled is around 7.6 million tonnes but I believe the capacity of the line is around double that. Does anyone have any more information to prove or disprove this?
True, and even when you assume the actual train weight is only half of that you
will still get far higher numbers than the 7 million tons. By the way I saw a diagram at
Daban outlining the "ideal" schedule for the line, and they drew a train every 2
and a half hours. Not far from your estimate. To sum up: My theory is: They are referring
to some standard capacity numbers for this kind of line standard. Actual capacity if you
operate optimally is more.