The International Steam Pages
Steam in China, Fuxin, January 2000
After visiting the Weihe Forestry Railway and the Tiefa Coal Mining Administration system, I next visited Fuxin. The obvious route from Tiefa to Fuxin would be via Shenyang, but that looked a long way around to me. I was told in Tiefa that there were direct buses to Fuxin, but by the time (08.15) I got to the long distance bus station I was told 'mintian' (tomorrow). There was great discussion amongst staff and I was put on a bus which turned out to be going to Xinming (Y9). After arrival at 11.30, the crew found me a a minibus for Fuxin (Y12) which was not to leave until 13.15. Mr. Nelles's maps are great in general but my version did not have what would have been an excellent road had it not been covered in part with snow and ice. Nevertheless we made good time and by 16.00 I had been put off at the large roundabout in the middle of the city having been directed to the nearby Hai Zhou Hotel, which turned out to have very nice rooms for (by Liaoning standards) a very reasonable Y180. The restaurant, however, gave me a heavily overpriced, if pleasant, meal. How much more I could have spent in the 'Dream of Sea Nightclub' I never found out, I was exhausted.
Just in case you don't get round to reading the report that follows, like Tiefa, this location comes highly recommended for those who can tear themselves away from their tenth visit to Chengde, Baotou or the Jingpeng Pass. Brilliant! To get you started, I have sketched a very rough map of the central area of the system. Note that the #6 bus runs to the level crossing near the power station from its terminus just north-west of the roundabout near the Hai Zhou Hotel. The #5 bus runs from the same spot to Wulong (Pingan) station. Fare is a flat rate Y1 on each.
Owing to space limitations on my server, the images from this report have been removed (15th June 2004).
I was by no means the first traveller to sample steam in Fuxin, indeed I had read about it in Continental Railway Journal before my 1995 trip which implied the system was run down(!). Leslie McAllister sent me a report of his trip to Fuxin, (1st April 1999), Ameling Algra was also here in March 1999 and so was Trevor Heath (27th April 1999). Johs. Damsgaard Hansen and Bo Lindhardtsen were here (19th April 1999), their report is the most comprehensive I have seen as far as this area is concerned and was my starting point (thanks guys - it contains much useful information which I have not repeated here). Although there was passenger steam on the (China Rail) main line here in early 1999, it was reported finished by the end of the year. I was here only for the industrial steam - SYs on freight (coal) and passenger. I have included the passenger timetable from one of the earlier reports again for easy reference. This gives an idea of the Fuxin atmosphere:
January 16th 2000
I had read all the reports about Fuxin but nothing quite prepared me for the reality. It's like visiting a model railway show with one of those complicated layouts where as soon as you see one train coming past your attention is attracted by another movement. Only here the scale is 12 inches to the foot! I was blessed with a near perfect day's weather (snow on the ground) which was marred only by some industrial plant dropping a huge pall of pollution just north of Wulong about 08.40 which took a couple of hours to clear but was easily avoided by moving further north. This is supershine 1818:
One of the joys of the Hai Zhou Hotel was that it had a large map of the town in the foyer, Fuxin must be one of the few places in the world whose town map probably shows more railway lines than roads. My plans were conditioned by the photographic possibilities with the passenger trains, which dictated that I start north of Wulong (for train 112) and then head south later. In hindsight, this was exactly the right thing to do. I walked down to the power station and as the map suggested had no problem finding the line. I did keep a log of the activity I saw but since it occupied five pages of my notebook, I will spare you the full details. Suffice to say that I saw 17 locomotives in steam and a few myths got shattered within a couple of hours. Firstly, it was clear (and not surprisingly given the complexities of the layout) that not all the steam locomotives face south, indeed one locomotive was turned during the day no doubt unintentionally as part of its duty. More surprisingly, one of the passenger trains on the electrified system was worked by steam, unfortunately it was tender first and the locomotive then returned to the stabling point. Finally, the system is not 100% SY, JF 508 was out and about. Of course, much activity is tender first, many trains are propelled and, unlike at Tiefa, there is little 'line working', most movements being relatively short with frequent reversals. But then there is the bonus of the amazing 'old style' electric locomotives, similar to those I had seen at Anshan and Fushun in 1995. Here is JF 508 at work, possibly the oldest steam locomotive at work in China.
The 'normal' SY hauled passenger trains worked as expected. In the afternoon, I rode train 114 to Minzu, photographed it leaving and ten minutes later I was able to photograph train 116. It was good to see the trains in a semi-rural setting. Five minutes later I was on a minibus back to Fuxin (passing JS 6497 shunting en route) which dropped me near the station. Another bus to the power station left me a ten minute walk to the hotel - cost of the afternoon excursion was just Y4!
January 17th 2000
Give me more.... Well actually what I got was more pollution. Although the town centre was clear, the area east of the power station was foggy nearly all day, so I soon forgot about photography. I wanted to ride the 'electric' passenger trains, so I waited for the steam version that ran the day before just after 09.00. I had given up and walked toward the 'big pit' when it appeared out of the mist at 09.20. It terminated just after Taiping as I expected and I waited for the electric version which then took me half way round the open cast hole, but it was too misty to see in. I got off at Taiping to photograph SY 002 which is still stationary boiler here.
Although these trains are staffed one lady conductor to each 'coach' no fares are collected unlike the full steam service. I then walked back to try to get in to identify the three or four steam locomotives stored along with many electrics in a compound next to the line but it was totally locked up and deserted. I couldn't summon up the energy to climb over a wall. By now it was nearly midday so I wandered back, the light was definitely improving. I located a second stabling point and headed out of town for the two afternoon passenger trains. There was no fog here at all but high cloud was blowing in. Afterwards I went back through the station, located and griced the locomotive workshops and caught a bus back to the hotel. Not quite the excitement of the first day, perhaps, but still quite enjoyable.
January 18th 2000
The morning fog was around the power station again and although my train out was not until after midday, it was a long journey to Chifeng and with all the good recent weather my work schedule was not being achieved and I spent the morning at work. My ultimate destination was Reshui and the JingPeng Pass for a few days. At least this would be one place where I could opt out of reporting a visit! The following pictures show steam on passenger trains at Fuxin, 0112 under the wires, then 0540 at Minzu.
Note that the steam line from just south of Wulong (Pingan) to north of Taiping is double track, trains tend to run on the right (unlike China Rail). It is impossible to include much detail - check the town map when you arrive! There is also a well used non-electrified narrow-gauge track running under the standard gauge line to the east of Taiping on the electrified line.... (Seen from the train, but no time to investigate!)
Steam Locomotive Roster
The following locomotives were seen at work (24!):
The following were going through works:
The following were stored/dumped (at the north-east stabling point):
The following were stored/dumped (at the south-west stabling point):
The following has also been reported here recently:
SY 0036, 0384, 0391, 0771, 0911, 1378 (to which can be added 0295, 0850, 1370 seen in March 2000 - I saw a loco numbered 1370 at Hegang in January 2001!)
I could also see two or three out of use steam locomotives within the power station complex.
There were three or four stored locomotives near Taiping, seen from the train, numbers appeared to be 23, 288 and 624, further identification would be uncertain, none looked like standard SYs to me. (JF 624, 2195 and an unnumbered example plus YJ 403 were reported here in March 2000 plus YJ 209 nearby.)
(I also saw CNR JS6497 at work in passing, and other steam locomotives at work from a distance.)
Southbound passenger trains