The International Steam Pages

Steam in Southern China, October 1999

Bernd Seiler sent this report on the little visited system at Shaoguan:

Shaoguan is situated about 200 km north of Guangzhou at the old mainline to Beijing. There are two lines of interest. I wrote about this line in in the LOK Report and a following traveller had time to write an internet report (I didn't find this at all). This line is not that spectacular, but it's quite good. But if people haven't seen other real spectacular lines you can come to the result, this line is spectacular. It's a JS-served line, there are trains in the morning leaving Shaoguang-Huanggang around 8.00 am and in the evening around 7.00 pm. Mostly there are two trains one after each other. They're leaving tender first. On the way back (chimney first ) there is a heavy gradient with a good mountain background, locos are thrashing upwards. We found only one really satisfying position, maybe there is another with a village in the foreground. The trains back started around 10.30 am, followed by a light engine rolling back for the second part of the train, thrashing up with this part and followed by the third train with the second loco. We saw three trains uphill within 90 minutes. At the end of the line (I haven't the name here at the moment, but I wrote in in the LOK Report, Dongtang?) there is situated a shunting yard, where a SY loco from the factory takes over the train for the last about 1.5 kilometres. You can go there but don't forget to visit the ng rly of Chenzhou (nearby, north of Shaoguan) and Pingshi between these two lines. The Chenjia Railway has some really spectacular spots, worth a visit of more than one day!

Locos found: JS 6459, 6505, 6508, 6510 all free line service and shunting, in the mentioned factory SY 0721 (Dongtang)

The other line was Maba to Shaping in the south of Shaoguan. At Maba we found a JS-shunter, that could be the free-line loco for Shaping. In Shaping - same procedure - SY's take over the train to the ore mine some two km further. Between Maba and Shaping there are two tunnels, nothing special but sufficient for a shot. Easy to reach by car at the recently opened road.

Locos fond: JS 6372, 6374 for Maba and maybe Maba - Shaping and SY 0840, 09 18 for the rest.

Peoples are kindly. Taxi drivers - as usual - are robbers. Shaoguan is a modern city with many different hotel types, nearly all standards available.

Rob Dickinson