Steam in China - March 2004
Arriving at Beijing March 6th after a pleasant Lufthansa-flight from Frankfurt in a 747-400. From the rather filthy Beijing Nan station overnight train 2559 to Chifeng. Here perfect connection to Pingzhuang at 7:40 with train 6754 arriving at 9:03.
Pingzhuang 7/3 2004
Plenty of action with seven SY and JS 1001 in steam. The system is pretty unpredictable, but still very interesting to watch. Especially the huge deep open cast mine offers a fantastic view with both steam and electrics working deep down there. Many coal trains could be seen as well as a rail working train with a crane (pulled by SY 0943).
Locos seen: SY 0271, 0304, 0517, 0943, 1052, 1441, 1487 and JS 1001. KD6 487 withdrawn.
Yuanbaoshan 7/3 2004
A short visit here showed us the usual nice-looking JS-engines working as usual. Observed two trains with empties leaving westbound mid afternoon. Both locos returned as light engines.
Locos seen: JS 6245, 6544, 8216 and 8246.
JiTong 8.-17/3 2004
Travelled from Chifeng to Jingpeng by a new bus in just 3½ hours. Traffic very much at the normal level, but unusual many coal trains observed eastbound. One day very much traffic, the next almost nothing, especially westbound. March 10th only three freights westbound during daylight and six eastbounds. The next day saw much more action.
The local shunter in Daban is now QJ 6996 without deflectors. Doing the same job in Zhelimu was QJ 6389, no deflectors too. Inside the fence at Daban depot were present (14/3-04): QJ 6110, 6125, 6301, 6349, 6356, 6358, 6375, 6388, 6517, 6572, 6633, 6636, 6638, 6795, 6844 and 6926. Entrance fee to the depot still 200 yuan.
Passenger-engines west of Daban was QJ 6840 and 6992 and on the Daban - Chabuga section 6631, 6911 and 6884. A total of 53 working QJ's seen within ten days.
On the section east of Chabuga very much steam (about 75%) mid-March. The stopping passengers were still steam hauled the way through to Zhelimu (QJ 7038 and 7104).
Watch out for fee-collectors at Chabuga depot. We were charged 50 yuan each by a guy on a bike at the gate, and then later at the office asked to leave the area, if we did not pay another 100 yuan each!
Nanpiao 17.-19/3 2004
Observed from the train from Tongliao to Jinzhou at the Dahushan depot were about 7-8 cold QJ, including 6280 (17/3-04). A diesel was shunting JiTongs QJ 7063, freshly painted.
In Nanpiao we saw the usual SY's working together with two BJ-diesels. There seems to be most going on at the Linghe-branch, especially around Zaojiatun. The hours before midday very much action observed here. More quiet on the other line; here maybe better late afternoon.
The hotel in Nanpiao just west of the station is very run down and dusty, and not to be recommended. For 3 persons paid 176 yuan, too much.
SY's in Nanpiao: 0366, 0638 cold, 0973, 1017, 1092, 1299 and 1478.
QJ 7137 seen cold, but in newly painted state in Taijiatun on the line from Nanpiao to Jinzhou.
Does anybody know, what this ex-Daban engine is doing here?
Huludao/Jinxi 20/3 2004
Here the steam railway was found rather easy, situated about 2,5 kilometers north-west from the main station. JS 6305 was in steam in front of the shed and inside stood two more cold JS as well as SY 0513, also cold. SY 1415 was doing the local shunting in the yard. JS 8207 arrived with a cement train at 12 o'clock, and left the city of Huludao again with empties westbound at 1 o'clock. Back again 3½ hours later. The landscape begins to rise about 8-10 km westwards at Sixen and Liushutun and becomes rather scenic.
After all a good trip resulting in a lot of steam-pictures. The biggest problem was the weather at Jingpeng, two days with heavy sandstorms made photographing difficult and video almost impossible. Generally we saw what we wanted, having only few problems by taking pictures.
Back to Europe by Air China, Boeing 747 again to Frankfurt. Cheap flight, but nice service anyway.