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Chengzihe (城子河), Dec25th
Chengzihe is situated some 5 km north of Jixi - just across the river. The main road leaving Jixi CNR station in right angle directly goes to Chengzihe, numerous buses, starting just in front of the station operate there including ones which go to Zhengyang (正阳) coal mine, too. Alternatively, you may take urban bus no 1 to its northern terminus (1Y) and change to a minibus there. 1km and 1.5km north of the toll gate respectively are Nanchang (南场) junction and Beichang (北场) washery. Nanchang Mine is some 1.5 km south-west of Nanchang junction along the line to Jixi Xi CNR yard. The mine, which is called Chengzihe is that one at Dongchang (东场) station, about 1.5 km north-east of Nanchang. Zhengyang mine (正阳) is another 6 km further north-east. The fourth coal mine is at Xinghua, also north-east of Dongchang (4 km from Zhengyang).
Operation was as described previously. All locos meet up at Dongchang around 8 o`clock and start their daywork then. Seven locos are required, facing both directions. The duties are as follows:
Beichang is by far the busiest point of the system with train arrivals/departures every 10 to 15 minutes (though part of the washery shuttle trip trains are pushed and/or tender first).
At Dongchang, railway workers seem to do some extra business... I was offered accompany of a "beautiful girl" at 100Y per hour - in order to get warm and not to freeze in the cold while waiting for a train...
Hengshan (恒山), Dec 26th
Few to add to previous reports. Locos also meet at HengshanXin in the morning before going to the individual mines between 8 and 11 o`clock. Six SYs are in use, one for each coal mine (Dahengshan (大恒山)+Shannan (山安), Xiaohengshan (小恒山), Erdaohezi (二道河子), Zhangxin and Erchang (二场) ) with the sixth loco serving coal loading points around Zhongxin (中心) station, where a new coal mine is under construction but the railway connection and loading facilities not completed yet. From Xiaohengshan mine, the spoil tip Dongshantun (东山屯) is rail-served, too - it is the spoil tip just above Zhongxin station. Trains are pushed there from Xiaohengshan. In addition to the empty uphill trains between Hengshan and Zhongxin (often banked, too), the most spectacular sight are the tender first trips from Erchang to Hengshan which have to tackle a steep climb entering Hengshan yard. Trains may stall there, too, are split and brought in two parts then.
Main line work towards Linkou and Muling is DF8 (freight) and DF4, trains eastwards and to Hengshan all DF4. At Hengshan, brand-new low-nose DF5 2058 is pilot now.
|Chengzihe||SY||0590, 0733, 0863, 1018, 1058, 1344, 1544|
|Hengshan||SY||0341, 0746, 0804, 0898, 1340, 1369|
Timetable changes have turned the Jixi-to-Huanan rail connection via Linkou in a random play. According to the timetable, you have only 1 minute for changing trains at Linkou. Fortunately, the passenger train to Jiamusi waits for connecting passengers...
K76 Jixi 21:18 - Linkou 22:41 (-Harbin), 11Y
6413 (Mudanjiang-) Linkou 22:42 - Huanan 02:56 (-Jiamusi), 11Y+44Y YW-upgrade
On the railcar, there were another two Japanes gricers who went to Lixin to camp out there for a couple of days. Almost unbelievable: they (and their guide) each paid 200Y (so 600Y altogether!) for their trip from Huanan to Lixin on a regular(!!) train (I confirmed, that the train was "no charter")! Consequently, the female conductor of the railway also wanted me to pay 200Y! ("Real" price for the 25km should be around 3-4Y). Both the Japanese guys, their guide and the conductor wanted me to pay "at least" 150Y or to de-board in the middle of the nowhere. Unfortunately, none of the local Chinese passenger helped me, e.g. by confirming the real fare of less than 10Y. I finally paid 100Y which would have been more or less the price for a taxi as well but still about 20 times too high!
Conclusion: I can only recommand NOT to use the railcar at all! Very sad to see, that unsensible "pay-the-bill-whatever-high" behaviour of visitors (both Japanese and Westerners) seems to have corrupted railway staff at Huanan.
Alternatives to the railcar are either taxis (60..100Y, depending on daytime of your travel) or buses. There are 5 daily buses between Huanan and Tuoyaozi, travel time is just over an hour (75 mins) and fare is 5Y. Buses depart at Huanan bus terminal which can be reached from the CNR station by taking one of the unumbered green minibuses south-westwards (1Y) which terminate in front of the station.
Departures ex Huanan: 09:30(first bus), 14:00 (other 3 departures unknown)
Departures ex Tuoyaozi: 07:00, 07:30, 08:00, 11:00, 13:00 (last bus of the day)
During the two days, I was at Tuoyaozi, dayligt traffic was quite low - probably partly caused by an engine breakdown on Dec 27th: 3 daylight steam trains in 2 days are not a lot. During the night, traffic was heavier. Altogether, there were some 5 return turns per 24h. 3 C2s performed line duties with a fourth one (004) being pilot at Huanan. The railcar operated on both days, too.
Nice to meet David Longman by the lineside and to spend a "manchurian winter evening" together (the Jiamusi branch of "HaPi" definitely does not brew the best beer in China...).
Huanan is high on my list for a revisit - but in summer when days are longer (and maybe the railcar does not operate...)
|C2||004(Huanan pilot), 041, 044, 168|
However, I cannot comment how common such behaviour is. Surely, a lot of Chinese do have no objections against Japanese as well.
I left Tuoyaozi on Dec 29 th in the morning with the 07:00 bus to Huanan and continued the long way to Dayan by train:
6451 (Qitaihe-) Huanan 08:56 - Jiamusi 11:03 (-Hegang), 4.5Y, DF4 1929
N6 Jiamusi 13:00 - Harbin 17:58, 67Y, DF4DK 3164
N91 Harbin 19:57 - Dayan 05:28, 164Y(YW)
Of special interest are the recently introduced "high speed trains" N5-N8 between Harbin and Jiamusi. They are booked for 6-car-sets of NYJ1 railcars, operating the 507-km-distance nonstop in 4:58h, thus an average speed of 102km/h! If the NYJ1 fails, the railcars trailers are hauled by an DF4DK loco (this was the case with N6 which I rode. Train formation was DF4DK 3164 + 1XL + 4xYZ25DT + 1RZ25DT + KD). As the fare is quite high on these trains (67Y for hard seat), they are not overcrowded and provide a very comfortable journey.
|DFH3||0191(San or Harbin)|
|DF4||1160(N), 1386(N), 1708(J), 1732(J), 1746(J,orange), 1819(J), 1821(J,orange), 1824(J), 1854(N), 1929(J,orange), 1970(N), 7131(J), 7132(J), 7377(N), 7378(N), 7379(J), 7416(J), 7417(J), 7494(N), 9416(J)|
|DF4C||0035(N), 2006(J), 4409(J), 4410(N), 4411(N), 4417(J), 4431(J), 5071(N), 5087(N), 5089(N), 5092(J), 5093(N), 5135(J), 5142(J), 5167(J)|
|DF4DK||3030, 3159, 3164, 3198, 3202, 3249, 3314, 3317 (all Sankeshu)|
|DF5||1143(N), 1354(N), 1527(N), 1556(Harbin), 1802(J), 2008(J), 2009(J), 2010(J), 2012(J)|
|SY||1235, 1306, 1741|
All locos faced east, just as reported during all previous visits. I have some doubts whether the information is correct that they are turned regularly. This means that empties are uphill and tender first, loaded trains funnel first. Uphill trains of empty have to work very hard approaching Erjing yard and may stall there, too - even with "only" 20 empties! If a second engine is at Erjing, it will assist the train then. Otherwise, the SY has to succeed - without any mercy... Between Erjing and Jipei, a train can be expected every two hours or so, fewer trains go to mine 3 (Sanjing). Mines 1 and 2 are situated immediately next to Erjing yard and served frequently. Trains to the power plant north of Erjing are pushed, so no funnel first working, too. At Jipei yard, the coal is handed over to CNR DF4s. Note that Jipei is not really "close to Haiman" as suggested previously - distance is some 5 km.
A very nice system although the "real action" is tender first. If the locos would face the other way round, Dayan should be a high-priority-location on anyone`s destination list!
According to a taxi driver, Dayan has got two binguans (plus numerous lüdians e.g. two just in front of Dayan CNR station). The most suitable binguan probably is the WuQuanShanBinguan (五泉山宾馆), some 3 km east of the CNR railway station but only 500m south of Erjing yard (you may hear the SYs whistle from your room). Prices are 20Y and 40Y per person for 4-or 3-bed rooms (facilities on the floor) or 138Y for a very comfortable double (more exactly, that room turned out to be a well-heated "3-room-suite" with 24-hour-hot-water-supply, which represent good value). In the lobby of the hotel, a very good city map can be found which shows the layout of railway lines very accurately. Unfortunately it was not available for sale...
Dec 31st: N57 (Qiqihar-) Dayan 04:06-ZhalainuerXi 07:26 (-Manzhouli)
|DF4||1171, 1855, 1919, 2639(orange), 7103, 7137, 7334 (all Hailar)|
|DF4D||0104(San), 0107(San), 0365(Qi), 0366(Qi), 0367(Qi), 0482(San)|
|DF7||5331(orange,Manzhouli, built 2000), 5444("DF7C",blue,Manzhouli)|
The locos of the Deep Mine system have the following duties:
At mine 12 (ShiErJing), a very interessting cable hauled narrow gauge mining railway is in use.
Loaded and empty wagons are exchanged with CNR at Dongfanghong yard which is served by CNR DF7s. Part of the arriving empties continues to the deep mines, the rest is loaded at the washery with coal supplied from the open cast pit via the conveyor belt. I did not find a second connection to the CNR other than that one east of Dongfanghong.
Between the open cast and deep mine rail systems, a connection exists, leaving Dongfanghong yard eastwards. It goes to Nanzhan via the former Dongzhan station (东站) along the eastern rim of the open cast. The line to Lingquan has got no connection to Nanzhan.
|Open Cast Pit||SY||0471, 0682, 0795, 0867, 1119, 1193, 1240, 1257, 1285, 1286, 1303, 1371, 1374, 1376, 1600, 1663, 3005|
|Deep Mines||SY||0924, 1041, 1234(oou), 1416(ld), 1424, 1448(oou), 1618, 1681, 1688|
Walking into the open cast pit is no problem at all. Nobody bothers you, everybody is friendly, no special permit is neccessary.
Jan 1st: N92 Manzhouli 17:38-Harbin 06:58, then by taxi to Taiping Airport (160Y, 1h, almost 50km)
CA 1604 Harbin 10:35-Beijing 12:20 (B737), connecting to SK996 at Beijing (dep.15:35 +90) for the flight to Berlin via Copenhagen.
Dresden, January 2005
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