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"Preserved" Steam in China - January 2014

by Peter Crush

Kailuan Coal Mining Administration, Tangshan

An Appeal for Assistance

I am a kind of unofficial honorary curator of the Kailuan Mining Park & Museum at Tangshan.

There are tentative plans to extend the museum with an add-on "railway section". I have just been given the list of 18 SYs which they have hidden in various compounds. Some apparently looking rather sad, but others (under cover) not doing badly at all.

The SYs are 0311, 0453, 0580, 0676, 0764, 0955, 1068, 1099, 1171, 1206, 1221, 1356, 1428, 1525, 1679, 1680, 1700, 1736.

There are some immediate problems with this list when I compare it with Duncan Cotterill's Railography SY listings and reported sightings. I haven't had time to analyze in detail but SY 0311 immediately comes to attention because they claim to have had it at Tangshan since 1971. (I guess numbers sometime get mixed up?)

It will be super if anyone interested can help me track down (pun intended) any surviving video clips of the locomotives on the list. I will ensure that the photographers are given proper accreditation by the museum if these clips are used in any visual displays. I don't think there will be any budget from the museum for this but anyone who helps will be doing the museum's curators a favour which will be appreciated. I have personally received a couple of very attractive certificates from the Mining museum for the help rendered over the past 5 years. I have already located two clips of SY 0955 and SY 1679 filmed in 1994 by Philip Metcalfe and Steve le Cheminant of TeleRail. These are on old VHS video tapes and of course the resolution is not so good as latter day digital recording methods. These clips are still presentable but if anyone has better resolution images, all the better. I can be contacted at   .

Pictures of the SYs in their present condition follow. The year and month in brackets is the "Date of Acquisition" by the Kailuan Coal Mining Administration. In most case it is the same as the year and month on the Tangshan worksplate reported for the loco.

SY 0311 (1971 5)


SY 0453 (1972 1) from the Linxi mine loco depot, too expensive to repair and (obviously) has been cannibalised.

SY 0580 (1972 10)

SY 0676 (1973)

SY 0764 (1973 12)

SY 0955 (1975 2)

SY 1068 (1975 10)

SY 1099 (1976 7)

SY 1171 (1982 4)

SY 1206 (1982 1)

SY 1221 (1983 4)

SY 1356 (1985 4)

SY 1428 (1986 2)

SY 1525 (1987 3)

SY 1679 (1990 2)

SY 1680 (1990 2)

SY 1700 (1990 12)

SY 1736 (1993 1)

Peter Crush

Comments from Rob Pritchard and Dave Fielding on the SY identities given to Peter:

Rob can add that the “Date of Acquisition” matches the known worksplate dates of SYs 0453, 0955, 1068, 1099, 1171 and 1680. In most other cases it is either close to the known worksplate date or within the range of dates that can be inferred from locomotives with nearby numbers. One oddity is that SY 1700 has the date 1990/12 but was noted still at Tangshan Locomotive Works during the following month and therefore year!

Two dates are “not right”. SY 0311 is shown as 1971/5 but logically should be 1971/1. Also SY 1206 is shown as 1982/1 but logically should be 1983/1. Rob suspects that both these locomotives have been wrongly identified and that the dates are correct for the real ones. This suspicion is corroborated below.

In his Industrial Railway Society book Rob has distinct entries for Tangshan Coal Mine and the Guye Mining Railway. SYs 0955 and 1679 are recorded for Tangshan Coal Mine. Most of the others are listed for Guye Mining Railway except for SY 0580 (nevertheless seen at Guye in 1981), SYs 0764, 1099 and 1221 for which he had no record, and crucially SY 0311 which he has at Tonghua Iron and Steel Plant and SY 1206 which he has at “Duyun Steelworks?”, these being the two with suspect dates in the previous paragraph.

SY 0676 was previously reported at Taiyuan (in 1981) and ex-works north of Taolaizhao (Jilin Province, in 1998).

D.F. wonders if SY 1221 should really be SY 1212 which is recorded by Rob as a Guye Mining Railway locomotive. After checking Duncan Cotterill's Kailuan Coal Mining list which combines Tangshan Coal Mine and Guye Mining Railway, SY 1356, with clearly visible number, has never been reported to Duncan.

© 2014 Peter Crush