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This report follows a visit last Saturday (3rd May).
Fushun 'Old' or 'Special' Steelworks in Liaoning province,approximately 30 km east of Shenyang is actually in the suburb of Piaoertun and a short walk almost due south from Piaoertun CNR station. A footbridge across the CNR tracks to the west of the station gives access to Anshan Road, to the west of the filling station on the opposite side of the road a track leads almost due south to the steelworks railway. This is parallel to but operated independently from the electrified Fushun Mining Railway. Although the system is most easily reached from Piaoertun station, the current CNR timetable sees just one train daily in each direction stopping here. The timings work reasonably well for a day trip from Shenyang but visitors from Fushun must use either a taxi or tricycle (or face a very long walk from the nearest bus stop).
The system has 5 SYs and the daily schedule normally requires 3 to be in steam. It is a reflection of the decline of Chinese steam that this now places the steelworks among the leading remaining users of steam, behind only Sandaoling and Fuxin on the standard gauge. The May visit found SYs 1632 and 1634 in steam and operational, with 1050 in steam but on shed, 1630 dead on the depot and 1633 locked inside a shed in pristine paintwork. As previous visitors have also reported 1630 as dead, it may now be dumped, while the condition of 1633 leads one to speculate that it may be earmarked for preservation. Ominously, however, GKD1A 0219 (Dalian, 2010) was also present and active, sharing duties with the aforementioned 2 SYs.
Action in the morning was intensive but died away after the lunch break, with 1634 remaining on depot in the afternoon. This may have been because it was the final day of a three day holiday but the line has traditionally operated a single shift with activity usually ending around 15.30-16.00. The level of action makes it an interesting line to visit but photography is not easy. The line runs almost due east-west and the locos face west but when travelling west propel trains. The line is also hemmed in on the north side by the steelworks wall and piping and on the south by a bank, the overhead wires of the mine railway and assorted industrial buildings and debris.
Google Earth map of Fushun "Old" Steelworks railway, Piaoertun.
Track colour key:
Red Fushun "Old" Steelworks railway, Yellow China Railway, Green Fushun mines railway (electric - the northern line, from Jixiu station, is disused)
Blue Pedestrian access route to stabling point from Piaoertun station.
SY 1634 bringing a train of gondolas and tipper wagons from a complex at the south western end of the line.
SY 1632 shunting (I confess I have no idea what the wagons are used for!).
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© 2014 Michael Reilly