Content Welcome News Trip Reports Steam Lines Locomotive List Travel Tips Links

Steam in China - News

This page covers news from January 2014 onwards.

Other news pages:

Sandaoling (6th October 2023)

This assumed drone picture (taken on 4th October 2023 by Guyun Pengde) has been sent by Nick Patton. There was no extra information on the 'new diesels'.

Sandaoling (26th September 2023)

Roger Croston has told me that "5 new diesel locos arrived at Sandaoling 24th September (2023)".

This would probably be enough to replace all the remaining steam locomotives. Confirmation is awaited.

Sandaoling (11th June 2023)

Roger Croston has sent me a 'map' which shows the new 'Blue Loader'. A small version is reproduced below but you will really need the full version for which you should click it (I recommend you try 'Open in New Window or download it, 3405 x 1740 pixels, 400kB).

Sandaoling (15th May 2023)

Roger Croston has sent me a set of pictures from after the 'Blue Loader' was brought into use (see Bernd Seiler's news of 29th March 2022). They were been taken in August 2022 by Zhao Bin although the watermark reads 'Yang Bin' (credit amended.1st June 2023).

Sandaoling (14th May 2023)

Trevor Heath has sent me a couple of pictures taken by Chengnuo Guan (Guan Cheng Nuo?) showing JS 8077 at work on a long train on 11th May 2023). He is trying to find out what they represent... 

Sandaoling (9th November 2022)

Hot on the heels of the previous item comes this set of pictures which may prove to be the last published ones of real Chinese steam. As can be seen most were taken on 8th November 2022, on a mobile phone by the look of things and if it seems that they originate from some of the Sandaoling drivers. 

Thanks to Roger Croston for forwarding them.

Sandaoling (8th November 2022)

Roger Croston told me one 26th October 2022:

Guide Jun reports - "Steam locos are still running from Nanzhan to Erjing at Sandaoling; 3-4 locos working well, that is the same before."

Apologies, this arrived when I was 'between homes' and was then temporarily forgotten.

Sandaoling (12th September 2022)

"They think it's all over... It is now!"

This video shows steam powered track lifting on 3rd August 2002.:


If you go to the home page of the channel there are links to three more recent videos. 

Luoyang Changgu (12th September 2022)

Raicho Yang writes 

"I am a Chinese railway fan who works in Japan now. I own a website with a forum. These days, a topic in our forum shows that somewhere near Luoyang seems to have a tourist steam line. https://forum.jprailfan.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=12161 It seems to be narrow gauge, maybe C2? However, I am wondering whether this is a real steam or a false one."

Narrow gauge certainly but not a typical C2. Given Chinese ingenuity it's not impossible that it's got a diesel engine in the tender and attachments so that steam comes out of the right places!

Sandaoling (25th July 2022)

Roger Croston tells me - "The open cast pit has been worked out and steam has ended. Dead. Steam still running to deep mine No.2. Message from guide Jun."

This video shows drone footage of the final weeks:


Sandaoling (24th May 2022)

Roger Croston tells me - "Local report from Sandaoling says JS still running every day, maybe for 2 to 3 weeks."

Sandaoling (17th May 2022)

The end of line steam seems to have happened according to this web report although I am waiting local confirmation:


Sandaoling (29th March 2022)

Bernd Seiler has reported on the CRC group concerning:

The never ending story: Sandaoling
The open cast mine will continue to produce coal. Above station Baerzhan (station 82) they will build a new loading bunker. The bunker will be served by a conveyor belt system from the old blue loader. A new line to this loading bunker is under construction. There will be an extension to the Shadunzi deep mine (served by diesel). The about 2 km from Nanzahn to the new loading bunker will be served by steam.
Opening of the new line is planned for 5th April (2022).

Sandaoling (28th March 2022)

In an update to the earlier posting, Roger Croston advises that the operation has been reprieved 'for at least a month' from 25th March 2022. His source is 'a local inhabitant via a pal in Germany'.

Roger Croston has forwarded the following from 'Pocahontas' in China. I have reproduced it verbatim with just the insertion of appropriate spaces. This will, I assume, spell the end of 'real steam' in China.

"I went to Sandaoling in 2022 Feb 11 to 14. There were six engines (8077 8080 8167 8195 8197 8366) working in Sandaoling.
Steam will stop working in open pit mine maybe at 2022 Mar 25th. New line will build between south of pit and South station. 8167 8195 8197 still working everyday between open pit and coal preparation plant. Old rail maybe remove at 2022 May.
There were three engines (8077 8080 8366) working in south station. Everything looks normal.
Locomotive working shop had four engines(8089 washing boiler 8190 maybe scrap 8225 washing boiler 8314 overhaul). There is no sign that the working shop will shut down."

Bernd Seiler adds:

(Sandaoling-) Nanzhan will continue to use two to three JS locomotives for shunting and for serving the deep mine Erjing.

Suiling (15th November 2021)

Raicho Yang informs me:

According to a local news report (28th June 2021) the forestry railway in Suiling, Heilongjiang, has been renovated as a tourist operation, clearly narrow gauge with C2(s).

Follow this link, http://www.hlj.chinanews.com/hljnews/2021/0628/96836.html, it translates well with Google Translate.

More details are here, http://www.hljnews.cn/ljxw/content/2021-07/14/content_546651.html  

Shibanxi (5th October 2021)

Trevor Heath tells me that an unconfirmed Facebook posts states "Jiayang Narrow Gauge: Five C2 locomotives remained at service on this line. Local residents service has been cancelled in August 2021 with bus services. All trains are tourist trains (CNY80 each way)."

Sandaoling (20th September 2021)

Roger Croston reports that the final date may now be "next Spring, maybe March."

Sandaoling (7th September 2021)

Roger Croston reports "A reliable source yesterday informed me that Sandaoling big pit will finish steam in October. Steam out to deep mine No.2 from south yard might continue."

Wujiu (7th September 2021)

Roger Croston reports "Wujiu now has no steam."

Sandaoling (4th May 2021)

'Tiger Zhai' reports 'Sandaoling lives' and has sent links to two videos that show activity in the shed area including the rolling out of JS 8195 after overhaul in March 2021:

https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1w64y127Cg and https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1xU4y187zW

Sandaoling (16th September 2020)

Roger Croston has hear from a usually reliable source that the latest date for Sandaoling finishing is September 2021.

Sandaoling (11th July 2020)

Tour guide Jun has confirmed that Sandaoling will operate steam beyond September 2020 into 2021.

Necessarily at the moment this is 100% academic as far as visitors are concerned!

Sandaoling (30th March 2020)

Duncan Cotterill has ((finally) published his reports of his visits in 2017 (includes Wujiu), 2018 and 2019 - November - December in each case.




Sandaoling (30th January 2020)

Sandaoling's conditions were the best I've seen in 12 years. Three inches of snow, minus 16C, clear and sunny with visible mountains. I arrived Saturday afternoon (25th) after delay due to flight to Hami being diverted to Dunhuang for a layover until fog cleared at Hami. 

Sunday morning (26th) was thick fog at Sandaoling such that trains could not start as drivers could not see the caboose signal. Fog suddenly lifted to reveal heavy hoar frost on the trees with ice spangles dropping out of clear air. Only one train out of pit in morning due to Blue Loader technical problem. In mid afternoon loaded trains were running out every half hour under 300 to 400 foot magnificent steam banners. Just superb and was looking forward to excellent week of steam, until... message received from police that might have to leave. Initially told could stay but higher authorities issued three more orders until it was decided that the town would close to all travellers and had one hour to pack and leave at 9p.m. Chinese visiting families for the Spring Festival also had to leave if did not want to get stranded for indeterminate time. Very helpful police escort collected all in a minibus and blue lights flashing police car took us to motorway where we were partly escorted by further blue light police cars. Taken to a hotel in Hami overnight. All hotels due to close next day. Three other steam tourists with guide had already been stopped at Hami en route to Sandaoling with guide. Office of Foreign Affairs and local police very helpfully assisted finding flight to Peking for four steam friends plus two guides - via Sining and Hohehot. As all hotels in Peking scheduled to close on Feb. 1st we were more than "advised" to book new flights home.

So.... do not even think about going to China until the all clear is given. You will find all hotels and restaurants shut and transport shortages. Sandaoling is closed in and out.

I would not have minded staying in "Steam Paradise" for an indeterminate duration (having found a self-catering bolt hole), but was ordered, in a very pleasant manner, to leave. All in all a disaster to miss such fantastic weather. 

The mine's future will be made clear in May. It might, with luck, still be running next winter. But will there be any snow...

Roger Croston

Sandaoling (27th January 2020, updated 29th January 2020)

Ian Hopkins has sent the following message to Warwick Falconer (27th January 2020):

"I was due to go to Sandaoling a week on Friday but just had a note from Mike Ma. He’s had a phone call from the hotel in Sandaoling saying that all the hotels there are now closed due to the Coronavirus. The police have escorted all the visitors who were there out of town (doesn’t say where to!) and it might be closed to visitors for some time.

Disappointing but understandable."

Now that the UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to China for the time being (29th January 2020), potential UK travellers with bookings should note that their travel insurance may be invalidated should they enter the country while the advisory remains in force. If you fall into this category then I suggest you consult your insurance provider. Similar considerations will apply for citizens of other countries.

Sandaoling (20th December 2019)

Roger Croston tells me that "Guide Jun is currently in Sandaoling and the level of steam activity is as good as last January". Sounds like time for the alcoholics to drink in the last chance saloon again.

Kailuan Mining Group's Tangshan Relics 2019 (13th December 2019)

Peter Crush has sent information and links about relics, including many SYs, together with three replicas built for a new museum here.

Thinking of visiting China? (7th November 2019)

It seems that visa application requirements have been tightened up yet again, be prepared to have your fingerprints taken (all ten), this means personal attendance and not using an agency. The following applies to UK citizens, other nationalities should check their own situation:


Note the key phrase in the first link 'based on the principle of reciprocity', the UK does not exactly make it easy for Chinese tourist to visit the UK.

It's not anything which is likely to affect the current SYC website editor.

Shenyang Museum (1st November 2019)

Back in 2015 Neil Smith was refused admission to the railway museum in Shenyang. While in China recently, he found no problem in making a visit. He reports:

The exhibits are in good condition but not over restored and no missing parts like some of the engines in the Beijing museum. Just as I was leaving the museum I saw a 'no photos' notice but nobody had stopped me from taking pictures. Photography inside the museum is a bit of challenge due to low light levels, positioning of information boards and seats etc but no worse than a lot of other places I suppose.

To get there from Shenyang the bus details are similar to before but we took a taxi, however the driver didn't know where the museum was and got lost, stopping to ask directions three times on the way. We caught a train back from Sujiatun station to Shenyang but there are not enough trains per day to make this a viable option I think.

Other details taken from museum handout are as follows:

Location: No.8, Shandan Street, Sujiatun District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
Contact number 024 62077705 or 024 62077168
Opening time: 09:00-16:00 Tues - Sun
Entrance Fee: 80 Yuan
How to get there: Take buses No. 324, 327 or 333 and get off at Sujiatun station then transfer to bus 143 and get off at Railway Crossing stop, the museum is 10 minutes walk from there.

Neil has uploaded some pictures to his Flickr Account.

Sandaoling  (7th May 2019)

It is reliably reported that the Sanhe Hotel in Sandaoling is now accepting foreigners again. 

Sandaoling  (23rd March 2019)

John Raby has been told by reliable Chinese and Japanese sources that the town of Sandaoling is now off limits to foreigners, to at least the extent that they are no longer able to stay overnight. Apparently, visitors will now have to stay in Hami and travel daily, the exact arrangements are not yet known but clearly independent travellers will be especially inconvenienced.

Sandaoling  (18th January 2019)

Reports from Dave Habraken covering the end of December 2018 and Wolfgang Klein the start of January 2019. 

Huanan  (25th January 2019)

Ichiro Junpu was with a small group that visited the new preserved operation on 13th January 2019. You can read a report of what he found on his website - http://www.kii762mm.com/modules/pico/index.php?cat_id=397. The current limit of operation is some 5km out - which, of course, is some way short of where the most interesting parts of the line were.

Sandaoling  (24th January 2019)

Reports from Ian Hopkins and Stephen Szwejkowski covering the middle of January 2019. 

Sandaoling  (18th January 2019)

Reports from Dave Habraken covering the end of December 2018 and Wolfgang Klein the start of January 2019. 

Sandaoling and Rongshan (2nd January 2019)

Ameling Algra was in China in December 2018, in addition to Sandaoling he visited the closed system at Rongshan and relates what he found (file is a pdf).

Sandaoling (2nd January 2019)

John Athersuch was with John Raby (see below) and has sent me a brief summary which may be more useful for upcoming visitors than JR's daily summaries.

Yujian preserved narrow gauge railway, Henan (23rd December 2018)

Neil Smith has been here in November 2018. It's still not open but you can read what he found.

Travel Advisory (21st December 2018)

Xinjiang (ie Sandaoling)

All recent reports of visits have stressed the extraordinary level of security in Xinjiang. If you happen to be a Uighur then it must be like living in a concentration camp, if you are just a tourist then you need to be aware of what you can do and what you should not. If you are planning a visit then the UK Government's advisory is essential reading - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china/safety-and-security

Sandaoling (21st December 2018)

John Raby was here between for a week in December 2018. Many SYC readers will have seen his daily bulletins but they are now available on his website - http://rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html..

Two reports from Martn B0chnig (27th November 2018)


Amazingly, working steam continues here, after a fashion. Even more amazing is the form in which it does so. Videos and photos on Chinese websites show that SY1007 appears to have been converted to run on compressed air, supplied from a large container towed behind the locomotive. More information (in Chinese) together with photos can be found at https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/38781188. Presumably this counters any complaints about pollution from the locomotive, as the area in which it operates had become increasingly residential in recent years; it also presumably avoids the expense of leasing or buying a diesel locomotive for no more than a couple of hours' work each day. But it does mean that China's most unlikely steam hold-out will continue for a little while longer.


SY1134 is performing the duties this winter with 1225 and 1546 cold in reserve.
Not much action. Sunday 18th November: Shunting from 13.00 till 15.00 in the southern mine. On Monday it only came out for coal and went back into the shed. On Tuesday the same in the morning moved 7 wagons onto the stub track leading to old mine 1 (1st hundred metres) but came out again at 14.00 to push newly arrived empties towards mine 2. 21st November: no action until 1 hour before darkness at 14:30 when SY1134 appeared to get coaled. This gave Snow, Sun, Steam and Shots :) Steam action appears to be confined to days when empties are delivered from China Rail, currently 2-3 times/week. A new diesel shed has been built but as this is presumably unnecessary if steam was to end (at present steam and diesel share the shed), it suggests steam may continue for a while yet. .

Sandaoling and Huanan News (22nd November 2018)

Peter Haworth writes "I have returned from another trip and the new report is online. Steam parts that may interest the readers can be found in part 1 (Huanan) and part 4 (Sandaoling). We found a few other preserved locos here and there."


Sandaoling News (30th October 2018)

Report from Stehane Grant of his visit (4th -14th October 2018). This is a pdf file, Acrobat Reader is required and it should open in a new TAB / Window.

Huanan (17th October 2018)

Part of the former 2ft 6in forestry and coal railway here which closed in 2011 is to re-open for tourist trains from 20 October 2018. Services will be at weekends only, at least initially and operated by C2s nos 11 and 41 which have been overhauled and repaired for the purpose. (Peter Haworth)

Sandaoling News (14th October 2018)

Маrtin B0chnig has pointed out that Pocahontas has uploaded some recent shots from Sandaoling on Flickr. A couple of them are fairly newsworthy.

8314 is back after an overhaul

Secondly a train being loaded at No.1 mine which according to most reports has not been used in around 18 months.

Sandaoling News (7th October 2018)

All good at Sandaoling - 8 engines in steam since Thursday; 3 for pit trains + 1 reserve loco (8173, 8167, 8195, 8197) and 4 for shunting at Nanzhan and the deep mine (8366, 8077, 8080, 8053). Works 'closed due to public holiday', will try next week. A couple of photographers at Dongbolizhan at watering/crew change time, otherwise few other people with cameras. Will send trip report when I get back.

(Stephane Grant at Sandoling:via Warwick Falconer)

Sandaoling (2nd October 2018)

We visited Sandaoling from 10 - 14 September. The open cast mine and related rail operation is scheduled to end on 25 September 2020, when the mine is due to be privatised.

Action at the deep mine was a bit slow, with only three relays in operation. Often there were long waits as “there was not enough coal” to be loaded. Locos seen in action at DongBoliZhan were 8167, 8173, 8197, and 8195 (this one had an uneven exhaust). Off to the side cold was 6224, awaiting the call when a fourth train set would be needed. Over at NanZhan were one inactive loco (did not get number), 8080, 8089, and 8366 with loose, clanking drive gear until it entered the shops for a 45minute tune up and came out sounding a bit healthier. 8053 took its place for a while. In the shops were 8053 (until activated), 8197, and 8314. While we were there, 8314’s frame was slowly lowered down onto the wheels which were rolled into position. This loco was nearing the end of a heavy overhaul, performed every three years or so, and was expected back on the road in late September. The shops manager commented this would be the last heavy overhaul to be performed. Recording the event along with us was a 21-year old photography student and railfan from Japan. He joined us for two days including meals until it was time for him to catch a midnight train back to Beijing from Hami.

While the first snow generally does reach Sandaoling until December, there was a bit of rain one day which translated into snow on the high peaks of the TienShan mountains to the northwest. Much of this was evidently a light dusting, as the white receded quickly in the sun of the following day.

(Ron McElrath via John Raby)

Sandaoling - news exchange (22nd September 2018)

With SY Country ending as an active website in December 2018, Warwick Falconer and Trevor Maxted plan to establish an e-mail exchange for those wishing to continue to receive or pass on the latest information on activity at Sandaoling (only Sandaoling, not other sites in China or elsewhere). If you are interested in Sandaoling news, either as a contributor or just an interested party, they would like to hear from you at e-mail: warwick.falconer@hotmail.com. Any Sandaoling news can also be emailed to that address which will in turn be shared with anyone who requests to be included.

Sandaoling (11th September 2018)

Currently 7 JS' are in use daily, 4 for operations around Nanzhan and 3 based at Dongbolizhan for working trains out of the big pit. A further 2 are undergoing overhaul in the workshops. No. 1 mine is not currently in use, nor is the line from Dongbolizhan that loops behind the workshops into the coal yard. Plans to upgrade the line into the open cast mine to enable heavier China Rail wagons to work direct into the pit appear to have been dropped.

(Liu Xuejun)

The future of SY Country (5th September 2018)

Please see the announcement on the 'Welcome' page.

Nanjing (30th August 2018)

The miniature railway under construction in the'Nanjing 1912' block in the Daxinggong district (Steam News 13th July, below) has now opened. Services are currently operated by a battery electric locomotive but an accurate model of a former LNER 'B1' class loco is present in the station, suggesting this may be used in the future.

Preserved locos

It is not the intention to carry full details of plinthed or preserved locomotives in China on SY Country. However, those displayed at the various transport universities are sometimes of more than passing interest as they are displayed with other stock or in a broader railway-like environment, as in the case of SY0194 at Lanzhou Jiaotong University or JS8328 at Southwest Jiaotong University.

(Raicho Yang)

Nanjing (22nd August 2018)

An SY and three carriages are on static display at a 'train theme park' in the Binjiang scenic area of Nanjing city. This is a riverside location, approximately one hour by public transport from the city centre and distinct from the narrow gauge lines and former railway ferry terminals in the city. The park, which opened in early 2017, includes a replica of an old station building and the SY carries number 0985. If original, this was built at Tangshan in 1975 and was last reported dumped at Shougang Steelworks in the same city in 2009.

(David Thomas)

Alihe Forestry Railway, Inner Mongolia (10th August 2018)

The 762mm gauge Alihe Forestry Railway closed in 1999. At its peak it had extended about 200km and had a fleet of 9 steam and one diesel loco. The Alihe National Forestry park was subsequently created and in 2011 a 5km stretch of new line was opened in the Xiangsigu Scenic Area within the forest park. Tourist trains run over this line in July and August, using a single C2, numbered 045, and two old forestry passenger cars. At least one petrol railcar is also on the roster. More details are available on Ichiro Junpu's website Narrow Gauge Railways in China.

(Ichiro Junpu)

Nanjing (13th July 2018)

An unlikely feature of the 'Nanjing 1912' block in the Baijiahu area of Jiangning district in Nanjing is a steam-operated miniature railway. It starts from a store with a prominent steam loco sign outside and the run of about 800 metres includes a bridge, curves and a railway crossing. The single fare is CNY 55 and from pictures the line appears to be of 7.25 inch gauge. The same company is also developing a 'Nanjing 1912' block in the Daxinggong district of the city and here too a miniature railway is under construction as part of the development.

(Raicho Yang)

Wuhan (17th June 2018)

The 'Happy Valley' theme park here has several giant roller coasters, including a twin known as the 'Dauling Dragon,' at the entrance to which are what appear to be two SYs, with imitation smoke issuing from their chimneys during park opening hours. One bears the number 0069, which was last recorded at Sujiatun works in 1994. The second is numbered 3366 which does not correspond with any known SY, or indeed any other likely class of locomotive. It has presumably been renumbered but the significance of '3366' is unknown.

(Rob Dickinson)

Da'an Bei

The large store of preserved locos here has not featured in any recent reports, presumably because it remains unclear whether or not it is open to the public. A recent Chinese report quotes the number of locos on site as 370 although it is not clear whether this refers only to steam locos. The site is clearly visible on Google Earth - the co-ordinates are 45°31'37.78"N 124°14'27.85"E - where 79 steam locos can be seen grouped around the turntable.

(Simon Colbeck and Rob Dickinson)

Shibanxi (8th June 2018)

I went to the Bashi Railway on 5 June. Steam locos are still running. I took the tourist train hauled by a C2. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to get off during the journey except at Mifengyan and Liangshuituo. After riding the train, I went into the depot. The driver said there are 5 steam locos (C2) and a new diesel. But they did not allow me to enter the place where steam locos are stored. Electric locos do not appear to be used any more because the cables in stations and the depot have been cut off. According to the driver, two ordinary trains are running in the morning (7:00 from Shixi, 8:30 from Bagou) and afternoon (16:00 from Shixi and 17:30 from Bagou).

(Raicho Yang)

New Report (3rd May 2018)

John Raby has added to his site a report by Steve Rogers on his visit to Sandaoling in January. While not new, the report includes very detailed information on locomotive movements and train workings.

New Report (29th April 2018)

A report by John Raby on a visit to Wujiu last week has been added.

Sandaoling (16th April 2018)

We visited Sandaoling in the second week of April. We called Gu Li and got info on transport from Hami but we opted to go it alone as there were only three of us and it didn’t make sense to rent a van for the day. This trip was perfect for us as my wife and her friend who joined us were able to communicate with the hotel and taxis to get around. The taxi drivers are very knowledgeable and know all the spots people go to view train activity. We would get dropped off and when we were ready to go back to town we called them. The first viewpoint is close enough to town to walk to and we did that from our hotel the first night. We walked there at 9:30pm to see if we could see the stack sparks. But only a few sparks were seen on two runs and we walked back at midnight. We basically had the place to ourselves except for a few locals at times. We got to talk to train personnel and got invited inside a cab while the driver was waiting for a shift change. What I understood is they will run until 2020 or until the engines begin to fail - whichever comes first. Normally boiler maintenance would take place every three years but the personnel and facilities to overhaul them are gone. Four locos were available for work at the opencast mine with three in use and one spare and another three or four other elsewhere (presumably Nanzhan – M.R) As we were just three people, staff seemed very relaxed. If there are 30 people standing watching I think they may possibly act differently.

(Mike McCormack)

Shibanxi (10th April 2018)

John Raby has just been in Shibanxi with a tour group. He has written an account of his final day there, on his own, when all trains were steam-hauled. But he also says that two more diesels are on order. The visit to the Jiayang coal railway is part of a wider trip to see Chinese narrow gauge lines.

Sandaoling (24th March 2018)

A visitor in the first week of March found activity at a low ebb, presumably yet to get back to normal after the Spring Festival. Three JS' (8190, 8173, 6224) were assigned to working the Blue Loader, later reduced to two. The Yellow Loader was not in use. The Chinese news agency Xinhua has recently published an article in English on the decline of steam at Sandaoling, The Last of the steam train drivers

(Douglas Brooks via Bernd Seiler, Ian Hopkins)


Recent visitors report that local services have been reduced to just one early morning and one evening train, with the remainder of the day given over to tourist trains. These depart hourly from 8am at weekends, 9am during the week but are apparently double-headed out of Yuejin, either by two C2s or by one C2 and the new steam-outline diesel loco depending on time of day. Beyond Mifeng reports vary as to whether steam remains on the train but it appears that the only section on which trains are regularly hauled by a C2 alone is around Duanjiawan for a photo run past. March is the peak of the tourist season and it remains to be seen whether the third local train, which operates in the middle of the day, will resume from April.

(Wang Feng via John Raby)

Diaobingshan (Tiefa) (5th February 2018)

The annual Tiefa steam festival was covered by a short article in The People's Daily on 26 January (Chinese edition only) which described it as the '11th International Steam Locomotive Festival,' saying more than 1000 enthusiasts and photographers attended. It is not clear whether this figure refers to the opening day only or all three days.

(Roger Croston)

Sandaoling (23rd January 2018)

A further report is available, this time from a group visit organised by John Raby which complements Trevor Maxted's report, below. Separately, Ameling Algra has pointed out that Air China now flies thrice weekly between Chengdu and Hami, a useful connection for anyone contemplating a visit to both Shibanxi and Sandaoling, or flying direct from Europe to Chengdu.

New Report (17th January 2018)

Another report from a recent visit to Sandaoling has been added, this time from Trevor Maxted.

Sandaoling (12th January 2018)

Ameling Algra has sent the following supplement to his note of 22nd December, below and Dave Habraken's recent report.

The second week of my Sandaoling stay, three sets were used every day again. There was still a long afternoon gap at the blue loader, every afternoon from 13.30 till about 15.30 or later. Trains would leave the loader to the washery at 13.30 even if they were only half full. I don’t know whether the gap was caused by lunch break or lack of coal in the loader. On several afternoons, there were trains to the unloading point again, loaded at track 1 or (on one occasion) on track 2 at the loading point. The first train would arrive to be loaded around 13.30, leaving between 15.00 and 15.30. On two afternoons, after that a second train came. The loaded train from track 2 struggled to get out on the line, as also happened once when a loco of an already loaded train needed to be coaled. The track must be steeper than track 1.There is already a huge coal pile near track 4. Occasionally, a loaded lorry leaves the mine from there. Let’s hope they are not starting to like that operation. As mentioned by Dave, security is strict but not really stricter than previous years. Especially when entering Hami, if travelling alone you are bound to be questioned - thoroughly but friendly. And after the three checks in Hami (!) I spent two weeks in Sandaoling without any problems, so it does not really matter. Other security measures are road blocks in front of every hotel, school, bank and bus station. Not obvious is the fact that gps trackers are to be installed in every vehicle and dna samples are being taken from everyone living there. That being said, I enjoyed the two weeks immensely again. Nice weather, with two clouded days to give some variation in the video. Always some other enthousiasts around (almost exclusively Chinese), but never a nuisance. I considered booking a ticket again for the end of January, but decided I can wait till December.

(Ameling Algra)

New Report (7th January 2018)

Dave Habraken's report of his visit to Sandaoling in late December has been posted.

The link to Dave's own site Spoorwegnostalgie previously included a warning that the site had been reported as harmful. This has been confirmed not to be the case and the warning has been removed.

Shibanxi (2nd January 2018)

The entry into service of a steam-outline diesel locomotive has been reported on a forum linked to the mine park. (http://bbs.scjyjt.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=30676.html  Inaccessible in December 2021 RD) An accompanying explanation from the railway suggests this will only be used for certain trains on request although possibly including some of the regular local services. There is not any suggestion as yet that this is the harbinger of a full replacement of steam working.

(Paul Molyneux Berry)

New Report (27th December 2017)

Martn B0chnig has sent a report of a trip to Baiyin, Xifeng and Wujiu earlier this month.

Fushun (27th December 2017)

According to Chinese enthusiast Liu Li Jiang, who has posted some recent photos of Wujiu on his Twitter account, steam at Fushun finished earlier this year.

(Liu Li Jiang via Martn B0chnig)

Sandaoling (23rd December 2017)

News has just been received of plans to change operations at the open cast mine from the spring.The plan is for trains to run directly from the Blue Loader (from line 4 currently not used) with loaded China Rail wagons through onto the Nanzhan system and out to China Rail. The trains would be formed of up to 20 China Rail wagons, which can carry roughly twice the weight of the internal tipper wagons currently used. Propelling trains of this length seems unlikely if not impossible and double heading or topping and tailing will most likely be required to move the trains out of the open cast pit. There could be a change of locos or one loco coming off at a handover point behind the workshop where the current but rarely used interchange line is. The Nanzhan locos may work down into the pit with empties but would face chimney first into the pit unless they are turned. They are unlikely to leave the pit tender first without a Dongboli pilot loco involved.The high level coal line (the washery branch) should continue but trains will not reverse into the coal yard for transhipment to the Nanzhan system as currently happens. This new operation will replace that. Track changes are due in spring with the new operation in use before next winter. The loco fleet at Dongbolizhan for the open cast mine is to be strengthened for this with 2 more locos going through works in spring which should see a build up to 6 in use plus 1 as spare. Whether the plan will mean an increase in the total number of locos in use or will be accommodated by reducing the number of steam workings at Nanzhan is not clear but it does suggest that steam will continue at Sandaoling for a while longer.

(Liu Xue Jun (Jun) via John Raby and Bernd Seiler)

Sandaoling (22nd December 2017)

Traffic levels are much lower than in recent reports. Two train sets in use, most if not all trains coming from blue loader and going to washery. Lorries are loaded near the blue loader now. Still sufficient traffic to keep me and a handful of Chinese gricers happy, but sometimes long gaps e.g. Monday from 13:00 tll 16:30 no trains.

(Ameling Algra)


The certificates of nos 7038 and 7119, the two QJs hitherto used for the occasional specials, are both reported to have expired, making any future specials most unlikely.

(Hans Schaefer)

New Report (18th December 2017)

Ian Hopkins has sent some further information on Sandaoling to supplement the report from Duncan Cotterill posted on 16th December (below).


A visitor on 3rd December reported all locos stored in the yard and no signs that any were being used to provide steam heating on the passenger trains.

(Harada Keisuke)

New Report (16th December 2017)

Duncan Cotterill has sent an interim report of a visit to Wujiu and Sandaoling in November and December. He will produce a full report in due course but this should be of benefit to anyone planning a visit to either location in the coming weeks.

Diaobingshan (Tiefa) (7th December 2017)

The annual steam festival will be held from 19th - 21st January 2018 using SYs 1770 and 1772 and, according to reports, KD6 its first appearance at the festival since 2015.

Steam News (24th November 2017)


SY 1225 was seen in use on Sunday 19th and Monday 20th November, shunting wagons under the loader at Shengli Mine, shown on John Athersuch's map as the new mine south of Wujiu town. Empties are delivered to the mine by the DF4DD diesel, which also takes the loads back to Meitian. None of the other mines were served during the 2 days. The other two SYs, 1134 and 1546 are stored cold in the depot and do not appear to have moved since last year.

(Duncan Cotterill)

Steam News (1st November 2017)


Several photographs of SY 1407 in steam at Jiutai have recently been posted on this Twitter site. The most recent, posted on 30th October, was presumably taken last winter but a post below from 28 October is assumed to be contemporary. The accompanying comment says it remains in service.

(Raicho Yang)

Steam News (24th October 2017)


Further to the report below, visitors report that the same eight locomotives were in use throughout the period from 28 September - 6 October: 8173, 8190 and 8225 in addition to 6224 at Dongbolizhan and 8053, 8077, 8080 and 8089 at Nanzhan. Typically, all four locos. at Dongbolizhan would arrive for the morning shift change between 08.00 and 08.30 and after servicing would leave for the mine at intervals between 08.25 and 10.40. 8384 was seen cannibalised outside the works while 8197, together with a tender numbered 6224 but with an otherwise unidentified loco., were seen in a separate yard together with other withdrawn locos, including at least one SY.

(Peter Semmelroch and Stephane Grant)

Steam News (15th October 2017)


As of 5 October, eight JS class were in use daily, four at Dongbolizhan and four at Nanzhan. The Dongbolizhan allocation included no 6224 which, prior to the ending of spoil trains, had been semi-permanently assigned to duties with the flanger (Jordan spreader) on the lines west of Xibolizhan.

(Liu Xuejun via John Raby)

Steam News (22nd August 2017)


According to an article on a Chinese blog-site http://www.meiifood.com/junshi/201707/14857551.html steam working at Xifeng in Guizhou finished at the start of 2017 when the fertilsier plant acquired a GKD1c diesel. If confirmed, this would mean that all steam working in south-west China, excluding the tourist operation at Shibanxi, has now finished. However, it appears to contradict the information given here on 21st April (below) and the article itself is vague on details. Any more information, especially first hand, would be very welcome.

(Takuhiro Ota via John Athersuch)

Steam News (28th June 2017)

Yujian (ChaoQi)

Information about this new tourist line continues to trickle in. The latest is that so far only the section between Chaoyanggou and Chaohua, around 20km., has reopened and even this is only for special charters, such as that reported below. Regular timetabled operations are not expected to begin for another year. The aim is first to reopen the 40 km from Chaoyanggou to Xinmi, then to build a new line from Chaoyanggou to Shaolin Temple, some 20km. The latter is a major tourist attraction so if this comes to fruition it would no doubt boost traffic considerably but it remains to be seen whether it will be built. No fewer than ten diesels, in addition to the six C2s, have been reported as overhauled or rebuilt, giving some indications of the ambitious scale of the project.

(Liu Xuejun via John Raby)

Steam News (18th June 2017)


The last report of this new tourist railway was almost one year ago (see Steam News 17th July and 29th June 2016, below). Confirmation that the line appears to have finally opened for business came on a Chinese website http://www.wanhuajing.com/d789113 which carried a report on 27th May of a trip on the line by the Wenlian Writers' Association and other local cultural groups. According to the report, so far 61km has been reopened and six steam locos are available for traffic, presumably all C2s. An accompanying photo shows a train headed by C2 no 005. Three diesel locos and one diesel railcar have also been recorded.

(Paul Molyneux-Berry and John Athersuch)


Further to the report of 21st April below about a new tourist line in Henan, this has now been confirmed as being based at Lankao, so is indeed a different line to that at ChaoQi. It appears to be worked by diesel or steam-outline diesel locos, however, not steam.

(Raicho Yang)

New Report (21st April 2017)

John Raby's report of his visit to Sandaoling and Shibanxi in March is now online.

Steam News


A short clip of shunting at Xifeng apparently filmed at the start of April can be seen on Youtube, confirmation that steam remains active at this location.

Sandaoling, Fuxin and Pingzhuang

Also recently posted on Youtube are two brief but high quality Taiwanese films of steam at Sandaoling in December 2016 and at Fuxin and Pingzhuang during 2016.


Harada Keisuke has sent a report of a new steam-worked tourist line, reportedly due to start operating at Kaifeng in Henan province from May. But the photograph of a C2 which accompanies the news report was taken at another location and it is not clear if this is indeed a new line, or the Yujian Railway, also in Henan and also due to start public running from next month (see Steam News 29th June 2016, below, for more information on this).

Steam News (3rd April 2017)


The power station at Shibanxi was shut down in December 2016 and the electric-hauled coal trains stopped. The railway now only operates steam-hauled passenger and tourist trains. The coal mine at Sanjin/Yuejing is sending out all coal by road and cannot meet all the demand for its coal. It now seems even more likely that the steam loco shed and workshop will be transferred to Sanjin (assuming they can find somewhere to fit it in). The locos now have to travel 4.4 km each way from the depot to the tourist station. Coal and water are available at Sanjin so it's only stabling, servicing and repair that is done at Shibanxi. The local passenger train still goes to Shibanxi but probably does not need to go further than Sanjin as there are plenty of buses from there to Shibanxi and Qianwei.

(John Raby)

New Reports (27th March 2017)

Accounts by James Stearn of his visits to Wujiu and Sandaoling as part of a Farrail tour group in February can be accessed via these links.

New Reports (24th March 2017)

Reports have been received from Trevor Maxted on a visit to Sandaoling earlier this month and from Harada Keisuke on Shibanxi and Wujiu, also following a visit earlier this month.

Steam News


JS8422, previously in service on the Tianjin Local Railway, remains in store outside the shed here. A photo of it in the same location on 2 October 2015 is on 'Pocahontas' Flickr site.

(Andrew Benton)

Steam News (17th March 2017)


During a March 7-14 visit, traffic levels were reasonable but a mild winter added to an early Spring made photography challenging. JS8077 and JS8173 have both been moved from the compound into the works where 8077 was undergoing hydraulic testing and repairs to the rocking grate mechanism before being subsequently sent for coaling, suggesting a probable return to service. Trains were seen leaving each day for the deep mines at Yijing and Erjing but taxi drivers and other locals said Yijing had finally closed and the entire staff paid off. There is anecdotal evidence that the new deep mine at Shanduzi is still behind on output so the East pit will still be needed for a while. It now looks quite possible that steam will continue into next year and possibly even into 2019. The exact details are sketchy but will probably see a blue loader only diagram using 3 locomotives. So a visit to this incredible location may just be possible next winter. Only time will tell!

(John Parker)

Steam News (10th March 2017)


More information has been received about the steam heating operation at Baiyin from Raicho Yang, who visited on 25 February. He confirmed that the loco is marshalled at one end of the train, so is either behind the diesel or at the opposite end, depending on direction of travel. One member of crew appears to travel on board as a fireman. According to a posting on the Ourail website, the service was running three times daily, departing from 'Linshi' (presumably Baiyin shi?) at 7:50 15:15 18:15, and returning from the mine (Kuangsan) at 9:30 17:15 and 19:50. The operation is expected to last until either 15 or 31 March, when the official winter heating season ends.

Photos by Raicho Yang

New Report (2nd March 2017)

Roger Croston has sent a report of his visit to Diaobingshan (Tiefa) and Sandaoling in January, the former for the annual steam festival.

Steam News

Nanzhan (Sandaoling)

As a footnote to Roger Croston's report above, John Parker, who was also in Sandaoling in January, reports that while difficulties have been encountered in photographing at the eastern end of the yard at Nanzhan, over several days he was able to photograph at the western end of the yard without any difficulty and recommends this area for chimney first shunting, modern container trains of coal out of the coal yard, the industrial backdrop seen from the south, locos using their chime whistles and no access issues. A visit after 11 am is recommended for the light.


Baiyin has used SY1583 on steam heating duties this winter, the loco being coupled to the passenger train whilst in service, either behind the train loco or at the end of the rake. 'Pocahontas' has posted pictures on his Flickr account showing this in service on 27 and 28 January 27.

(Peter Semmelroch)

Steam News (10th February 2017)


Further to Hideki Yamaki's report (1st January, below), after a brief return to steam by one SY after the break for the Spring Festival, all steam working at Pingzhuang has reportedly now been suspended until June or July, presumably due to continued low demand for coal.

(John Raby)

Steam News (29th January 2017)


Further to the brief information from John Parker received yesterday, Martin B0chnig is also currently in Sandaoling and reports up to 9 JS in daily use, 4 working trains out of the pit, where both loaders are in use and up to 5 shunting at Nanzhan and working to and from the deep mines, where workings are currently 100% steam. Locos seen in action at the open pit every day over the last two weeks were JS 8081, 8167, 8197 with appearances from JS 8190 and 8225 too, and at Nanzhan and the deep mines JS 6204,8053, 8314,8358 and 8366. On 29th 6204 returned from Erjing with a full train at 4pm. Operations are continuing as normal despite the Spring Festival but security in the town is tight. Apparently armed police visited several hotels on Saturday evening (New Year's Day) and required guests to move elsewhere.

By flying Swissair (and presumably Air China on from Beijing to Hami) John Parker was able to be taking photos on the ground within 24 hours of leaving home. He reports that on Friday afternoon (27th January) three JS were busy with coal trains in the big pit, with the mines working throughout the Spring Festival.

Steam News (13th January 2017)


I've just returned from China. At Fushun 2 SYs were in steam, but during our stay they had no work. The workers were kind but the manager and police were so nervous because of the flood damage, or maybe because of fears that foreign visitors are trying to find evidence of steel over-production. Taking pictures at the steam stabling point was strictly prohibited but tolerated from the road and level crossings. I suggest not to go to Fushun now. The electric lines were busy, including a train carrying dynamite and the steam crane with a DF5.


I took part in the annual Tiefa Steam Festival on 7th and 8th January. SY1770 and SY1772 were in steam. Large numbers of locals also came, and they were so lively that we sometimes had difficulty taking photos. Most trains were push-pull, but sometime only one engine pulled the coaches.

(Harada Keisuke)

New Report (3rd January 2017)

Peter Haworth's report of his latest epic trip in November and December is now online. The full report is in four sections, covering locations ranging from Mudanjiang in the North East to Kunming in the South West. Active steam at Jiutai and Pingzhuang is covered in section 2 and at Sandaoling in section 3. The link goes directly to section 2 but the other sections of his report can be accessed from this.

Steam News (1st January 2017)


I visited Pingzhuang on 26th and 27th December from Japan, however, unfortunately I found no operations. Officer of Rui’an (Sijing) loading point said demand for Pingzhuang coal is significantly decreased due to PM2.5 problem. They had had no trains for three days. Also, no wagons at all were found at Rui’an (Sijing) loading point, Zhuangmeizhan, GushanLijing or PingzhuangNan. Loco works accepts my visit because my Chinese guide has a friend who worked there before. I found 1425, 1441(in maintenance pit), 1487 and 1764 in an indoor depot. Conditions of them looked very well, however, fire of all locos is down. Worker said due to PM2.5 problem government ask to shut down the boiler during long term stage Also I found tenders of 1441 and 1487 are changed each other. Concerning DF4, I found only 1525 in the works. No DF4 was found in Zhuangmeizhan, GushanLijing or PingzhuangNan. As mentioned above, situation of Pingzhuang Mining Railway was not very well. However no workers said operation of steam loco is suspended or terminated. They (officers of loading point, depot workers, crossing keeper) continue their work as usual even though there are no trains.

(Hideki Yamaki)

Steam News (27th December 2016)


Visited 4th - 16th December. The line in the pit was very busy from about 1030 in the morning with, at times, up to four loaded trains per hour making their way to either the washery (Xuanmeichang) or coal yard (Jianmeixian) and the only day there seemed to be a lunchtime break was Sunday 11th and even that was just the shovel loading. Opinions on possible closure varied but it was thought some crews have been given a Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) finish date but this is mainly conjecture. As per Duncan Cotterill's report (link below) the loading of trains from the shovel at Xikeng (the loader area) was busy but we did not see any lorries replentishing stocks in our 12 days there. That part of the operation could well cease once the yard is cleared? The deep mines system was also busy at times, about the same as previous visits, and 100% JS operated. Yard shunting at Nan was hectic at times, again all steam. If flying to Hami you now have to sign a paper at check in saying you do not have lithium batteries in checked luggage. Any found during the routine security checks are liable to be removed and confiscated without warning and the luggage is also likely to miss the flight and be sent the next day, thereby requiring a return trip to Hami airport to collect it.

(Trevor Maxted)

New Report (21st December 2016)

Duncan Cotterill's latest report,'The End of the Line?', covering visits to Pingzhuang, Wujiu and Sandaoling in November and early December is now online.

Steam News


A visitor on 13 December found SY1524 in seemingly derelict condition but operations continuing in the hands of SY1007, possibly a candidate as the oldest SY in regular use (the news item from 27 March, below, reported SY0434 as the regular locomotive at the Xifeng Phosphate Works which is presumably the oldest if it remains in use). Work for the day was over by 13.30.

(Martin B0chnig )

Steam News (13th December 2016)


A visitor on 9-10 December observed SY 1632 and both diesels in use on both days with SY-1630 also under steam but remaining on shed, presumably as the standby locomotive. SY-1050 was seen in the depot compound, cold and rusty and looking dumped. An unidentified electric locomotive was also seen, presumably on the adjacent tracks of the coal railway.

(Martin B0chnig )

Steam News (11th December 2016)


Visited 29 November - 5 December. Both deep mines are working supported by 4 locos (8053, 8314, 8358, 8366, didn’t see 8089) at Nanzhan. There are a couple of departures from each mine during the day with associated arrivals of empty wagons. I also heard a departure at night from Yijing as I lay in bed at the Sandaoling Ritz. Times vary but we saw two sunset departures from Yijing. We saw one banked working of empties up to the mines. If you are lucky you can see two locos together at Erjing mine. Steady traffic at the open cast mine each day supported by 4 locos. Trains loaded from the (not so blue anymore) loader, the shovel which loaded trains on two lines and by motor digger. The spare loco rotates so it is different one each day. The usual locos were working (8081, 8167, 8190, 8197,8225).We couldn’t find the spare loco for the first few days but then discovered that it had been taking the steam crane to the old spoil train exit from the pit at Xibolizhan via the new line. There is one line there that is in effect a siding that stops at the top of the pit. The steam crane was involved in taking apart and putting back together various pieces of mining equipment. We got a ride back on the crane, which meant I got steam haulage on the new line on my birthday! 8225 reversed out of the siding to Xibolizhan, then pushed the crane all the way to the bridge in Nanzhan yard, then reversed back to the workshop.

(Ian Hopkins)

Steam News (8th December 2016)


At long last, first hand confirmation that working steam continues. Peter Haworth visited on 26 November and reports that SY1407 made a trip to the exchange sidings from the mine and returned about an hour later with three empties.


One SY in steam on 30 November but no movement all day and the same situation on 6 December. There are reports of a major accident at a mine in the Pingzhuang area on 3 December, leading to a suspension of activity at all mines in the area while safety checks are carried out.

Steam News (3rd December 2016)


Visited from 29 November - 2 December. Traffic very sparse, the main problem seems to be lack of empty wagons coming in from China Rail. An example of this was this afternoon (2nd) SY1764 running down light engine to Nan at 1pm to collect (supposedly) 13 empty wagons (from information received) and returning after over two hours with just one wagon! SY1764 has been in use on shunting trips, sorties to Nan exchange sidings and trips up to Sijing mine. DF4 1251 was also in traffic but was swapped for DF4 6087 on the 1st. DF4 1251 has seemingly gone from the railway, possibly to Sujiatun. Steam seems to be in use more than the diesels but with only one loco in steam at any time during our visit. Today (2nd) SY1487 (with SY1441's tender) was steamed and this evening took the place of SY1764. At the depot SY1425 was inside looking servicable, DF4 1525 status uncertain, SY1441 under repair. Dumped outside were SY1017, 1025 & 0798 plus JS1001. Pingzhuang still needs loads of patience with sometimes hours of inactivity but can also produce some bursts of action.

(Trevor Maxted)

Steam News (1st December 2016)


During a visit from 18 - 22 November, SY 1225 and DF4DD 0288 were both in use but not very often. SY 1134 and SY 1546 were both in the shed building, cold but in good condition and appeared steamable. In five days we saw four steam hauled trains, three of them downhill and one of those was well before dawn. The only uphill working was propelled and ran with the drain cocks open almost all the way and clouds of steam obscuring the engine. The best shots were of SY 1225 shuffling around the yard light engine. The SY worked between Wujiu Yard and the Sankuang (Mine 3) loading point and the diesel between Wujiu Yard and CNR at Meitian. No wagons were loaded at Erkuang (Mine 2) or Sikuang (Mine 4) while we were there. We were told that there had been no trains from Sikuang since Spring Festival.The SY visited Yikuang (Mine 1) to be coaled on one occasion and took water on the siding outside the power station several times. When they weren’t in use both locos went back inside the shed building out of the cold.


Between 24 - 27 November four JS in use on opencast coal duties JS 8081, 8167, 8190 & 8197. JS 8225 is apparently the spare engine. Traffic levels vary considerably from day to day - on 26 November there were 15 loaded trains out of the pit in 8 hours but barely half that number the next day. At least 3 JS also still in use at Nanzhan.

(Duncan Cotterill)

Steam News (17th November 2016)


Mrs Guli, the local guide at Sandaoling has said that according to the 'workshop leader' steam working out of the east pit will finish in May 2017 to be replaced by road trucks. Some steam may continue to be used on trains from Nanzhan, this is not clear and would in any case only be a shadow of current operations.

(Liu Xuejun via John Raby)


On 14 and 15 November SYs 1425 and 1764 were in use alongside DF4 6087. The diesel seems to work most trains between Pingzhuang Nan and Lijing with the steam covering shunts, trips to Rui’an Mine, also known as Sijing, the new mine on the south rim of the opencast, and the occasional trip to Pingzhuang Nan when the diesel is busy.

(Duncan Cotterill)

Steam News (4th October 2016)


Bruce Evans and I were in Fuxin from 19th to 21st September. No steam. Four DF5Ds (0065,0067,0068,0080) and one DF4B seen. We were told that only one mine is now working - Wangying - at the end of the branch from Minzhu. The Wulong mine closed due to bankruptcy. There are spoil trains coming out of the working mine and the DF5D locos take these trains to the normal spoil dumping areas (ie on Wulong tip).

(Roger Gillard)


On 30th September 2 SYs were seen in steam here (no further details).

(Liu Xuejun via John Athersuch)


According to one of the drivers, the single working locomotive, SY1407, has been in daily use of late and track maintenance has also been carried out recently, so there is a 'high possibility' that it will continue working through the winter.

Steam News (5th September 2016)


Information from various sources over the last few days seems to confirm that steam has indeed ended at Fuxin. In the chat on the page linked to the webcam there is speculation/a suggestion that two locos will be kept in reserve although there is no independent confirmation of this, nor an explanation as to why this might happen. The same page offers perhaps the most plausible reason for the sudden demise - that Wangying mine is being closed. This is a deep level mine that generates almost all the spoil worked to Wulong tip but given depressed coal prices and government pressure to reduce capacity in the industry it is quite possible that the mining company has decided to close the pit. The one flaw at present in this theory is that spoil trains continue to run. Assuming that diesels are unable to work up to the tip, it would be interesting to know where the spoil is now being tipped or unloaded.

Steam News (31st August 2016)

Fuxin - steam ended?

At 06.05 this morning local time, completely contradicting information from earlier this month (below) a Fuxin loco driver posted a message on the Chinese WeChat service saying today would be the last day of steam working at Fuxin. No further details although it was repeated in response to queries from at least one Chinese enthusiast. Further information/clarification will be posted as soon as available.

(Peter Haworth)

Steam News (29th August 2016)


As a follow up to Roger Croston's report of 23 August below, readers may be pleased to know that the webcam, (link dead by May 2023) reported out of use in July is back in service.

(Richard Turkington)

New Report (23rd August 2016)

Further to the news item below about Fuxin and Pingzhuang, Roger Croston has now sent a full report of his visit on which he was accompanied by Liu Xuejun.

Steam News (10th August 2016)


SYs 1764 and 1425 both reported working, including hauling coal to the CNR interchange at Pingzhuang Nan. 'They will use 2 SY for the foreseeable future and maybe a 3rd SY in winter so it looks like Pingzhuang has had a full return to steam.'


SYs 1319 ,1460, 1378, 1395 (Zhude), 1210, 1818 (6 locos) all reported working. Steam is now expected to continue here through the winter at least.

(Liu Xuejun via John Raby)

Steam News (3rd August 2016)


SY1407 is currently cold. But there is no information as to whether diesels have taken over or whether this is a seasonal occurrence and it will resume working in winter. (On a June visit in 2012 David Thomas found no activity and assumed the mine had closed - see Trip Report 642 M.R)


1 SY is reported to be in steam here daily (No further details as to whether this is in use or for standby purposes only. The last report, from Harada Keisuke in March, Trip Report 674, recorded 2 locos in steam. M.R)

(Liu Xuejun via John Athersuch)

Steam News (17th July 2016)


Pascal Zingg paid a brief visit to Pingzhuang on 15th July and reports that SY 1425 was shunting at Zhuangmei washery, while DF4B 1251 was seen hauling an empty coal train in the direction of Gushan Erjing. His group also drove along the line to Wujia but the rails looked as if they were out of use. He has posted pictures on the bahnbilder website.


Unfortunately it is no longer possible to access to the webcam reported under Steam News on 21st May below. It is not clear whether the camera remains, but for management use only, or has been removed. The last reports from viewers suggested that up to 4 SYs remain in use daily. The 'twin cab diesel' mentioned in News on 11th June has now been identified as DF4 6155, which was seen inside the works in March.

(John King)


Further to the previous report, Ichiro Junpu now says that it is not clear whether or not future visitors will be able to arrange charters or trial runs. But he has posted contact details of the travel agent in Zhengzhou who arranged his visit on his website for anyone wishing to investigate further.

Steam News (29th June 2016)

ChaoQi (Henan province)

This line was first reported (under the heading 'Another New Steam Line?') on 30th October 2015, see the news report of that date below. There appears to have been considerable progress since then and the line is now being promoted locally as the Yujian Railway. On 2-3 June two Japanese enthusiasts paid a visit with arrangements made by a local travel agent who managed to arrange a steam charter for them. Ichiro Junpu has posted two reports in English on his website. The second one can be accessed here. This was apparently something of a test exercise and he is currently waiting to hear from the travel agent about the possibility of organising regular charters. More information about the line is also contained in issues 112 and 113 of the UK publication Narrow Gauge World

(Ichiro Junpu, John Athersuch)

Steam News (11th June 2016)


Avid webcam viewers have identified 3 SYs in regular use: 1210, 1320, 1395 ('Marshal Zhude'). 1378 has also been reported and the level of activity appears consistent with at least 4 SYs in regular use. On the other hand, a previously unreported and unidentified twin cab diesel has also been seen shunting the yard. A first hand report would be very welcome. Potential visitors may like to note a recent change to the China Rail timetable means the former direct service from Beijing North to Fuxin is no more. For those preferring a traditional direct train, there are now two options from Beijing: Train 2257 (Beijing to Dandong via Fuxin and Shenyang) - dep Beijing 12.20, arr Fuxin 02.33 or Train K915 from Beijing East to Fuxin, dep 20.28 arr Fuxin 06.54. The return K916 deps Fuxin at 21.30 and arrives Beijing East at 08.14.

(John Athersuch, Andrew Benton)

Steam News (21st May 2016)


'I just got good news from staff working at Fuxin. Fuxin's steam may continue to work after all, because they have no plans to rebuild Wulong's rail, Diesels can't run on the line to the tip. And SY1395 "Zhude" may be working again.'

(Harada Keisuke)

Also for armchair viewers, a webcam can now be accessed, showing activity in Wulong Yard (if intending to watch bear in mind that China Time is 8 hours ahead of GMT/UTC M.R).

(Takuhiro Ota)

New Report (15th May 2016)

Peter Haworth has posted his report of his latest visit, in April and May, online. The full report is in three sections; the link goes directly to the report covering Fuxin, the only active steam location he visited. The other sections of his report can be accessed from this.

Steam News (7th May 2016)

Fuxin and Wujiu

Harada Keisuke has just returned from a visit to Fuxin and Wujia. His full illustrated report (in Japanese) covers Fuxin, where he recorded 5 locos in steam, including SY1319 and SY1396 but not 'Marshal Zhude' and another 3 cold in the works. There was frequent activity up to Wulong tip but there was also a yellow well wagon in Pingan Yard, said to be to take rails up to the Wulong tip line for upgrading the track. 'All workers at Fuxin who I asked said the same sad news that Fuxin's steams would stop June.' At Wujiu all3 SYs were cold in the Shed. Staff said "Steam took some rest" suggesting they may return to use at some point. 'Just in front of the Wuerqihan station is the Liming Hotel, RMB150/day. The staff were so kind, but because there was no steam at Wujiu, I cancelled the hotel and returned to Yakeshi by taxi.'

Peter Haworth was also told by staff at Fuxin during a recent visit that steam will end in June, with one or two locos possibly retained on a stand by basis. However, Liu Xuejun has said that the local government held a meeting with the mine bureau on 5 May and asked the latter to keep 'at least 4' steam locos in use for the time being. So the situation remains unclear. At least one tour operator is organising a 'Farewell' tour to Fuxin for later this month but Liu Xuejun is advising those arranging autumn tours to continue as planned for the time being.

(Harada Keisuke; Peter Haworth and Liu Xuejun via John Raby)

Steam News (26th April 2016)


Ben Kletzer has been in contact with one of the drivers at Fuxin, who has given a different version of developments to that from Mr Gu (19th April, below). According to him, staff have been told that 4 diesels are due to arrive by the end of June and will replace 7 of the 11 SYs still officially available for use. Most of these are already in store. This will leave 4 SYs still on the working roster. Some additional driver training on diesels is planned but nothing has been said about upgrading the track to Wulong tip. This suggests that at least some steam activity will continue for the time being.

(Ben Kletzer via John Raby)

Sanmenxia, Henan

JS 8061 remains on site in a bricked-up shed. But there is no sign of JS8408, the other locomotive once used here.

(Peter Haworth)

Steam News (19th April 2016)

Fuxin - Steam to end in June?

Many visitors to Fuxin will be familiar with the local 'fixer', Mr Gu. He has recently told Felix Sun and Liu Xuejun (Jun) that as a result of a number of mine closures in the area, 7 of Fuxin's diesels are being returned from service elsewhere. The decision has therefore been taken to upgrade the line to Wulong tip to allow the DF5Ds to use it. Once this work has been completed, expected to be as soon as June, all steam working at Fuxin will cease.

(Peter Haworth and Roger Croston)

New Reports (13th April 2016)

Ameling Algra has sent an illustrated report of two visits he made in December and February to Sandaoling and a report of a visit to Sandaoling, Shibanxi, Jiutai, Fuxin and Pingzhuang by John King in February and March has also been added.

Steamed dumplings at Sandaoling (31st March 2016)

JS8197 was waiting for the road into the loading point on Feb 25th when the fireman nipped out of the cab to see if lunch was ready; steamed dumplings cooking away on the side of the boiler. The Chinese version of egg and bacon on the shovel


(Ian Hopkins)

Steam News (27th March 2016)

Xifeng, Guizhou

Further to the news reports of 28 October and 17 September 2015, below, the third SY at this site has now been identified as no 3001, previously reported at Dongtonghua Steelworks and reportedly destined for sale to the USA. The regular working loco is SY0434 while SY1169 is also apparently in working order. A short video of SY0434 moving up and down the yard, 'Southern China's most empress-like of steam locomotives' can be seen on youku. Judging from the film, the loco may have been active specifically for the benefit of visiting enthusiasts.

(Raicho Yang via Duncan Cotterill)

New Reports (23rd March 2016)

John Raby has just his concluded his latest group tour, to Fuxin, Fushun, Jiutai, Sandaoling and Shibanxi in February and March. His report can be accessed here. Harada Keisuke has posted two reports of his visits in March to North East China. The first covers Jiutai, Diaobingshan, Fushun, Tianjin and Pingzhuang and the second Fuxin. These are in Japanese and include several photographs. A shortened, English version of both reports, without the photographs, has therefore been added as report 674.

17th March 2016


Operations re-started here on 10 March after an extended break for the Spring Festival holiday. SY1134 has been returned to service, replacing 1546 as the regular working loco.

Photo by Liu Xuejun

(Liu Xuejun)

New Reports (7th March 2016)

Reports of visits in February by Ian Hopkins to Fuxin, Pingzhuang and Sandaoling and by Michael Reilly in February-March to Fuxin, Fushun, Jiutai, Dahuichang and Tianjin have been added.

Steam News (9th February 2016)

I was in China with a friend from 16/01 to 31/01. We went to Fuxin on 17-18-19/01 : trains run to Wulong normally. 7 SY in service : 1195/1318/1320/1378/1397/1460/1818. On 21/01, we tried to see SY at Fushun, but we don’t find it. Electric engines were very interesting. Then, go to Shibanxi from 25/01 to 27/01. Three regular passengers each day (7.00 , 12.00 and 16.30) and two tourist trains (10.40 and 14.00). In service 3 C2 engines each day (n°10/16/18 on 25 and 26/01 ; n°10/17/18 on 27/01). The engines were in poor condition and the last day n°17 had injector problem and n°18 cylinder failure, so in the afternoon engine n°10 ran all trains with delays.

(Olivier Foiche)

12th January 2016

Chinese Visa Fees

From 11 January the Chinese embassy in London increased the visa fee for UK passport holders to £85. A mandatory " service charge" of at least £66 is also levied, making the actual cost £151 or more, over twice the cost of a UK passport. In theory tourist visas are now valid for multiple entries over two years but the extra cost is still likely to be a deterrent to many. As the Chinese government charges the same fees foreign governments charge Chinese passport holders for their visas, this reflects the cost of a UK visa for foreign visitors. Non-UK passport holders may find visas are less expensive.

31st December 2015

Steam Festivals

The year-end JiTong steam festival was held earlier this week with QJs 7038 and 7119 both in action. No further details but one observer described the occasion as "not good". The festival at Diaobingshan is scheduled to take place from 8 - 11 January, using SYs 1771 and 1772 only (no KD6).

( Liu Xuejun (Jun))

New Report (16th December 2015)

14th December 2015


A valedictory article about the Baiyin passenger service, Goodbye to China's last steam hauled green train has been posted on the Chinese TrainNets website/forum. The article is in Chinese but includes a 9 minute video of the train, filmed in snow and several accompanying photographs.

Shaoguan, Guangdong

SY0918 was recorded in service here in October 1999 on a line then referred to as the 'Shaping ore mine.' The loco remains stored/dumped in a shed at Dabaoshan, about 18 km south of Shaoguan but numbered as 'Dabaoshan No 1.' Also stored here is previously unrecorded SY1055.

Photo by Lei Mingtao

(John Athersuch)

Steam News (20th November 2015)

Baiyin - steam working now officially ended

All steam working at Baiyin has now officially finished. A ceremony to mark the occasion was held today at the depot. The shed manager has said that some locos will be maintained in working order and available for charter work for the time being. (Bernd Seiler hopes to have steam available for a Farrail visit on 10-11 December).

Photos courtesy of Felix Sun

(Felix Sun)


There have been no reports of working steam in Zhejiang province since 2006 and in later years all reports were of SYs at various industrial sites. But images on Google Earth suggest there are still ten, maybe more, JS dumped at the depot in Jinhua. The exact location is 29°06'00.62"N 119°37'59.99"E.

(Peter Haworth)


SY1141 which was previously here has been moved to Wuhan (no further details at present)

('Pocahontas' via Peter Haworth)

Steam News (16th November 2015)


Further to the 7th November news below, Baiyin has apparently taken delivery of four new diesels within the last week. Steam haulage of the passenger service has now ended although a steam loco is reportedly still marshalled at the end of the train to provide steam heating. Whether it remains on the train throughout the journey or only does this while the stock is stabled at Baiyin is not clear.

(Bernd Seiler)

7th November 2015

Chinese sources have reported that Baiyin is in the process of acquiring a further diesel locomotive which, once delivered, will mean the end of the winter steam passenger service. For anyone keen to experience this before it ends, or wanting to see Chinese steam generally, at least two tours are on offer this winter to see the best of what remains, primarily at Sandaoling and Fuxin in addition to Baiyin. The first, departing at the end of November, will be a FarRail Tour organised by Bernd Seiler. This will be followed in February/March by a tour organised by John Raby. Further details of both can be found from the links.

New Books on Chinese steam

Readily available accurate published information in English on Chinese railways remains surprisingly hard to come by. In a welcome attempt to remedy this, Robin Gibbons has just published a book, in English, on the JF1 and JS classes. Published in hardback to a high standard on good quality paper and lavishly illustrated, it provides a detailed record of the classes and their allocations over the years. It is intended to be the first of a series on Chinese steam and is highly recommended. Further details can be found here. Robin also collaborated extensively with John Athersuch on the latter's recently published book on Narrow Gauge Railways of China - Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces (Link broken by December 2021, I suggest checking the Locomotives International website. RD) which offers an illustrated introduction to the lines in those provinces based primarily on John's personal travels in the area in the 1980s. Again, it provides much valuable and interesting information not otherwise readily available.

Another new steam line? (30th October 2015)

Chinese enthusiasts have just posted on the Ourrail website information about what is reported to be the last narrow gauge line in Henan province. Located at Chaoyanggoucun, Dayezhen in Dengfeng, it is not clear whether this is the Xinzheng local railway listed in the IRS publication, the line listed in the Quail Railway Atlas of China as just south of route 20M or a separate system. Although diesel locos are reported to be used for regular work, a C2 has recently been restored to working order. There are conflicting reports as to whether this will see regular use, or only for standby and tourist operations. Photos on Ourrail also show a number of dumped C2s.

Photos courtesy of Felix Sun

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)

Steam News (28th October 2015)

Xifeng, Guizhou

More details of this site have been supplied by Chinese enthusiasts. The factory is the Xiyang phosphate fertilizer plant, which is near the highway between Xifeng and Wenquan. Steam was still active here at the beginning of October but reportedly only for shunting inside the factory, with trip working to/from CNR by a diesel. The security guards are also said to be unfriendly to visitors, making photography difficult.


Filming of a new Jackie Chan movie called Rail Road Tigers started on 19 October and is due to last for about a month. SYs 1771 and 1772 will be working. This movie is about a story of the Chinese rail workers in WW2. Clearly Chinese government desire for WW2 films continues unabated (M.R)


A Chinese enthusiast visiting over the National Day holiday period (1-7 October) reported 10 JS working, 5 for Dongboli and 5 for Nanzhan. Overhauls and maintenance continue in the workshops but all steam passenger services ceased in August .


Restoration to working order of loco no 18, the C2 bought from Pengzhou, has now been completed.The tourist carriages are being re-painted in the same green as the carriages for locals.

(all, Felix Sun via John Athersuch and Jun via John Raby)


An article on the internet (Link broken by December 2021) (in Chinese) published in March suggests that steam is likely to remain in use at Jiutai for another 4-5 years

(Robin Gibbons via John Athersuch)

New Report (11th October 2015)

Peter Haworth's full report on his September trip to Jiutai, Hengdaohezi,Harbin, Tumen, Fushun, Fuxin, Luopoling and Dahuichang in September has now been posted online.

Steam News (5th October 2015)


Further to the news report of 15th May below, a visitor last month has confirmed that the two C2 0-8-0s are still present on site in a locked shed. The whole area was described as very overgrown and deserted.

( Peter Haworth)

Steam News (17th September 2015)

Xifeng, Guizhou

"This line maybe no foreign visitor visited before. This line is in Xifeng, Guiyang in Guizhou province, it belongs to Yunyang phosphate fertilizer plant, this line has 3 SYs and it is reported that at least 1 SY was in steam in August 2015. Maybe it is the last standard gauge steam line in southwest China." Thought to belong to the Guizhou Kailin Group, which runs a large phosphate fertiliser plant at Jinzongzhen, west of Kaiyang in Xifeng county and from where a connection appears to run to CNR metals north of Xifeng town. But confirmation or more information will be very welcome (M.R)

Pingzhuang area (June 2015)

Pingzhuang: Only SY1425 in steam as a stand-by locomotive for two diesels. SY1025, SY1441 and SY1764 cold in shed. YuanBaoshan: JS8249 and JS8250 cold in shed. Hongmiao: No steam seen working here. But seen them cold in shed, locomotives' numbers unknown.

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)


One SY continues to operate here, including occasional line working between station and mine (previous reports said operations were confined to shunting work).


Latest news is that just one SY is now in use daily

Jalainur, Yaojie, Fula'erji

Steam at all three sites is reported to have finished, at Jalainur in April and Yaojie in August

(Jun via John Athersuch)

Travel News (17th September)

The latest extension to China's high-speed network has made travelling to Shibanxi easier. High speed trains now serve both Chengdu Shuangliu airport and Leshan, from where there are regular buses to Qianwei for Shibanxi. Frequency is about one every ninety minutes and the journey takes between 40 min to 1 hr. It also serves Chengdu.

(Andrew Benton)

Steam News (24 June 2015)


Full details of the steam tourist train running over part of the JiTong line this summer are now available.

The train will run from Xilinhot to BaiyinHua in Inner Mongolia using two QJ's. One of these QJ7119 has just been overhauled. The tourist train will run from July 1 to August 30th. The steam locomotives will only be used for 56km of the trip from Xilinhot to a town called Tabuduge (and return), the remainder will be behind diesel. The train will run a three day schedule, from Xilinhot to Baiyinhua on day 1, stay in Baiyinhua (with the diesel) for one day, then from Baiyinhua back to Xilinhot on the next day, picking up the steam at Tabuduge.

The full schedule is:

Day 1:

Depart Xilinhot at 15:00.

Arrive at Halabaoleng Bridge (46km from Xilinhot) at 16:00, depart the Bridge at 17:30.

Arrive at Tabuduge (56 km from Xilinhot) at 17:45 and switch to diesel. Depart Tabuduge at 18:20

Arrive at West Ujimqin Banner Station at 20:30, depart at 21:30

Arrive at Baiyinhua South Station at 23:00. The tourists will sleep on the train.

Day 2:

The train will be stabled at Baiyinhua South Station all day while the tourists will sightsee around Baiyinhua.

Day 3:

Depart Baiyinhua South Station at 04:00

Arrive Tabuduge at 07:00, depart behind steam at 07:50

Arrive at Halabaoleng Bridge at 08:05, and depart the Bridge at 09:30.

Arrive at Xilinhot at 10:30

The next series of tourist train will depart at 15:00 the same day.

The first train will depart Xilinhot on July 1st.

( Heg Xi Ten via Ben Kletzer)

New Report (19th June 2015)

A new report from Roger Croston on a visit to Baiyin, Sandaoling, Fushun, Fuxin and Pingzhuang from 28 February - 13 March. Updated 10 July 2015 to incorporate photos from Ralph Montagu.

Travel News

Air China has currently suspended its daily flight between Beijing and Hami (for Sandaoling). According to its timetable, they are scheduled to resume from late October

Steam News (6 June 2015)


Latest information about the steam tourist train on the JiTong line is that it will run between 1 July and 15 August, hauled by two QJs. Test running is planned from 20 June between Linxi and Daba.

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)

Steam News (15th May 2015)


This 762mm gauge line in the Beijing suburbs closed in 2005. But a December 2013 visitor found 2 of the line's C2 0-8-0s still present, locked in a shed and some of the track still intact.

( Paul Molyneux-Berry)


The JiTong railway plan to run a steam train for tourists on 10 June using two QJs, one of which has recently been restored at Daban. If successful it may become a regular event.

( LiuXuejun (Jun))

Yaojie (Tiehejinchang Railway)

SY1321 was again seen in use on 24/4/2015 (see below)

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)


On 28 April a report on the website of the group that owns the coal mines suggested that the issues between the current and former owners of the mines have been resolved but said that a decision is awaited from the Sichuan branch of the State Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission as to whether or not the mines will re-open. Other mines within the group are heavily loss-making. See http://www.scgwjt.com/Article.asp?id=14784

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)

Steam News (18th April 2015)


Finally my contact managed to obtain info on Beitai, albeit as expected not good: "I've got confirmation today that no steam runs at Beitai now. I am sorry.“

(Peter Semmelroch)

Yaojie (Tiehejinchang Railway)

SY1321 was in use on 4/4/2015 at the Liancheng Aluminium Smelter

( Jiang Yifan ('Pocahontas') via Peter Semmelroch)

New Report (17th April 2015)

A brief report from Peter Maynard on a visit to Fuxin on 11- 13 April

Steam News (12th April 2015)


Huanan is said still to have two serviceable C2, which should be available for charter. No progress or success in establishing a regular tourist railway service but the line is still in place as far as Lixin.

(Peter Semmelroch)

Steam News (1st April 2015)


'Yesterday I talked to the railway manager of Rongshan and he confirmed with me that no way to re-open in May and nobody can tell when, though a lot of talks on internet is saying it will be open soon and it´s empty talk.'


'I have talked to Xinglongzhen and the railway tracks there need investment in renovation so no steam will run this year.'

(Peter Semmelroch)

Sandaoling and Shibanxi (28th March 2015)

A report from Sandro Vigato on a visit earlier this month

Steam News (24th March 2015)

(amended and updated from the earlier version posted on 16th March to take account of more recent information on Rongshan).

Dongtonghua Steelworks

'A worker of the company told my friend that the steam was broken and stopped in end of 2014 and they have no plan to repair it.'

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)


SY1407 in steam at Jiutai colliery on 9 March 2015.

Photo by Dong Jing Qi, courtesy of Jun


Conflicting reports have been received about the situation here. On the one hand, Felix Sun has said that according to news reports the line will reopen once unresolved issues between the current and former owners can be settled. But a contact of Peter Semmelroch's was told by the Rongshan railway manager that there is no information as to when or if the railway might reopen. Most railway workers have already left and with only 3 or 4 still remaining, even the operation of charter or tourist trains is difficult.

New Reports (March 21st 2015)

Steam News (8th March 2015)

Jiutai, Jilin Province

A Chinese railfan has posted photos on weibo of SY1407 in steam at Yingcheng Colliery, Jiutai, 51km NE of Changchun in Jilin Province.

The last report about this location was from David Thomas in June 2012 when the system was reported to be out of use. The photos can be seen at http://www.weibo.com/xuedache although you may need to be a registered weibo user to access them. One of the photos also appears to show the outline of an SY under a blue tarpaulin. If so, this is presumably SY0515, the other loco reported there.

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)

New Reports (March 8th 2015)

Steam News (2nd March 2015)


SY1047 and SY1581 in steam, SY1047 for the passenger trains and SY1581 for shunting and freight trains (seen at Sanyelian on Feb 28th). But the driver told us that the passenger trains will change to diesel from March 15th and they plan to use diesel for passenger train in next winter.

{John Raby is currently in Baiyin and has reported that the steam passenger service will end on 5th March, not 15th. MR}


SY1094 and SY1321 in steam, but only SY1094 for daily work and SY1321 was as the heating boiler for the engine shed. The work plan for steam may change everyday, so the steam may go to Tiehejinchang, Yaojie and Lvchang or have no work to do for whole day. The driver told us that they plan buy new diesels to replace all the steam in April, 2015.


Shibanxi: The passenger train for the local people were still running in the working days of every week, the time table of steam trains of Shibanxi is:

Trains for local people: 7:00 17:00 from Shixi

Trains for tourists: 9:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 (For weekends 8:00 16:00 17:00 added) from Sanjin.

The steam freight trains were all stopped.

(Felix Sun via John Athersuch)


A link has been added to Ichiro Junpu's website of 600mm, 762mm and 900m ng railways, Narrow Gauge Railways in China

Sandaoling, Pingzhuang (27th February 2015)

A report from Ben Kletzer on recent visits to Sandaoling and Pingzhuang

New Reports (February 14th 2015)

Reports from Peter Haworth (Rongshan, Pingzhuang, Jalainur, Fuxin, Fushun and Sandaoling) and John Raby (Honglu, Shibanxi, Rongshan, Sandaoling and Baiyin) both from November 2014 have been added

Pingzhuang and Yuanbaoshan (12th February 2015)

Currently 2 SYs are in use at Pingzhuang as the DF4s continue to give problems. Trip working to/from the CNR exchange sidings at Pingzhuang Nan is always by a DF4 unless both are out of action. JS8250 is still in service at Yuanbaoshan on coal trains, the passenger service having been suspended.

(Jun via John Raby)

Yuanbaoshan (19th January 2015)

JS8250 has returned to service following its collision with a road truck in October which badly damaged its tender. Currently it is being used on coal trains only, not the passenger service.

(Chinese guide Jun via John Athersuch)

New photos (12th February 2015)

The report linked below seems to have disappeared. RD

Roger Croston (../trains/Roger Croston 2014.htm) has recently sent photographs from his visit to Sandaoling, Pingzhuang and Fuxin in March 2014. As these relate to the 2013/4 season, they have been added to that season's list of reports. 

Wujiu and Fula'erji (15th January 2015)

Chinese guide Jun reports that one JS continues to be steamed daily at one of the Fula'erji power plants (presumably no 2) but sees little action and an SY is also steamed at Wujiu/Yakeshi but only when the diesel is in use (so presumably as a stand-by). At the beginning of October 2014 this was no 1546

YouTube Videos  (8th January 2015)

John Raby writes

During my last China tour in November 2014, I was fortunate to see the last trains at Rongshan (until now - it’s still not clear if there will be more trains) and test runs of two steam-hauled coal trains on the new line at Sandaoling from Nanzhan - Shadunzi. It appears that the railway management there has decided that regular trains will be diesel hauled so unless a steam-hauled workers passenger is introduced, the use of steam on this line will be rare and may not include long coal trains.

I’ve placed 3 videos on YouTube:


This 11 minute video shows the last train at Rongshan (so far) on 13 November and is of our charter train with C2 219 from Rongshan to Yujiabian.


This 11 minute video shows the last real train (so far) on 9 November with C2 219 and a short train of bricks and sand (to seal up the mine at Yujiabian?)


This 9 minute video shows the two steam-hauled coal trains we managed to see on 19 and 22 November. On 19 November, we saw a tender-first train of fulls climbing out of Xibolizhan towards Nanzhan and on 22 November, a train of empties climbs from Nanzhan towards Shandunzi and is seen at the new loop between Nanzhan and Xibolizhan.

Sandaoling (6th January 2015)

A report from Dave Habraken on a visit over Christmas / New Year 2014/5

Steam News (5th January 2015)


Reported to currently have three locomotives in steam.

(Jun's friend Alan)

Steam News (4th January 2015)


This site is confirmed dead from at least July 2014, see https://www.flickr.com/photos/67113136@N02/14731282055

Steam News (3rd January 2015)


The passenger train has stopped to run. It has been replaced by buses now. Whether this is permanent or over the New Years Holidays only, is not known though, but we fear it is permanent. No info from Pingzhuang, which means it is probably 100% dieselised at the moment.


Wangying Mine is still closed after the accident that happened there weeks ago. As a result traffic and steam traffic levels are low. Over the last few days the following SYs have been reported in steam: 1319, 1320, 1359, 1378, 1395 and 1396.

(Peter Semmelroch)

New Report (August 29th 2014)

New Report (August 26th 2014)

Steam News (August 18th 2014)

Peter Semmelroch just got the info from a Chinese railfan, that US based Valley Railroad (Connecticut) which already operates ex. Knox Kane & Kinzua Railroad SY 1658m as ?3025? nowadays, has purchased another SY in China. It is SY 1385 from Jinzhou Heavy Machinery Factory (the Jinzhou near Dalian, not the Jinzhou near Nanpiao).

At the moment they seem to be looking for a place in China where 1385 can be fully overhauled according to US Standards. Aw Sujiatun was suggested but they have already sold many of the machines necessary to overhaul steam (For the recent cosmetic overhaul of JF886 the wheels had to be sent away for example). Now besides Sujiatun, Fuxin and Tiefa are considered as possible options.

There would then be 3 SYs in the US.
Besides SY1658m at Valley Railroad, there is SY1647m at New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway (?142?).
SY 1647m was originally also owned by Valley Railroad, but sold to New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway after a SY that had been bought by them went down in the Indian Ocean. This SY was said to be numbered 1698m.

New Report (July 12th 2014)

Steam News (July 2nd 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)

John Raby has just heard from Chinese steam guide Jun who organises his China Tours that 2 C2 locos are now in daily use at Rongshan to move coal from the mine with 2-3 return trains operating per day. The passenger service has not yet resumed but a caboose is attached to the coal trains for the miners' transport. The passenger trains are still planned to restart but no dates are available for that. The 2 locos top and tail the coal trains.

New Report (June 28th 2014)

Steam News (May 19th 2014)


I visited YuanBaoShan on May 18. The steam is back in action there, JS 8418 is in steam and working the passenger train. The JS 8250 is broken, it will be repaired and run soon.
The driver said the steam may run about half a year, hopefully to winter. Please refer to the photo I took: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pangdae/14032028238/.

(Pang Dawei)

New Report (May 16th 2014)

New Report (May 10th 2014)

Steam News (May 9th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)

Guangyuan Tourist office called on May 7th (11.30 local time). Regular operations have re-started on the Rongshan line as of May 7th, currently one round trip daily, serving the mines but with passenger accommodation attached. Previous arrangements for prospective travellers on the trains remain: a permit is required in advance from the tourist office.

Prospective visitors should bear in mind:
(i) there has been another knife attack at a railway station this week, the 3rd such incident in recent weeks.
(ii) 4 June is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
For both these reasons security is tight at present and this may affect or delay the granting of visas.

(Michael Reilly)

Steam News (April 18th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)

Trains have re-started. However, at present they are running only as required to take equipment to the mines in preparation for them resuming production. The mines, and regular trains, are now expected to re-start from the end of June.

(Michael Reilly)

New Reports (April 17th 2014)

Steam News (April 4th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan) - Landslip in cutting

News from Rongshan, courtesy of Wang ZeZhou:

"We've got the news of Rongshan:
Firstly it's sad to find that the locos haven't restarted. Previous plan of restarting on April 1st was delayed for severe collapse, which is caused by road construction of local.
They told me that the train will restart in a month, no early than the clean of the collapse. That's all what we get."

(Peter Semmelroch)

New Report (March 30th 2014)

Steam News (March 26th 2014)

Pingzhuang: Pang Dawei visited on 22 March and I was there on 25th. The position was the same on both days - 2 SYs in steam but only one working and confined to short trip working at the north end of the line, from Gushan Yijing and beyond. On 22nd this was 1441, with 1025 in steam but idle at the Zhuangmei servicing point, on 25th the roles were reversed. All trip working from Pingzhuang Nan at least as far as Zhuangmei, is now in the hands of a DF4. On 25th this was a very careworn looking DF4 6087, with several rust patches on its sides. DF4 1525 was locked inside a shed at Zhuangmei. The gate to the depot was once again locked but so far as I could tell from peering over the wall, all the previously dumped locos there, last reported in November and which I saw on a December visit, have been removed. All the lines into the opencast mine have also been lifted although the main connection remains and, to judge from the rails, had seen movements over it recently. Traffic was the lowest I have ever seen it (and I intentionally visited on a weekday, not a weekend) - if this level is sustained, two diesels should be more than sufficient to handle requirements. Although steam is still officially set to last until May, beyond the end of this month this is unlikely to be anything more than one loco in steam on standby.

February 7 (2.7) rolling stock works, Beijing: Andrew Benton and I visited the rolling stock works on 22 March. JF2446 and SY0891 are still there and superficially at least in remarkably good condition for having being dumped for at least seven years. Photography was all but impossible as they were surrounded by brand new high capacity coal wagons, part of a large contract the works is currently fulfilling.

(Michael Reilly)

New Reports (March 24th 2014)

New Report (March 21st 2014)

After reading Peter Crush's report on Kailuan Coal Mining Administration, Tangshan, I was reminded of my visit in October 2005. So I searched for and found the notes I took and then found the few slides I took for possible scanning and this report is the result.

I would appreciate further reports of this type. Get out your notebooks and slides! Many of the reports sent to QJ-Country were without pictures, those sent to Rob Dickinson and now on his china.internationalsteam.co.uk site have lost their pictures. Let's have a reminder of how it was when there so many more locations to visit.

China visas (March 21st 2014)

John Raby comments:

An Indian participant was able to obtain a visa specifically for Urumqi - Hami - Urumqi even after the knife attack.

A British applicant probably got his just before the knife attack without any problems.

All other participants had no problems except a Dutchman who needed extra paperwork from Xinjiang to obtain his visa.

With Jun as guide and organiser, my participants use a detailed itinerary including planned hotels en route on official company letterhead (Chinese company based in Chengde) instead of every hotel reservation for the trip to obtain a visa. This worked fine except in the case of the Dutch applicant where it took a long time as they were insisting on hotel bookings for the application.

The itinerary paperwork was eventually accepted in lieu of every hotel reservation but with the extra Xinjiang paper with a red stamp required as well. Jun (and his colleague Alan) do not seem to have a problem providing this extra paper if requested.

China visas (March 20th 2014)

David Thomas writes:
Two weeks ago the London Chinese Visa Application Service advised that a tourist visa would not be issued to cover Kashgar and area, saying that was because it is in Xinjiang Province. This was after the knife attack at Kunming station on March 1st. Potentially such a ban, which might only be temporary, would include Hami/Sandaoling. Perhaps others going there can advise of the situation?

New Report (March 19th 2014)

New Reports (March 9th 2014)

Steam News (February 28th 2014)

In Baiyin at the moment with Jun. Passenger trains still steam however first passenger train into the valley has been banked both mornings, obviously engines not working as hard as normal. Yesterday train engine was engine first, today tender first. Weather overcast and clear at times. Engines SYs 1581 and 1470 in use, SY 1047 sitting in the shed, loco in steam with fire banked.

(Peter Haynes, Steam_in_China 11448)

New Report (February 23rd 2014)

Steam News (February 23rd 2014)

Trevor Maxted is in China and has sent a quick update.

Pingzhuang 100% SY, no sign of any diesels with three loco's in service.

Fuxin still much as previous reports with around 7 SYs in action.

Tiefa (Diaobingshan), the news from here is that the Faku line passenger trains will finish soon, first date suggested will be 28/02 but this is dependant on the delivery of 5-6 large new buses that may not arrive in time. As the Daqing service has already finished, that will be the end of passenger trains on the Tiefa system.
One SY will still be steamed daily at Tiefa, usually 1770 or 1772, for shunting etc. to keep crew traction knowledge.

A report of his trip will follow.

Steam News (February 18th 2014)


I visited SanDaoLing during 4/2/2014-11/2/2014, XiBoLiZhan is running from Feb 7th. Some status and information are following:

The opencast only remains with 3 lines for stripping (1 electric shovel and 1 railway). The dump lines 801,2,3,4 can work, the line 5 is disabled for building the new line.
XiBoLiZhan provides 6 trains for stripping and dumping work.
This may be the last winter of XiBoLiZhan and most JS for stripping/dumping work, which may stop work about June 2014.

When building railway from NanZhan(南站)/DongBoLiZhan(东剥离站) to ShaDun(沙墩) is completed, there are about 5 JS working for coal transporting. According to the current information, the new railway from DongBoLiZhan to XiBoLiZhan is similar to the line which the workmens' commuting train uses, the railway from XiBoLiZhan to ShaDun will extend the dump line 5 to the west. XiBoLiZhan may be out of use by that time.

The old coal railway from MeiCang(煤仓) to XuanMeiChang(选煤厂) via 82station/KengKou (82站/坑口) is kept, there are about 4-5 JS used.

There are no changes of information about NanZhan so far.

Currently, there are 23 JS working at SanDaoling, but in the next winter (Nov 2014 ~ Feb 2015), there will be only about 10-12 JS, very sad!

My recent photos about SanDaoLing have been uploaded to my SanDaoLing flickr set.

SanDaoLing is the last place which have many running JS in China, I like it very much!

(Pang Dawei)

Steam News (February 16th 2014)

Guangyuan (Rongshan)
Bernd Seiler has cancelled his March trip to Rongshan because the coal mine will not re-open before May 1st.

(Ameling Algra, Steam_in_China 11446)

New Report (February 10th 2014)

New Reports (January 18th 2014)

Steam News (January 12th 2014)


Just returned from Sandaoling, spoil trains at Xibolizhan ceased temporarily after December 28, 2013, not to restart until February 6th, 2014.
Ex-loco driver told me it was due to water supply problem. Tongqin che (commuter train) still running, albeit with few workers.
All told, 7 locos running on East end of Sandaoling coal mine, four trainsets hauling coal continuously. We exchanged notes with Japanese photographers when going down at 6:30 pm one evening, and they said that they saw 12 trains between 9 am and 6 pm.

There are also the four locos running at Nanzhan working to the deep mines.

(Ronald Olsen, Steam_in_China 11443)

Steam News (January 5th 2014)

Surprising steam news from Gansu:

Recently pictures appeared on the internet showing SY 1097 and SY 1321 in use (December 13-15, 2013) in Liancheng Yard (aluminium smelter) as well as on the lines around it. Also Yaojie station is still infrequently reached by the SYs.
The railway is called Tiehejinchang Railway on SY-Country from Florian Menius's report of March 2005 and Nanlingcheng (Liancheng) Railway on Duncan Cotterill's Railography listings.
Most recent steam news from there was from January 2010 with SY 0150 in use.
It was thought to be completely dieselised, but obviously is not.

(Peter Semmelroch, Steam_in_China 11440)

The pictures can be found in the flickr gallery of Yifan Jiang (Pocahontas?), on page 2 of his Chinese Steam 2013 set.

Previous News (Jan 2009-Dec 2013)

Return to the Content Page

© 2005, F.Menius, 2007 Dave Fielding, 2014, Trustees of SY-Country: email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk