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Steam in China, October 1999

Stephan Menius reports on the INTRA-EXPRESS tour to Northern China 1999. Main stops on our round journey were Baotou, Benhong, JingPeng, Anshan, Fushun and Tangshan. The tour was guided by Mr. Zhang from CITS, Changchun.


Beijing Capital Iron & Steel Works : Four steams engines left.
Baotou suburbans : T 941 and 943 (both anticlockwise) still JS. Rumourssaid, that also a clockwise train is still JS hauled, but it was not observed.
Shiguai branch : Still 100 % JS
Dongsheng : no electrification ; all Aobaogou trains triple QJ
Benhong : JiTong line`s western turning point
Jing Peng, Anshan : normal
Shenyang : hardly any CNR steam
Fushun, Tangshan : industrial SY operations

Notation :

In this report, train numbers without letters are used for freight. Passenger trains have the letter "T " in front of the number. Freight numbers mentioned below were told us by railway employees or noted from the station`s train list.

Tour Details :

Sunday 17 October

Arrival Beijing Capital Airport with Air China flight CA 932 from Frankfurt around noon. Then by bus to the forbidden city. It was closed due to the preparations for the "Musikantenstadel", a festival offering traditional music from Germany, Austria und Switzerland (!).

Monday 18 October

Beijing Capital Iron & Steel Works

In the morning, we visited the Capital Iron & Steel Works southof Beijing. Two SY ( 0610 and 0726 ) were seen under steam with 0908 cold and in bad condition hidden behind some wagons. SY 0610 was in very good condition and seemed to have been overhauled recently. Immediately after our arrival, SY 0726 left the yard and did not appear again. Next to thedepot, 0-6-0Ts  XK13  115 and 131 were dumped.XK13  115 seemed to be complete, whereas XK13 131 was not so.  Staff claimed, that only four steam engines are still serviceable and in use (two of them SY 0726 and 0610). Several class GKand V1003 diesels were present. Steam is used quite seldom, diesels dominate.

Locos :
  SY   0610 , 0726 , 0908 (dumped) 
  XK 13   115 , 131

Around noon, we left for Dahuichang Limestone Works.

There is both a standard gauge and a narrow gauge operation.

*  standard gauge :  no locomotives under steam. SY 0251 and YJ 287 cold next to the shed.
narrow gauge :
#2 and #4 were steamed and waited for work. Work should not start before 16:00 on this Monday.

#1 and #3 were stored next to the shop, but seemed to be useable.

#01, the fifth locomotive, was dismantled.

Around 15:30 (before line work started), we had to leave Dahuichangfor Beijing Xi station, to get our train to Baotou. We took train 177,departure 16:47 Beijing Xi and DF 4 hauled.

Tuesday 19 October

Arrival Baotou Dong 05:46 in morning. Into the dark, we saw
 T 941  JS 8237  06:30  loop passenger (anticlockwise) 
 T 803 JS 8009 06:53 passenger to Shiguai

both leaving Baotou Dong station. Sunrise about 7:00 o´clock.

T 931 (clockwise) had no steam.

BaoShen Line

After breakfast transfer by bus to Shabazi/ Singing Sands. Spent the day linesiding there. Staff at Shabazi told us the train numbers and timings of the trains.

There is a new tourist train 205/ 206 from Hohot to Dongsheng. The trainconsists of 11 blue and white livered wagons and is QJ hauled between Baotouand Dongsheng, of course. The trains are going via Baotou main station, passing and stopping at Baotou Dong station on their way between Baotouand Hohot.
 T 205    T 206 
 08:00   Hohot 19:07
 09:52   Baotou Dong  17:31
 10:09   Baotou 17:03
 10:30   Baotou 16:47
 11:24   Shabazi 15:55
 12:20   Dongsheng 14:57

Most freights are numbered in the 30xx range between Dongsheng and Baotou,in the 31xx  range south of Dongsheng.

Sightings :
 T 851  QJ 2670  09:10  sb  
 3020 QJ 6194  09:30 nb 
 T 205 QJ 6711 11:20 sb 
 3022 QJ  ? 13:00 nb 
 3019 QJ  ? 13:40 sb 
 3024 QJ 6348 15:20 nb 
 T 206 QJ 2670 16:00 nb 
 3023 QJ 6287 16:30 sb including some oil tankers 
 T 852 QJ 1611 17:15 nb 

Sunset around 17:30. Transfer to Dongsheng.

Wednesday 20 October

Spent the day around Aobaogou. Until afternoon, we saw three uphill trains, all double headed with banker. Downhill trains were all doubleheaded.
Around Aobaogou, new telephone poles are being installed. They are installed parallel to the railway line in distance of at least 10 to 20metres to the line. The poles do not follow the curves of the railway line and also go up and down through the valleys (not over the viaduct). So, there is in fact only one point next to Aobaogou, where the poles spoil the photo spot. At moment of our visit, the telephone cables were stillmissing, only the (concrete made) masts were erected.

Sightings :
 T 855  QJ  ? 06:50  sb 
 Single loco  QJ  ? 07:10 sb
 3127 QJ 6289 + QJ  ?  09:00 sb
 3114 QJ 7044 + 3068 + 2977  09:15  nb 
 Single loco QJ 6247 10:00 sb
 T 851 QJ 6248 10:45 sb
 4378 QJ 6249 + 2670 + 6247 11:20 nb
 3129 QJ 6711 + 7044 12:15 sb
 3134 QJ 6289 + 6194 + 2977 14:45 nb

After that, we visited Dongsheng shed. Dongsheng shed is situated atBaotou end of Dongsheng station. Staff there told us, that two furtherQJs were bought recently (maybe 6193 and 2938, which are not mentionedin earlier reports). Staff also confirmed, that are no plans to changethe operation into electric power. According to the staff, it is much morelikely to buy new diesels, but there are as well no plans to buy new diesels.Instead of new diesels, they prefer buying QJs until now.

Locos seen in Dongsheng shed :

under steam : QJ 6348 (4 axle tender), 6287, 6194, 6289, 6248
under repair : QJ 6018, 6193, 6014, 1891 (high deflectors), 2938 (nextto the workshop)
dumped       : QJ 6040

Furthermore, there were two steam cranes. One of them was used for coalingthe locos.

QJ 2670 (and at least another QJ) were sitting into the station thewhole time of our visit. QJ 2670 later headed passenger 852 to Baotou.

All locos noted during the 2 days :

QJ : 1611, 1891, 2670, 2977, 2938, 3068, 6014, 6018, 6040, 6193, 6194,6247, 6248, 6249, 6287, 6289, 6348, 6711, 7044

In the evening , bus ride back to Baotou.

In Baotou Dong, the evening loop train T 943 (anticlockwise) and T 806from Shiguai arrived behind JS.
So at least T 941 and T 943 (both anticlockwise) are obviously stillsteam hauled.

Thursday 21 October

In the darkness of the morning :
 T 941  JS 8278 ( ? )  06 :30  loop passenger (anticlockwise) 
 T 803 JS 8322 06:53 passenger to Shiguai

JS 8324 was shunting in Baotou Dong.

Shiguai branch

After breakfast by bus to Houba. All trains on the Shiguai line arestill JS.
 T 804  JS 8322  10:00  passenger to Baotou 
 4437 JS 8009 13:40 freight, empty, to Shiguai 
 4438 JS 8009 + 8325  16:30  freight, loaded, to Baotou 

After that, back to Baotou Dong.
 T 805  JS 8322  18:25  passenger to Shiguai 

CNR-locos at Baotou (all JS) : 8009, 8278 (?), 8322, 8324, 8325, 8327

In the evening, we took pasenger 564, departure 19:54 from Baotou Dongto Jining Nan.  Arrival Jining Nan 00:32.

Friday 22 October

The next morning, we visited Benhong.  Benhong is loco changingstation at the Jining end of the JiTong line. At Benhong, the JiTong leavesthe CNR Jining Nan-Erlian -(Ulan Bator) line. Trains from the east (fromJingPeng/ Baichi) arrive behind steam and are taken over by CNR diesels(DF 4) here. Benhong is situated into a restricted military area. Normally,there is no access for foreigners. Our group was one of the first westerngroups, who got permission to visit Benhong. At Benhong, we were only allowedto walk around into the area of the station and were guarded by 0some mititaryofficers.

Benhong is servicing point for the JiTong line`s QJs. Benhong seemsto have no own locos, but the visiting Baichi engines are serviced there.Benhong servicing area has no shed. There are only some service tracks(for coal and water supply) where waiting locos sit around and wait fortheir next train. The servicing station is situated south of the stationin direction to Jining. For turning the locos, there is a wye next to theservicing point. There were waiting locos into the station, too.

We arrived at Benhong station around 10:30 o´clock. QJ 6354 wassitting into the station (probably arrived from Baichi short time beforeour arrival), while QJ 3076 was shunting into the station. This enginehas a 4 axle tender and no deflectors (looks like huge JS) Then :
 T  712   QJ 6633  11:25  arrival with passenger from Tongliao   (DF 4 took over)

arrived behind supershine QJ 6633. After deprture of T 712, we wentto the servicing area :  QJ 6354, 6214 and 6633 (supershine) waitedthere. While being there, several DF 4 hauled passengers and freights onthe Jining- Erlian line passed by. Around 13:00 a QJ hauled freight leftfor Baichi/ Tongliao, while a second train was prepared for leaving towardsBaichi, too.

Then, we wanted to go to the servicing point again, but our mititaryguard became nervous. So, we were sent to the canteen to enjoy our takennoodle soap there. The reason seemed to be a large military train, whichpassed the station while we were eating. After that, we were allowed towalk across the station without restrictions again.

After our "meal", the second freight for Baichi had left the station,too. So, we walked to the servicing point. When we were at the servicingstation, QJ 6987 and QJ 6850 there (probably arrived from Baichi). .

Around 16:00, passenger T 711 (Jining Nan-Tongliao) arrived behind DF4and was taken over by QJ 6633. We took our places into the YW- coach. Atthe beginning of our jouney, we were not allowed to open the window (becauseof the restricted area, we guessed). Some kms away, we had no problemsto open the window ...  En route, we passed some freight. One of themwas hauled by QJ 7021.

Baichi engines, seen at/ near Benhong : QJ 3076 (no deflectors), 6214,6354, 6633 (supershine), 6850, 6987, 7021

Saturday 23 October


Around 08:00, we arrived at Daban behind QJ 7007. QJ 6631 took overT 711 and left for Chabuga. QJ 2645 (without deflectors) was waiting intothe station. Our bus took us to Daban shed. We were told, that at the moment,108 QJs belong to the JiTong line. It was said, that about 20 engines werebought recently.

Locos at Daban shed :
cold : QJ 1760, 2388, 6079, 6351
under steam : QJ 6301, 6576, 6577, 6735, 6878, 6884, 6992, 7002, 7007,7010
dumped : QJ 6632, 6630, 6027, 2706 (tender from 6876), 6050

Two steam cranes (numbered 5203 and 5212) were in use.
 10 :00  QJ 6878 + 6577  dep.  freight to Haoluku 

Then, we took our bus and went to a location about 5 kms west of Dabanstation. There are some quite nice cuttings into the hilly landscape.
 4161  QJ 7012 + 6925  ca. 12:00  to Daban
 5702  QJ 6735 + 6517  ca. 12:15  to Haoluku 

Then, we went to Pingdingmiao station. Pingdingmiao is the first stationfrom Daban in direction to Reshui. We took our noodle soap, while about40 inhabitants of the village watched us ... Pingdingmiao has semaphores,the landsape is still hilly and quite nice.
 5708  QJ 6876 + 6389  ca. 14:00  to Haoluku
 4157 QJ 6887 + 6996 ca. 15:00 to Daban

On our way to Reshui, at Wendouheshuo (the station between Pingdingmiaoand Linxi ), a QJ+QJ hauled to Daban passed.

Jing Peng

At Reshui, we saw 5708 again :
 5708  QJ 6876 + 6389  ca. 17:15  to Haoluku 

During the following 2 and a half days, the following number of trainsduring daylight were seen :
  to Haoluku 
   to Daban 
 Oct, 24 th 
 Oct, 25 th
 Oct, 26 th

At every morning, we asked at Reshui station for scheduled train operationfor the day.

Sunday  24 October

Action :

In the morning around 08:15, we saw a railcar near Reshui. It seemedto be used for track maintenace purposes.
 2820  QJ 7143 + 6375  to Haoluku  Reshui (2x), Shangdian 
 4137 QJ 6639 + 6687 to Daban Shangdian (Reshui side)
 4139 QJ 6638 + 6996 to Daban Shangdian (Jing Peng side)
 4112 QJ 6274 + ?? to Haoluku Shangdian (Jing Peng side)
 5044 QJ 6135 + 7041 to Haoluku Xiakengzi, single locos
 4141 QJ 7137 + 6110 to Daban Xiakengzi
 4102 QJ 6878 + 6577 to Haoluku Xiakengzi
 5046 QJ 6735 + 6517 to Haoluku Xiakengzi
 2818 QJ 6389 + 6870 to Daban Xiakengzi
 2829 QJ ?? + 7143 to Daban Xiakengzi, Shangdian

During the night, we heard several freights from our hotel.

Monday  25 October

The next morning, as ususal, we asked at Reshui station for trains :the station`s list showed more than 20 trains during night shift !!

Daylight trains (not bad, too, but compared to the night ... ) :
 ??? QJ 6878 + 6639  to Daban Reshui
 4116  QJ 6274 + 6358  to Haoluku  Reshui
 2825 QJ 6996 + 6760 to Daban Liudigou
 4108 QJ 6577 + 6135 to Haoluku  Liudigou 
 ??? QJ ? + 7041 to Daban Liudigou
 2837 QJ 6638 + 6351 to Daban Xiakengzi 
 4151 QJ 6763 + 7040 to Daban Xiakengzi
 ??? QJ + QJ to Haoluku Xiakengzi
 4125 QJ 7143 + 6375 to Daban Xiakengzi
 ??? QJ 6735 to Haoluku Xiakengzi
 ??? QJ + QJ to Daban Xiakengzi
 ??? QJ + QJ to Haoluku Xiakengzi

Tuesday 26 October

Trains :
 4020  QJ 7143 + 7040  to Haoluku  Reshui 
 ??? QJ 6389 + 7012 to Daban Luidigou
 4120 QJ 6517 + 6375 to Haoluku Liudigou
 4155 QJ 6687 + 6760 to Daban Liudigou
 2830 QJ 6274 + 7041 to Haoluku Liudigou
 2832 QJ 6135 + 6577 to Haoluku Liudigou
 2820 QJ 6351 + 6638 to Daban Reshui
 4122 QJ 6876 + 6925 to Haoluku Reshui

Around 14:00 we left Reshui by bus and drove to Linxi : 2820 had justleft. So we went on to Chifeng, where we took train T 210 (Chifeng-Dalian),departure 21:15.

Locos at Daban/ Jing Peng  (all QJ) :
QJ dumped 2706, 6027, 6050, 6630, 6632
QJ dumped (maybe useable) 1760, 2388, 6079
QJ under steam 2645, 6110, 6135, 6274, 6301, 6351, 6358, 6375, 6389, 6517,6576, 6577, 6631, 6638, 6639, 6687, 6735, 6760, 6763, 6876, 6878, 6884, 6925, 6992, 6998, 7002, 7007,7010, 7012, 7040, 7041, 7137, 7143

Wednesday 27 October

We arrived at Shenyang at 08:55. At Pindia near Fuxin, QJ 6708 was understeam (probably shunting). Huanggutun saw no steam engines but many, manyDF4, when we passed through.


The weather was very bad : it rained nonstop and it was very dark. AtShenyang, we boarded our bus and went to Sujiatun where we visited thesteam locomotive „museum“. The engines there are in very bad condition- and their condition is getting worse and worse ...

At the time of our arrival, JS 8050 left Sujiatun shed. It was due togo to Huanggutun for shunting. JS 8050 was the one and only CNR engine,we saw at Sujiatun on this day. Even the scrap locos (JS and QJ), whichwere present next to the museum last year, have disappeared, too.

Sujiatun repair shop had GJ 1018 under steam. QJ 1316, JF 3475, SY 0782and SY 1399 were under repair into theshed. QJ 1316 was in very bad conditionthe year before. It is quite amazing, that it is repaired now.
 under steam  GJ 1018 (workshop), JS 8050 (CNR) 
 under repair (all in the workshop)   QJ 1316, JF 3475, SY 0782, SY 1399 

Anshan steelworks

Later, we went on to Anshan steelwork. We were only allowed to visitthe well known site near the steam depot . The following locomotives wereshunting :
 PL 2  244
 SY  0114, 0115 (supershine), 0131, 0306, 0433, 0440, 0835, 0836,0902, 1035, 1036, 1037, 1568 
 YJ  289

After that, we visited a crossing next to the steelwork and to the tramwayline.There, we watched some electric trains from the steelwork, because we werenot been allowed to take photos of electric locomtives inside the steelwork.Because of the poor weather, we gave up and had a ride with the tramwaybefore returning to Shenyang.

Thursday 28 October


After breakfast, we went to Fushun by bus. There, we visited the opencast pit and its railway system. Most coal trains are hauled by locomotivesfrom Skoda and LEW (Germany). Steam is used for track construction only.Fushu has a kind of electric rapid transit system, too. There is at leasta line, that make half a circle around  the open cast pit. Rollingstock in use for this service are as well Japan built railcars (built inthe 1930s) as chinese built railcars. The chinese railcars operate mostof the trains during the day, whereas the older japanese ones are usedonly in peak hours. The shed for the electric railcars is situated at „Sheku“(or "Cheku", as lettered into Quail-Map). Steam locomotives in use :
  SY   0153, 0629, 0714, 0869, 1415 

A big surprise at Fushun was to see active CNR steam (class JS) : atleast JS 6473 worked a freight near a connection to CNR.

After a bus ride bach to Shenyang, we took T 96 from Shenyang Bei, departure22:00, to Fengrun.

Friday 29 October

Arrival at Fengrun at 05:46. Then by bus to the

Tangshan Steelwork

Operation there is quite busy. Tangshan steelwork seems to have onlyvery few diesels, but a big fleet of SYs. So, most duties are steam. Tangshanhas at least one Changchun built SY (3006). The SYs mainly haul trainswith liquid steel or cinders within the area of the steelwork.
  under  steam (all SY)    0674, 0777, 0981, 0982, 1020, 1070, 1071, 1090, 1107,1127, 1311, 1516, 1582, 1669, 1740, 3006 
  under repair   SY 1138, JS 8413 (built in 1988)

Tangshan Coal Mine

The second location at Tangshan, which uses steam is the coal mine.We saw no diesels there, but it is possible, that some may be there, too.Steam is used both on the freights and the worker`s passenger train betweenthe coal mine and the new shaft, a distancee of about 6 km. At Tangshancoal mine, some coal trains seem to be worked with two SYs as double header.We saw SY 0031+SY 0355 together on a heavy coal train, while SY 1679 wason the passenger duty to the new shaft. Tangshan Coal Mine has a quiteinteresting  loco : SY 0964. It seems to have a boiler from a JS.At least, the chimney and dome parts were from an JS (or similar to that).Additionally it weared a big number plate on its front - similiar to manyJS. The loco is looking like a JS - only number and tender show, that itis a SY.
  under steam (all SY)   0031, 0355, 0356, 0964 (JS-looking, see above), 1679 

In the afternoon, we took T 620 from Tangshan (departure 16:28) to Beijing,arrival 20:38.

Saturday 30 October

Departure 12:40 with China Air CA 931 from Beijing Capital Airport toFrankfurt.

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