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Steam at Songshuzhen, Februrary 2002

Stefan Pfütze

Just arrived back from Songshuzhen. We spent 2 weeks there.

Observations :

Tonghua and Hunjiang were completely dieselised. Lonely steam loco was JS 6483 under steam at Hunjiang (standby on shed or in Hunjiang yard but no line work was recorded).

Both in Tonghua and Hunjiang DF5 are shunting now. They do no linework, too which is DF4 exclusively.

Quanyang subdepot had 11 JS in use during our visit : JS 8103, 8106, 8108, 8109, 8112, 8198, 8199, 8200, 8201, 8208, 8211 (no deflectors, formerly at Tonghua/Dongtonghua).
Quanyang depot contained the following JS (all cold and stored next to the shed, partly transfered from Tonghua and Hunjiang) : JS 6304, 8042, 8156, 8229, 8231, 8233 plus 6 further locos without numbers. Only the the two righthand tracks of the shed are still useable (other tracks are blocked by dumped engines).

According to staff both at Songshuzhen and Quanyang, steam at Quanyang is expected to have finished by the end of February, too.

The well-known freight between Songshu and Quanyang operated reliably and on time but traffic volume (length of trains) was very variable - as expected. Train 48093 (07:00 ex Songshuzhen) was doubleheaded in almost any occassion. The 11:46 departure ex Songshu (train 48385) was often doubl-headed, too (70%). Once, it even had 3 JS. During the night, several doubleheaded trains could be observed at Songshu, too.

Predominantly, we were between Xianrenqiao and Xiaoshan. In the morning, we took the mixed (timetabled departure at Songshu is 05:13 now and on time every day during the 2 weeks). The mixed usually crosses Songshuzhen bound train 48380 at Xiaoshan at 06:55 (very photogenic as the sun just rises..) If the mixed is late due to shunting at Xianrenqiao and DF4 hauled fast train 4264 is not crossed at Zhubaogang, the mixed will have to wait at Xianrenqiao. We observed this twice. Xiaoshan station is very nice and photgenic (no vegetation) - especially in the morning.

Both at Songshu and at Quanyang we repeatedly visited the depots (at Quanyang inside the shed, too, some nice spots here). Friendly staff only and no problems at all. Both Quanyang and Songshu have "boards" at the dispatcher`s office showing the trains plus engines for the day. Unfortunately at Quanyang only departures are listed there (at Songshu arrivals, too).

Condition of the JS indicates the near end. Last year`s supershine engines were in external condition somewhere between "dirty but acceptable" and "rundown". Technical condition is bad too.

Even in Februrary, there are plenty of sunny spots in the river gorge between Wanniwaizi and Xiaoshan. Very comfortable was walking on the frozen river for kilometers - this providing additional spots, too.

We did not visit Quanyang-Baihe section.

Stefan Pfütze

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© 2002, Stefan Pfütze