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Steam in China, May 2002

Report of Visit to Tiefa System May 16-18, 2002

by Louis Cerny

Investigation of eastern Tiefa System line towards Tieling

This seldom-mentioned freight-only line of the Tiefa system was investigated in detail. It is operated completely independent of the China Rail mainline. Measured by the minivan odometer, it is 22km long from Sanjiazi, making it the second-longest of the four Tiefa System lines radiating from that station.

The line leaves inconspicuously via a turnout just east of the level crossing at the east end of the engine terminal, and makes a wide swing to the north of the Daqing yard, being perhaps 500 meters distant. The line then comes back to parallel the China rail main line Tiefa-Tieling for many kilometers at a distance of about 50 meters to the north, in which configuration it crosses the Tiefa Tieling Highway. Further to the east the line goes through a deep cut, followed by a long, high fill on which it turns northward, crossing over the Tiefa-Tieling Highway on a bridge and then entering a large power plant. There are reported to be two round trips during daylight, and one, with SY1751, was observed about 9am May 17 heading east.

Tiefa - Faku - Kangping Line

This 50km-long line of the Tiefa System heads generally west to Faku and then northwest to Kangping, and has a 4km-long branch near its northwest end. Both Faku and Kangping have over 25,000 population, giving this fully-signaled route the character of an intercity line rather than just a mining railway. The railroad station at Tiefa is called Diaobingshan and the one serving Kangping is called Dongguantun.

Train 410 was ridden on 1 hour 46 minute run from Kangping to Tiefa the afternoon of May 16. The seven-car train, pulled by SY0393, was well-patronized, and before it got to Faku there was standing room only. The spirit on the train was festive, with the locals in lively conversation and card-playing, in which one of the objectives seemed to be to slam down the cards as loudly as possible. Vendors passed through the crowded cars singing a repeated phrase selling newspapers and soft drinks. At Faku we passed through a long curved cut before pulling into the station. There were about as many getting off the train here as getting on. Then it was onward into the hilly and even mountainous section to Tiefa. There the crowd from the train dispersed into the city as SY shuffled around the station.

About 5km from Kangping, a 4km freight-only branch heads off to the southwest, following a lake shore to a mine. The junction of this branch has a Y track, but the switch is not in at the northwest leg. The branch is easily accessed by turning left off the main road from Faku about 200 meters before it crosses the main line at grade for the second time since Faku. The road and railroad branch are right alongside each other through an S curve along the lake. From Kangping, it is only a 3 hour 30 minute drive to the Ji-Tong at Zhelimu (Tongliao) via Shuangliao, a trip that was made on May 18.

Louis Cerny

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© 2002, Peter Odell