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Steam in Southern China

Jinchengjiang, LeiYan, Chenzhou

by Peter Semmelroch

Peter Semmelroch reports about a 2-week-trip to Southern China

Nov 3rd/4th

From Guangzhou, I took train 1687/1686 via Hengyang, Guilin, Liuzhou to Jinchengjiang. This train takes 9 hours longer than the train via Maoming (1320/1319). Guilin-Liuzhou-Hechi was travelled during daylight on Nov 4th 2002.
  1. Luzhai (50 km east of Liuzhou): SY 0919 shunts a container train in the freight yard west of the passenger station. The engine is in very good condition.
  2. Taiyangcun cement factory : inside the factory complex, a unidentified SY was seen at the water crane.
  3. Yemao (100 km west of Liuzhou) : SY 0917 in bad external condition waits in the station with a train of flat wagons. The loco faces towards Liuzhou. (JS 6275 and YJ232, previously reported at Yemao faced the other way, FM)

Nov 5th- Nov 12th Jinchengjiang

Unexpectedly, weather was very good : 5 sunny, cloudless and dry days, very confortable climate, the other 3 days had thin cloud layers but sometimes sunshine, too. No rain at all within the 8-day-period at Jinchengjiang.


Loco last overhaul
(Liuzhou works)
JS 5706 ? dumped at Jinchengjiang Xi
JS 8283 6.2002 working
JS 8284 7.2002 working
JS 8285 10.2001 working, Jinchengjiang Xi-Jcj CNR pilot
JS 8287 05.2002 working
JS 8288 2.2002 working
JS 8290 11.2001 working
JS 8373 8.2002 working
JS 8375 9.2002 ExWorks, initially cold, later steamed but not in service yet
JS 8376 ? working on Nov 5th, left the system later

It is remarkable that all JS were overhauled within the last 13 months at Liuzhou Works. Overhauls are indicated at the tender. The JS seem to be in "full size maintance".
A new "maintenance hall" in Jinchengjiang Xi will be finished soon. The hall looks "very new" but not neccessarily designed for diesels...


Unfortunately very few trains. In addition to the daily mixed, there were only 2 (twice) or 3 (6 times) freight trains during daylight. The Shangchao branch for example offered no train at all during daylight!
The mixed operated reliably but timekeeping of freight trains is poor. It ranges from "tight on time" to "3 hours delay".

Timetable for Wenping

Northbound (Jinchengjiang-Puluo)

45323 45307 45325 8397 45309 45327
06:32 09:01 11:32 14:36/38 15:47/56 18:06

Southbound (Puluo-Jinchengjiang)

45326 8398 45306 45328 45308
08:41/04 09:55/57 13:36 15:43/53 19:04

Important Rules

Timetable for Duchuan

Northbound (Puluo-Pingzhai)

45303 45305 45307 8397 45309 45301
03:39 05:26/05:57 10:53/11:10 15:45/15:47 17:18/17:26 22:50

Souhbound (Pingzhai-Puluo)

85812 45304 8398 45306 45308 45302
00:32 05:13/05:29 08:48/08:50 11:55/12:10 17:23 21:58

The road to Pingzhai is being rebuilt. By taxi you can reach Hetuncun. The line to Shangchao was not visited due to a lack of trains.

A taxi for a whole day ex Jinchengjiang costs between 225Y and 450Y. It depend on distance travelled as the taxameter was used in any oaccasion. Price is 1,8 Yuan/km and 2,4Y before 6 a.m. in the morning.
The crossing at km16 near Wenping is manned between 07:00 and 20:00. As in every station, a log book exists there, too.

Nov 12th 2002

We left Jinchengjian in the evening by train 1688/1685 again. Arrival at Leiyang on Nov 13th at 11:54.

Leiyang Local Railway

From Leiyan CNR, situted between Hengyang and Chenzhou, the local line goes to "Zhujitan" (4 km). At Zhujitan, the line splits. There is the mainline to Xinshen (km 25) and a branch line to Nanyang. Operational center and depot are located at Zhujitan.

Following locomotives were seen:

SY 0491 working acceptabel condition, last overahul 4.2001 at Liuzhou Works (lettered on the tender)
SY 0877 working excellent condition, no overhaul date on the tender
SY 0991 cold&nbsP;(inside shed) excellent condition, last opverhaul 5.2002 at Luizhou Works
SY 1000 working good condition
SY 1325 cold inside shed bad condition, probably not operational
SY 1531 cold inside shed bad condition, probably not operational

All engines face westwards (funnel first towards Leiyang).

Operation (between 12:30 Uhr und 16:30)

At 12:30, SY 1000 was waiting in Zhujitan station, SY 0877 under steam at the depot. Around 13:00, SY 1000 starts shunting and leaves tender first with an empty freight train to Xinshen.
At 14.20, SY 0877 pushes(!) a rake of passenger coaches the 4 kilometers to Leiyang. The train consists of 8 coaches. 4 out of them (3 YZ22 and 1 XL22) are lettered "Leiyang-Xinshen", the other 4 ones "Leiyang-Nanyang".
At 15.00, SY 0877 rearrives with its 8-coach-consist from Leiyang (tender first). The trains besomes split at Zhujitan. SY 0877 continues with 4 coaches to Xinshen.
In the meantime, SY 0491 had arrived with a loaded freight train from either Xinshen or Nanyang. It takes the 4 remaining coaches, and picks up 10 empty freight wagons, too. Some 15 minutes after SY0877 with its Xinshen -bound passenger train, SY 0491 leaves Zhujitan with its mixed train to Nanyang, too.


In contrast to the Report by Gernot Gmeinhart, there was no evidence of any diesel locomotives on this system. The depot at Zhujitan does not have any diesel facilities either. Two freight trains, one mixed and one passenger train operated within 4 hours-all steam hauled.
Maybe, freight tripping between Zhujitan and Leiyang is handled by CNR-diesels. On the other hand, freight traffic seems to be not very heavy as 3 SYs are sufficient to work the complete system (Zhujitan-Nanyang and Zhujitan-Xinshen lines) as well as the shunting duties in Zhujitan.

Two out of the 6 SYs had had overhauls at Liuzhou recently. There are no short-term-plans to eliminate steam operation there.
Further exploration of opaertion and the branch lines is neccessary!

Weather was sunny but not clear. In the evening, we went to Chenzhou by taxi (80km).

Nov 14th-15th, Chenzhou-Jiahe

The narrow gauge line is on its last leg! Only C4-20 is still operational. 4 C4s and and diesel are dumped out of use inside two sheds in Chenzhou.

There is a daily freight train at 09:00 ex Chenzhou. It consists of 10 empty coal wagons only. The train leaves tender first and terminates at a station just before Guiyang. Guiyang itself is not reached, passenger service has ceased. At the station near Guiyang, the loco runs round and heads back towards Chenzhou with the empty wagons. It stops at a village with an coalmine then. As there is no siding, the train blocks the railway line for a couple of hours while being loaded. Around 14:30, the loaded train departs for Chenzhou. It arrives there between 15:30 and 16:00 Uhr. The loaded wagons are shunted to a siding where the coal becomes unloaded during the night. Next morning, the wagons are collcted again and the operation is repeated ...

Due to bad weather on Nov 15th (nonstop rain), loading at the village was impossible. The train did not start its return journey before sunset.

Along the remaining line, there are at least 2 tunnels and 1 large Viadukt. The track is in very good condition and cannot be compared to any forestry railway in Northern China. The loaded train (which operates funnel first) runs downhill and very fast, sometimes more than 50km/h.

In Chenzhou a JS is still shunting. It is lettered 5444. As reported previously, the shed contains another, dumped JS which is lettered "5444" as well.

The two days at Chenzhou were the lonely ones with bad weather : overcast on Nov 14th and never-ending-rain on Nov15th.

In the evening of Nov 15th, we took th overnight train to Guangzhou and flight Guangzhou-HongKong-Frankfurt on Nov 16th.

November 2002,
Peter Semmelroch

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