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Xuanhua Steelworks - December 2002

by Paul Nelson

Details of a visit to Xuanhua, Hebei Province:

Xuanhua is located 171 kms west of Beijing Dong station (via Fengtai) on the mainline to Datong.

For many years SYs have been observed from passing passenger trains switching the adjacent steel mill yard at Xuanhua. These locomotives were intriguing as they always looked to be in particularly good external fiddle. On December 30 a small Rail Study Tours group visited the facility. The people from the steel mill were extremely friendly and welcoming, and a very successful visit was had. They said that they had not had previous western railfan visitors, but some Japanese had been there in the past.

The locomotive information:
18 steam engines currently on the roster, all SY 2-8-2s:
Numbers: 0250*, 0299*, 0323*, 0356, 0552, 0559*, 0782, 0921*, 1104, 1121*, 1177, 1219*, 1541, 1528, 1599*, 1462*, and 1342.

We saw 1113*, I think, although reported was engine 1133, I think there may have been a translation mix-up. 15 engines were reported to be in use that day. Locomotives with asterisks were actually seen, others reported by the mill transportation manager.

All engines faced in a northwestish direction. All locomotives seen were in beautiful condition, with brass cabside plates and some even had polished brass boiler bands.

2-6-2 0269 sitting at engine house, appears to be awaiting scrapping.

The steel mill complex has tracks extending about a mile along the CR right of way on the Northwest side of the mill, and a large grade crossing was on the Southeast side of the mill. I think this was the end of the CR interchange, as we saw some CR diesels bring cars down this way.

Cab rides were easy (in fact we had two crews arguing about which visitor would ride with them).
The engine terminal folks were also very helpful, and was impressed that they brought all of us hard hats. We did not actually go into the mill except on foot later in day."

"Expect pure steam until next year, when plan single diesel, to replace 2 steam engines. Expect steam to last up to 5 years, unless more funds available to transition early."

Paul Nelson

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© 2003, Paul Nelson