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China Industrial Steam - September 2003

by Jan Schirling

The itinerary of the globe steam “purely industrial”-tour guided us to different steelworks and coal mine railways in Northern China between September 6th and 21st 2003.

07.09.2003 Beijing - China Railway Museum

We made a short visit to the new and bright hall of the railway museum. Nearly half filled it has enough place for al lot of further railway stuff. For narrow gauge there’s a track with three or four rails. Possibility to photograph the locos is good because of suficient space between them. In the hall you also find a few passenger cars, one of them was used by Mao Zedong.

steamNo. 0, GJ 1019, JF 2121, JF1 304 “Mao Zedong”, JF1 1191 “Zhu De”, JF1 2101 “National Day”, JF6 3022, JS 5001, KD7 534, KF1 006, PL3 51, PL9 146, QJ 0001, RM 1001, SL6 601, SL12 890
dieselBJ 3003, DF 1301, DF4 0001, DFH2 0008, DFH5 0001, ND3 0001
electricSS1 008

07.09.2003 Beijing - Capital Steel (Beijing Shougang)

Though steam operation was suspended two years ago, Beijing steelworks is still an interesting place. A considerable part of internal shunting is done by V100, imported from the former GDR. The first name of these locos was NY 1003, today they’re all named as V1003. The running numbers of the V1003 locos are identic with the original LEW works numbers by the way.
Of course, the main reason for visiting this site was the works railway. But we also could watch the production, e.g. the tap of molten iron in the fourth blast furnace and blowing steel converters from the steel mill’s control room.
Most rail action is between the railroad crossing in front of the blast furnace group and the first blast furnace. Trains are passing this area frequently with molten iron or molten slag trains. A couple of locos are always waiting next to the switch lock as a reserve.
On Sept 12th, we visited the southern interchange yard to the CNR. It’s north west of the Shijingshan Nan station. The connecting line to the steelworks and the parallel CNR-line are crossed by the road “Jingyuan Gonglu” with a bridge and by the road “Gucheng Nanlu” with a railroad crossing. There’s another (northern) interchange yard between the Yangsan and the Shijingshan station.

V100316491, 17376, 17380, 17381, 17387, 17407, 17498, 17883, 17889, 17892, 17893, 17896, 17898
GK10009, 0013, 0059 (i), 0065 (i), 0066, 0068 (i), 0083 (i)
(i) seen at interchange yard on Sept12

08.09.2003 Xuanhua Iron & Steel

An up to now seldom visited steel works is placed in Xuanhua, 3-4 hours by rail west of Beijing. The management is open-minded to visitors. So we could visit a lot of areas within the plant. As illegal visits might change the management`s attitude towards visitors, I`d like to remind every visitor to apply for a permission before the visit!

The factory consists of two parts: an iron works west of the CNR-station on its southern side and an integrated works east of the station north of the CNR line. The two parts have no industrial rail connection between each other. So, transfer trains must cross the CNR-tracks.
In the western site, there are two small blast furnaces, served by a ramp to a short raw materials stock. Most of the molten iron is transfered from rail to special trucks near the pig iron machine. The trucks run on the works road to the eastern factory. The regular disposal of the blast furnace slag is a lagoon. Because of reconstruction it was out of use and the slag was tipped conventionally on the slag hill.
It was somewhat strange to observe slag tipping: the slag almost reached the fields below the slag tiplike - similar to the lava of a vulcano.

The eastern site is bigger than the western one. There, you`ll find the raw material processing (like sintering and coking plants), four blast furnaces, a Bessemer- and a BOF-steel mill and different rolling mills.
The works railway transports the molten iron to the BOF mill. So, there are frequent trains here. The Bessemer mill creates only little rail traffic, because the molten iron is delivered by trucks. Same is valid for the steel ingots for the rolling mills.
The transformation of all blast furnace slag to sand don’t need any rail transport. At least one blast furnace is served by a ramp to a raw materials stock. Others are served by conveyors.

SY0250 (in depot), 0299, 0559 (western site), 0782, 0921 (western site), 1113 (western site), 1219 (in depot), 1342 (western site), 1462, 1541
YJ0269 (oou)

On the return trip to Beijing by train, we noticed two closed blast furnaces next to a factory (maybe a foundry) close to Shacheng CNR station, north of the line. Additionally, small blast furnaces can be found south of the line.

09.09.2003 Wangdu-Tangxian-Baihe narrow gauge railway

Regular steam operation on this line ceased in 2002. So, we had to order a special train from Tangxian to Baihe. In Tangxian, railroad staff told us that steam locomotive 066 could move only a few 100m within the the city.

The line - main transport goods was lime stone for concrete works - was said to have closed due to lack of money. All tracks of the yard were full of freight cars in bad condition and the line to Baihe was covered with plants, little bushes and rubbish. I think, it saw no traffic for the least a couple of months.
The track towards Wangdu seemed to be somewhat better. After endless discussions, the railwaymen took some non-derelict freight cars, which had been inside the repair shed. Thist was quite hard work because they had to brake some concrete and to repair the switch to the shed first.
Finally, we only rolled 2 km towards Wangdu. Going further down the line was too dangerous because some of the screws and iron plates of the sleepers had been stolen and a derailment quite likely. Maybe, our train was the last train on this line...

C2005 with tender 2813 (inside shed), 066
KP42816 with tender 2819 (inside shed)
dieselJM110 1503 (inside shed), NJ150 1509 (inside shed)

10./11.09.2003 Baotou Iron & Steel (Baogang)

We visited this big steel works two days. CITS organized all permissions and we enjoyed a lot of freedom. The central depot is devided in a part for diesel engines and a part for steam engines. We were surprised to see five ET7 and XK13-engines from Poland.

A place with frequent train operation is the rolling mill yard. You can see trains with slag from the steel mills and trains with finished steel products like wire and rails.
Between the older steel mill and the electric furnaces exists an interesting operation. Molten steel ist put into ingot moulds and carryied to another hall. There, two electric locos with a energy supply cable take over.

Most rail traffic takes place around the blast furnaces. I think the elderly, central steel mill receives molten iron from the group of three furnaces whereas the newer, big steel mill receives its molten iron from the single, modern blast furnace. Frequent shunting with molten iron cars, slag cars and open cars loaded with dust can be observed around the four blast furnaces.
Behind the blast furnace group, there is the unloading place for iron ore and the sintering plant. Some distance away is the coking plant, too.
Slag trains from the blast furnaces go to the slag tip west of the steelwork. You have to be careful, as there are two alternatively used tipping areas and two trains following each other may have different destinations. For a visitor, the best option is to wait at the entrance of the slag area and to look which track the train takes.But, of course, you may be unlucky, too. As the area is quite large, tipping can be finished before you have reached/found the right place.

ET75328 (oou), 5332 (oou), 5333 (oou)
JS58001 (in depot), 58002 (oou)
SY0264, 0392, 0422 (in depot), 0501 (oou), 0502, 0710, 0711 (tender only), 0823, 0824, 1431 (in depot), 1517, 1518 (in depot), 1521, 1571 (in depot), 1676, 1677, 1696, 1697, 1719, 1723, 1727, 1731, 1743 (in depot), 1748, 2015 (in depot), 3012
XK135902 (oou), 5903 (oou)
YJ232 (oou)
GK01001 (in depot), 1002, 1004 (in depot), 1008, 1011 (in depot), 1012, 1013, 1015 (in depot), 1016 (in depot), 1017, 1018, 1019
GK10042 (oou), 0055 (oou), 0064 (in depot), 0070, 0071 (oou), 0075, 0078 (in depot), 0106
GK1F1009 (in depot)
GK1G6015 (in depot), 6016 (in depot)
GK3B0002 (in depot), 0003 (in depot), 0004
GKD4 (?)086, 087 (oou)

12.09.2003 “7.February Works” Beijing

We were not allowed to enter the factory itself but could visit the depot and the yard. Without official permission, it is possible to photograph shunting locos fram a small, public railroad crossing between the yard and the depot. Railway staff told us that the JF will be repaired soon.

JF2446 (oou)
SY0492 (oou), 0732, 0891

12.09.2003 Dahuichang limestone railway

This well-known narrow gauge line started its operation before two o’clock pm. Two trains carried broken limestone from the loading point to the tipper beside the works.
Shunting on the standard gauge is now duty of a small diesel engine, the YJ 287-“remains” have disappeared.

C201 (cold), 02, 03, 04 (cold)
SY0251 (oou)

13.09.2003 Fushun New Steel (Fushun Xingfu Steel)

This steelwork can be found at the eastern end of the highway from Shenyang to Fushun. Since my last visit in 2002 the construction of the fourth blast furnace has been finished. The management modernizes the plant with other new buildings, too.

The local bureau of CITS organized a visit of the central railroad crossing of the site. Visiting other places e.g. the place near the crossing where the blast furnace slag is transfered to sand in a lagoon, was not allowed. Similar to 2002, taking pictures at the rail entrance was easy. I don’t know, whether this is a permanent situation, because we had requested to visit this place in advance, too.

SY0585, 0655, 0716, 0881, 0998, 1202 (oou), 1507

13.09.2003 Fushun Coal Mine

Most lines are equiped with 1.500V DC overhead electric wires. One part of the network goes through the open cast mine, where you can see trains with tipper cars, loaded with coal or disposals. The other part of the system connects the mine to the CNR and some other factories.
Urban passenger trains are running along a couple of lines in the morning and the afternoon. We saw the railcars 104 and 121.

Around Fushun, a lot of chemical industry can be found, e.g. one next to the interchange yard Daguantun. Shunting electric locos are passing under a pedestrian bridge here. From Daguantun, a line extends northwards with frequent cistern and coal trains. The electrics are a very nice sight - some of them are of Japanese or German origin, built during the occupation of Manchuria in the 1930s and 1940s. Steam locos are rare and used for permanent way trains only.

It’s possible to go down to the the first step of the open cast mine on a dirt road at the northern edge as well as on some paths used by local people at the western edge of the mine. There are a few nice places, but poles between the two tracks are very annoying.
Near the western edge of the open cast mine, the electric depot is situated.

“EL1” rebuilt027 (in depot), 106 (in depot), 112 (in depot), 133, 134, 148, 153, 333 (in depot)
“EL2” rebuilt615, 616, 617 (in depot), 618, 619
old electrics1123 (in depot), 1134, 1141 (in depot), 1151, 1154 (in depot), 1202, 1207, 1216, 1220, 1399
electric railcars104, 121

14./15.09.2003 Daqing Coal Mining Company Tieling

On both days we saw busy traffic on all lines of the network. The coal mines were served several times a day. These trains started at Daqing and served all mines on a particular branch. When returning, the loco picked up all loaded coal cars of this branch again. On both days there was an empty train runned towards Faku between 9 and 10 o’clock in the morning which returned loaded in the afternoon.
On the Wangqian branch, some open cars are loaded with stones from a quarry. The large power plant between Tieling and Daqing is not connected with the CNR branch line but has got its own track to Daqing. SY engines are working here, too.

Nice train meetings can be observed at Diaobingshan and Sanjiazi station in the morning. If you only want to see funnel first locos, you need some luck. There are no special locos for passenger services.

A little bit funny are the plastic cards you get from the Transportation Department at Daqing when you pay the fee for the photo permission. They have a little rope to carry them around the neck. The validity period is printed onto the Chinese-English card, too. But it doesn’t help you to get permission for visiting the coal mines as they belong to a different department.

SY0063, 0435, 0665, 0979, 1147, 1183, 1412, 1683, 1749, 1751, 1764, 1767, 1770, 1772

The Dalong coal mine uses an electric narrow gauge railway to transport the mining disposals to the waste hill conveyor on the southern edge of the site. We saw three locos (deep mine type), numbered 1, 5 and 8. The Daming mine also uses a similar railway according to the gatekeeper. We also found a few narrow gauge electrics out of use at the mine south of Daming.

16.09.2003 Anshan Iron and Steel Co. (Angang)

The capabilities of this factory have been improved with the construction of the eleventh blast furnace. For transporting the additional molten iron, Angang has ordered new 8-axle hot iron cars. I had expected that the new furnace would replace the older four ones (eastern group) but they still were in use - together with the little electric locos and their bucket trains.

Our visit was limited to the area in front of the western blast furnace group. We were accompanied by two local guides which were not from CITS. Probably, they were Angang employees without any interest to show us other places. In front of the blast furnaces we observed frequent shunting with molten iron and slag cars. Compared to my visit in 2002, the use of steam locos was higher, probably due to additional transports. The stabling point has been reconstructed, too.

After new neverending discussions and pointing out our interest in the GDR-built LEW electrics, we were allowed to visit the sintering plant yard and photograph there.

In the afternoon we had a visit to the Angang-subsidiary "Qi Dashan iron ore mine". It’s north east of Anshan and connected to the Anshan circle railway. Outside the mine, we saw two trains being loaded by an excavator.

SY0115, 0428, 0433 (oou), 0436, 0571, 0835, 0836, 0902, 1035, 1036, 1037, 1038, 1555, 1566, 1568
BD1404, 408, 409
EL2106 (QiDashan Mine), 117, 120, 125, 128, 129, 7404 (QiDashan Mine), 7411, 7418, 7420
(Skoda) 1513
GK1G6003, 6004, 6005, 6007, 6009, 6028, 6029

Anshan`s last tramway line was closed in April 2003.

17./18. 09.2003 Fuxin Coal Mine

A good place to start visiting Fuxin is Wulong station near to the southern steam depot, the repair shops and the coal washery. In addition to the well-known steam passenger service, you can observe an internal service using old style passenger cars. The trains are going into the open cast mine. Previuosly, they were hauled by electric locos. This time, they had both SY engines and electrics.

North of Taipeng station, there’s a huge loco dump, best described as "loco cemetery": more then 30 engines (both steam and electrics) are stored here. You have to ask for permission to visit this place.
Near the Taipeng station, there’s the electrics depot. Unfortunately we were not allowed in but we could go to the steam loco stabling point instead.

JF508 (oou), 624 (C), 2195 (C), 2345 (C)
SY0002 (C), 0035 (C), 0076, 0112, 0127 (oou), 0205 (C), 0541 (oou), 0576 (oou), 0770 (in Wulong depot), 0785 (in Taipeng depot), 0911 (in Taipeng depot), 0912 (C), 0939, 0940 (in Taipeng depot), 0941, 1089 (C), 1319, 1320, 1359 (in Taipeng depot), 1378, 1392 (in Wulong depot), 1395 (repairs), 1396, 1397, 1818
YJ403 (oou, Taipeng depot)
EL19232 (C), 9233, 9244 (C), 9246
“EL1” rebuilt111, 113
EL26505 (C), 6569 (C), 6570 (C), 6574 (C), 6577 (C), 6578 (C), 6579 (C), 6580 (C), 6586, 6585 (C), 6589 (C), 6596 (C), 6598 (C), 6601 (C), 6602 (C), 6607, 6608, 6610, 6611, 6612, 6614 (C), 6617 (C), 6623, 6624
(chin. type)862 (C), 863 (C), 865 (C), 866 (C)
(Skoda) 381
(C) = dumped at loco cemetery

Opposite the town at the eastern edge of the open cast mine, we visited the electrified narrow gauge system (762 mm) of a small deep coal mine. There was busy shunting with little electrics and tipping cars.
Coal is revealed by a sloping gallery and carried to the washery. From this place the washed coal is loaded in standard open cars. The line runs from the coal mine around the northern edge of the open cast mine to a small station near Fuxin. You can use the lonely daily passenger train (14.00 mine, 14.25 / 14.30 station, 14.55 mine) without paying any fee. There are no coal trains along this line (passenger only). Sidetracks are closed and buses run on the parallel roads, too. Between the mine and the first railroad crossing, there is the depot. Access was denied by unfriendly people.

ZL14 (?)7, 10, 11, 12, xx (in depot), xx (oou), xx (oou)
deep mine type101, xxx (in depot)

19.09.2003 Pingzhuang Coal Mine

This industrial railway can be devided in two parts. There is a very busy electrified line from the open cast mine to the coal tipper nearby the washery and the dump hill. Most trains are hauled by GDR-built electrics, steam is used on permanent way trains. There’s a yard at the edge of the open cast mine. We had no problems to enter the first step of the mine using the stairway (but we had preordered the visit to the pit in advance). However, the depot for the electrics was off-limits for us.

The second part of the system is the line from the CNR interchange yard to a couple of deep mines in the north. There are only two or three trains a day serving this line. We saw an empty train in the morning which returned in the afternoon. Later there was another empty train. A surprise was to see both the two JS and SY 1083 equipped with full size deflectors.

JS5758 (ld), 8219 (ld)
SY0271, 0304, 0400 (oou), 0766 (C), 0916 (C), 1007 (oou), 1052, 1083 (oou), 1085 (C), 1487 (C)
EL26785, 7xxx, 7324, 7335, 7336, 7340, 7341, 7342, 7344, 7347, 7348, 7349, 7362, 7366, 7368
(C) = belongs to open cast mine

20.09.2003 Yuanbaoshan Coal Mine

This line isn’t very busy. A couple of trains serve the coal mine at Fengshuigou and the small coal mines on the branch lines. Because the well-cared JS are running funnel forward north-east, morning visits are the best choice.
The depot is at Yuanbaoshan Xi. Passenger trains operate unchanged: in the morning (7.00 ex YBS Xi, return ex Fengshuigou 10.00) and in the afternoon (15.30 ex YBS Xi, and back 16.30 ex Fengshuigou). We observed an empty and a coal train in the morning on the Fengshuigou line and an empty trains to Yuanbaoshan CNR station in the afternoon.
At YBS Xi, a JS and the power plant`s GKD1 diesel shunted. You often can find a JS at coal mine No. 1 hauling coal tippers and sometimes serving the other little mines. At Fengshuigou mine, there’s another electrified narrow gauge railway.

JS6245(ld), 6246(ld), 6544(ld), 8218(ld), 8246(hd), 8249(ld), 8250(ld)

More information about the steelworks visited: http://home.arcor.de/hochbahn

Jan Schirling
Nov, 8th 2003

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© 2003, Jan Schirling , email: 101.99991@germanynet.de