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PeiTun and ZhunDong Tielu - Nov 2003

by Ronald Olsen

Pei-Tun Railway

We had a look at this line for one day and enjoyed it very much. Some observations:

We were at first refused access to the jiwuduan. Our taxi driver pleaded to one of the leaders and we were finally allowed in, but were not allowed to photograph nor allowed up on the servicing platform to have a closer look. There are no fueling facilities for the DF's, a tanker truck performs this duty.

There is a good photo spot past the jiwuduan with a brickworks besides the track. Go past the jiwuduan entrance and make a left turn at the first irrigation ditch. It's about a kilometer all told.

The mine tracks run in many directions and a better map would be useful. We had limited access to the headquarters or would've tried to copy off the wall map there. The taxi driver said that the local map we could buy would not be of any use to us.

The passenger trains return to Xuzhou at 7.28 and 2.08 . The last bus leaves at 18.40.

The crews are very friendly and Mike LaPlante had a ride up one of the branches in the recently-overhauled SY.

All the locos that we saw had a crisp exhaust, barking sharply when accelerating. Locos in PDS gave out a softer exhaust sound. This for those of you doing sound recordings.

Additional reports: Colin Huessey reports:

One day visit on Nov 13th revealed the followwing engines on company roster:
DF4 7693, 7694
SY 2024
QJ 3425(dumped), 6309, 7022, 7075, 7077*, 7094, 7125, 7150(dumped), 7176*
QJ 7077 & 7176 were fully coaled, but out of use. Works staff in office indicated they were waiting to go to workshops for overhauls.
SY 2024 is used for transfer work between the various mines radiating from Pei-tun. It came in L/E from line 2 & took out a load of empties to line 1. It is not unusual for the empties to be worked out & the engine return to Pei-Tun for other work, as was the case with DF4 7693.
DF7694 worked in with a loaded coal train from line 1, then retutrned to the depot. This loaded train was not left in the yard, so I can only presume that QJ7077 worked it out as it was the only engine not seen. Alexander Rettig reports:

Yesterday (Sep, 18th) I had a short visit to this railway system. Unfortunately the weather was really not optimal. Dark grey sky, misty and later heavily raining. So I didn't made anything for finding special places for taking pics. I stayed only at the freight yard near Peitun station and later I visited the depot.

Following engines under steam and in use:
QJ6309, 7022, 7031, 7077, 7125, 7176
in low steam:SY2024 (supershine)
cold: QJ7032, 7150 (looked a little derelict)

The two new DF4's are situated lonely on a side track, but staff confirmed they will put into service from Oct, 1st. All staff were very kind and friedly. Freely access given to the depot and facilities.

Going to this railway is very easy. Need to take a bus from Xuzhou to PeiXian (CNY 13/about 75min ride). There change to local bus number 2 (CNY 1,5/about 20min ride). A stop is pretty near to the freight yard.

ZhunDong Tielu

I visited the Zhun Ge Er line for three days and found it a delight. Things are changing quickly, however, so I will make a bit of a report here instead of waiting to get home in two weeks.

Florian's report from 1/2003 was of great help and I would look at that for guidance if you plan to visit this line. There have been some changes. Firstly, the final two buses from Zhoujiawan have been cancelled, so the last bus now leaves at 17.10, not at 18.00 as before. I know this because I missed it, twice. Also, as reported before, poles have been installed in anticipation of electrification, which all the crews agree will happen sometime between August and October 2004. But not on the whole line. More about this in a moment.

I arrived to be greeted by 6 QJ's in steam at the jiwuduan at sunrise, a glorious sight. I had little time before I was on the 6946 and charging up the hill. Had a delightful day and got to go all the way past Hushi, to the terminus of the line at km 72.5, where mountains of coal await loading. I returned on the 6613 in the afternoon, and while the crew didn't let me fire, it was fortunate because I was able to scout the line.

The crown jewel of the line is the water stop at Fu Xin Cheng, at km 32. There are bridges at km 29.3, 30.4, 31, 32.4,33, 34, and 35. The backdrop is similiar to the gorge at the Singing Sands, beautiful red striated rock with many side canyons. Starting from the station, eastbounds soon face a 13.5 in 1000 grade and work very hard, besides the bridges this area features many large finished rock cuts. Best of all, this whole area is free of poles, which makes a huge difference.

I set out the next day to find this place by taxi. It took some doing. Florian is right, the dirt roads can be bewildering, they crisscross in all directions, often to peter out in some lonely canyon. But with determination , I found it. According to the staff, no westerners have been here before, just some Japanese. They were extremely friendly, so much so that when they offered me a bed for the night I gratefuuly accepted. They fed me well too and I tried to be a gracious guest. I will post directions to this fantastic place in a seperate e-mail, as I am awaiting developing photos here in Huhehaote for a particular roadsign.

The line is busy, I was told that there are 16 trains each way in 24 hours, and my observations confirmed this. Between 0800 and 1600, I saw 5 movements in each direction. Light engine movements only went westbound, i.e. downgrade at Fu Xin Cheng. More than half of the trains had their headlight on in daylight. Trains are loaded to over 2000 tons. The QJ's are scruffy, but they are still good performers, working very hard around the clock. Incidently, I was told that the electrics locos will cost 40 times more than a QJ. All trains are doubleheaded. At least two of the QJ's have Geisl-type chimneys. The 7058 has a 2m x 3m patch on the fireman's side of the tender that is made of thin steel and threatened to burst forth with each exhaust beat, I wouldn't stand too close if I were you.

If I had only one day to visit this line, I would do this; Visit the jiwuduan at sunrise, travel up the line to the big bridge at km 5 to photo the first train out, then head for Fu Xin Cheng. I would resist the temptation to stop at Haizita along the way; although it is ok, FXC is much better, especially in the afternoon, when the sunlight highlights the red rock canyons in the background there. I would not wait long, as the gas-powered constuction machine was seen to be very busy carrying various materials for the electrification.

I gave up two days in the Jingpeng Pass for this and don't regret it at all.

The best way to get to Fuxincheng is by locomotive, 32 km. If you can't talk your way onto a QJ, howver (there aren't any cabooses), it is 55 km by car.

Start at the bus station at Zhoujiawan. Check your odometer.
Head east out of town until you cross the big river bridge. To the left is the road back to Huhehaote. To the right is the road to Chun Pe Cha Dao Go, go that way. Go 22.6 km. You will see a 90 degree turn to the left. Go past it. 0.1 km later there is a 30 degree turn to the left. Go past that too. 0.1 km later you will be at a tollbooth, Y10. Go through this. You are now in the Da Fen Pu district. Go 24.5 km. You will come to a blue and white roadsign.

Ronald Olsen

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© 2003, Ronald Olsen , email: ronaldolsen@hotmail.com