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Steam in China - February 2004

John Nicholas Middleton

Trip report which was an add-on to a business trip

BEIJING Feb 7th Workshops

On March 3 JF 2446 and SY 0891 were working, the other SY was stored behind wagons.


No trains on either March 2 or 3 (Tuesday - Wednesday) as the "bins were full at the plant" (according to the crossing keeper)


A report which slightly precedes all the recent dieselisation rumours/news:

I travelled the entire length of the line and spent 3 days at Reshui over the period 4-9 March;

Zhelimu - Daban
Over 4-5 March out of 14 freights observed on this section, 9 were steam and 5 were diesel.
Passenger Service
4 March
QJ 7038 Chabuga - Zhelimu - Chabuga Trains 6057/6052
QJ 7104 Chabuga - Zhelimu - Chabuga Trains 6051/6058
QJ 6631 Chabaga - Daban Train 6052

5 March
QJ 7104 Chabuga - Zhelimu - Chabuga Trains 6057/6052
QJ 7038 Chabuga - Zhelimu Train 6051
QJ 6911 Chabuga - Daban Train 6052

Seen in freight service Zhelimu - Chabuga : QJ 6478, 6580, 6632, 6988, 7049, 7163 plus deflectorless 6389 pilot at Zhelimu. Diesels noted DF4- 0444, 0549, 0568 and 0658 including 0549+0568 doubleheaded Chabuga-Zhelimu on 5 March.

Seen in freight service Chabuga-Daban: QJ 6351, 6576, 6825, 6850, 6884, 7037, 7048, 7081

Daban - Haoluku
Passenger Sevice

5 March : QJ 6828 Daban - Haoluku Train 6052
8 March : QJ 6992 Daban - Haoluku Train 6052

Seen in freight service Daban - Haoluku: QJ 6351, 6577, 6630, 6639, 6735, 6760, 6763, 6808, 6828, 6851, 6876, 6878, 6891, 6925, 6978, 6981, 6986, 6998, 7002,7007, 7012, 7040, 7041, 7112, 7143, 7164.

QJ 7114 was noted (rods off) being towed eastbound over the pass on 6 March.

No diesels seen but steam was admittedly struggling with trains up from JingPeng often stopping at the intermediate loops, not for crossings but apparently for blow-ups.

Haoluku - Baiqi
9 March : QJ 6912 Haoluku - Baiqi Train 6052

Seen in freight service Haoluku - Baiqi: QJ 6997, 7088

Baiqi - Benhong
9 March : QJ 7141 Baiqi - Benhong Train 6052

Baiqi pilot was deflectorless QJ 7043, an unidentified deflectorless QJ was pilot at Benhong. QJ 6849 was noted stored (?) at Baiqi shed from passing train

ALL freights seen between Baiqi - Benhong were diesel (DF4/D - 4069/70/71, 4090, 9516/17/18) but QJ 6987 was in steam at Benhong stabling point.


Beijing Area

DF4-2360, 2448
DF4D-0028, 0061
SS9-0110/20/21/22/23/24 (the latter 5 looked brand new on Beijing Diesel Depot)
DF ? - 0007/0009 - semi-streamlined twin unit diesels in blue/white on Beijing Diesel Depot - are these DF11G ? (seen from passing train after dark)

Tongliao Area:

DF4-0538, 2205

Jining Area

DF4-1889, 2632, 3450, 3636/40, 3954, 6019/27/32, 6103/07/09, 6279, 7285/92, 7306, 9153
DF4D-3170/72, 3208

I took train K43 overnight Jining - Pingluo (with DF4D-3208 ex Jining), DF5-1418 pilot Shizuishan, DF4-6117 noted at Pingluo

Only other loco noted DF7C-5370 shunting Maanshan (south of Nanjing) at project I was working on. DF8B-5330/31/32/70/75/97/99.

John Nicholas Middleton

Report by Ulrich Nowak:

I just got back from an 11 day trip (mainly not steam related) to china. However, at the end of that trip I was able to squeze in a couple of days at the Pass.

More or less I can confirm what Zhao Yang (our guide for the 3 days at the pass) stated to Bernd Seiler over phone: 26.03.04 Daban (about 10:30 to 12:00)

Very pleasant temperatures, must have been around + 15C Not a single Diesel in the depot nor in the yard/station Only 6 QJ in steam (4 at the coal yard, 2 at the shed area-not noticed by Zhao Yang)Remaining Locos on line duty...?? 2 more QJ arrived on eastbound freight when we left the depot On way to Reshui saw another double headed eastbound freight... In Afternoon whether conditions changed badly (strong wind arose, clouds) so we just noticed 3 more eastbound and 1 westbound freight from out of our hotel rooms in the new Longquan Hotel before it went totally dark...

Over the next two days nothing special to report regarding to steam operation. Heavy traffic, mainly eastbound. Whether during morning hours (sun on Reshui side as of about 06.00) quite ok (even with white smoke visible). At around noon time on 27 as well as 28 (to a slightly lesser extent) heavy sandstorms started preventing us from taking any other pictures... that sandstorm was mentioned in an front page article in the "China Daily" on March 29 when we arrived back in Beijing.... that says it all...

Zhao Yang talked to the Manager in Daban who stated that Jingpeng Pass won't be dieseliszed before June this year (Hmm, not really long time to go...) and that he personally expects the line to be dieselized during winter 2004/2005...

Ulrich Nowak

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© 2004, John Nicholas Middleton / Ulrich Nowak