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Steam in China - August 2004

by Peter Patt

Yanzhou, Huainan, Yongcheng, PeiTun

Yanzhou Coal Railway

The Yanzhou-Zhoucheng coal mine system was visited and it was pretty disappointing:
  1. The number of active QJ is down to 7 now. The railway has a total of 11 servicable engines but will roster only a maximum of 7 per shift.
    Locomotives seen in service were: QJ 3461, 3538, 6811, 6841, 6936, 7188, 7190.
    Dumped at the Zhoucheng depot are: QJ 3595, 6284, 6782, 6848, 6933, 7125.
    Out of the 7 QJs, only a maximum of 4 are working at a time, the others idle at DaZhongZhang depot.
  2. The number of hyper-ugly DF4DDs has increased.
  3. In total 8 mines are served by rail: 2 exclusively by diesel, 6 by diesel and steam. The mines are: BaoDian(D/S), YangCun (D/S), DongTan (D/S), NanTun (D), XingRong (D/S), Jining #2 (D/S), Jining #3 (D/S) and BeiXu (D).
  4. Operation pattern are typical mining style: all trains run when needed/requested by the mines, long periods of no activity at all change with 4 trains leaving DaZhongZhang depot within 15 minutes. There is no turntable on the line and the locomotives faces in both directions, thus tender and smokebox first workings are unpredictable.
  5. An uninspiring flat agricultural landscape, the above mentioned tender first workings, the mixture of diesel and steam trains, "Chinese" coal-efficient driving, the long distances between the mines (sometimes up to 60 Kilometer) and partly VERY bad road conditions make it hard to satisfy a railfan's desires.
  6. Steam locomotives are still being sent to the LaiWu repairshop but in 2006 the line will be completely diesel operated.


The Suizi system is now an all-DF4-system, the JS have been transferred to the Yongxia Mineral Company in Yongcheng and a coal mine called "Pingdingshan" - I couldn't find out, whether it is "the" Pingdingshan...
All traces of steam activity are gone at Suizi: all steam facilities have been demolished, 2 brandnew diesel maintenance lines will soon be taken into service.

Yongcheng Coal Railway

More positive news from the Yongmei Group Railway at Yongcheng:
  1. 4 QJ and 1 JS are present, 3 locos are needed at one time: during my visit I saw QJ 3550 and 3439 plus JS 8383 working, QJ 3000 awaits repairs and QJ 3552 was seen inside the repairshop. All QJs are in excellent condition, QJ 3550 carries not only propaganda brass but also a builder plate on both sides of the tender! Really a very nice sight. JS 8383 in opposition is fairly shabby.
  2. The JS is used for local shunting duties and trips to the mines, while the QJ handle the heavy mine-traffic and the 2.800 ton coal trains to the CNR exchange yard at Qingtan.
  3. All locos face South. As there are no turning facilities at the mines/CNR yard, half of all trains run tender-first.
  4. The entire infrastructure is modern, the lines to the various coalmines pass through flat rural land, sometimes small rivers are crossed but overall I would rate the photographic potential as low. The yard offers some nice departures shots to the South


During a short 2 hour visit to the PeiTun shed it was confirmed that QJ handle only 1 through train per shift nowadays.
SY 2024, QJ 7032 and 7075 were found in steam, the latter one hauling a heavy coal train southward around 15:00.

No more DF4 are planned to be purchased for the moment.

Peter Patt

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© 2004, Peter Patt, email: info@globesteam.de