Steam in China - October 2004
by Bernd Seiler
Zhenjiang Limestone Railway
Some 20 km south-west of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, is a large industrial and mining area which is linked to the China Railway Zhengjiang - Nanjing by a local railway. The locoshed of the railway is in Weigang. Weigang is about three km south of the small city Shima. In Weigang are an open cast iron ore mine, several limestone quarries and some other industry.
The railway is some 15 km long and links the limestone quarry with the unloading station near the state railway which is close to the Yangtze river. It is not known whether the limestone is connected via conveyor belts either to a harbour at the Yangtze or to another loading facility at the state railway.
There are about 5 to 7 return trips each day. After loading the modern wagons the trains have to pass the weight bridge at the station before they're rolling down to the unloading point. Due to the self unloading wagons the unloading process is very quick. The trains return empty after just 35 - 40 minutes.
Locomotives are at least seven JS. All locomotives facing north. So the uphill empty trains are always tender first, while the rolling down loaded trains are chimney first. Photographic potential is limited due to a forest of poles along the line. Some rural pictures with hills in the backdrop are possible, anyhow. The best spots seems to be the water tower in Weigang and the departure from the loading point south of the station with the huge factory in the backdrop.
Locomotives (October 30th, 2004):
JS 6064 out of use
JS 6118 dumped
JS 6210 not seen
JS 6286 not seen
JS 6288 line service
JS 6536 shunter
JS 8119 dumped
The old locoshed in Weigang with water crane and coal facilities is out of use. Instead they built a new maintenance hall nearby which was occupied by two wagons under repair and a railcar. The railway owns at least 55 of the 1986 to 1990 built self unloading wagons.
Zhenjiang Coke plant
The coke plant is situated in the north-eastern suburbs of Zhangjiang. They own at least two SY which are facing south. The level crossings are staffed 24 hours a day but we were told that there are a few trains daily only. Often the trains are running between 8.00 and 9.00 am and 14.00 and 15.00 pm. In the night are some more activity possible. The line is some 3 km long and leads from the coke plant south to the Zhengjiang freight terminal which is in the south-eastern part of Zhangjiang. Sometimes the steam locos are serving two factories south of the station as well. The final factory, also looking like a coke factory, very close to a prison. So it would be not well advised to go there without a permit.
There are some good shots possible with the coke plant as backdrop and with the level crossings in the city. However, it would be not worth a visit to Zhengjiang if this would be the only steam railway there.
In the coke plant there is t least one guy who do not accept foreign visitors. So if you like to take unauthorised pictures go there at least with a bicycle to escape before he can start to bother you.
Locomotive seen in service: SY 1279
Zhengjiang Port Container Co.
The local line from Zhengjiang to Dagang (east of Zhengjiang) was doubt to have still steam. We visited this line as well as a gate keeper of the coke plant said this line is served by steam too. We found a brand new industrial diesel locomotive with a train leaving the port towards Zhengjiang. It seems that the line got several new bridges because of road construction as well as new ballast. The line has some photographic potential, but who will go there for just some bulky diesels?
North of Shaheyi (at the Beijing - Shanghai line north of Tangshan) there is a small station called Xinshan. From there is a some four kilometres long line to the north to Chuzhankou which is served by steam. Another location north of Muchangkou, which is nine kilometres north of Shaheyi is called Shuichang. There are several industrial places linked by the railway to Shaheyi. Last year they bought two diesel locomotives for line service to Shaheyi. Anyhow, there are still 14 to 15 steam locomotives in use in the industrial sites around Shuichang. Base of the steam locos is Dashihe.
Another steam location. This is an industrial site in Zhuzhou. There are three companies who are using SYs. At least seven steam locos are in place. Some numbers and more details are know as well, but at the moment I can not find my notices. If I can find these information I'll add it to my tour report.
Bernd Seiler, email: firstname.lastname@example.org