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Steam in China - November 2004

by Stephan Thierfelder/Karsten Fischer

Liujiaxia, Baiyin, DaGu, JiTong

We mainly focussed on line side photography and did not spend much time on shed visits. The only arrangements in advanced we made were the flights from Frankfurt to Beijing and back and the single flight Beijing - Lanzhou. The planning for this trip was based on reports / maps from the homepages of Florian Menius and Hans Schaefer. Many thanks to all reporters for the very valuable information. In general we can confirm most of the information but can add some interesting details for future visitors.

Beijing - Lanzhou - Liujiaxia, 13 Nov 2004

We arrived by LH 720 in Beijing at 9:30 and continued with CA 1221 to Lanzhou. Arriving in Lanzhou city (the airport is some 70 km outside of the city and connected by direct buses) at 18:30 we had to realize at the Western bus station that there was no bus service anymore at this time to Liujiaxia. We therefore continued by taxi to Liujiaxia (150 Yuan acc. to taxameter).

Liujiaxia, 14-15 Nov 2004

In the morning JS 8226 was waiting in the shed yard of Gucheng to haul the passenger to Liujiaxia/HekouNan. JS 8227 was station pilot and now has proper number plates. The engine is serving some factories around Gucheng to collect/distribute freight waggons. On 15 Nov we even saw the engine with a short freight coming from Kogjiashi towards Gucheng via the superb gorge section at about 11:30. Interesting photo positions for the train 003 (Gucheng - Liujiaxia) may be the rocks between Gucheng and Liujiaxia and the market in the station rails of Liujiaxia. For train 8794 (Liujiaxia - HekouNan) some very good photo positions may be found in the gorge section between Dachuan - Kongjiashi. The most convenient and quickest possibility to reach the gorge section is taking the tarred road beginning at the suspension brigde in the centre of Liujiaxia crossing the Yellow River (HuangHe) by one of the small ferries (only for cars and minibusses) and continuing on a bad dirt road to the gorge section. We did not check the following section. The map below is based on the map of Florian Menius' report from September 2004 with some additional details.

Baiyin, 16 Nov 2004

We arrived by train 5705 from Lanzhou to Baiyin Shi (city station) (arr. about 13:30)and took a taxi to the line to Shenbutong/Sanyelian North of the town. The maps supplied by Warwick Mead (Sept 2004) have been very helpful directing the taxi driver. About 5 kilometers after leaving the city limits the road crosses the line and passes by a station (no station name was visible). The railway line then continues through a very scenic gorge.
We can confirm the basic train schedule suggested by Florian Menius but include the following modifications for the trains we have seen:

15:15 Baiyin Shi - Shenbutong
Confirmed. The train with SY 965 stopped at the nameless station at about 15:35

16:15 Baiyin Gongsi - Sanyelian
This train (SY 1563 tender first) passed the station already at 15:55 and is probably empty stock for a train returning to Baiyin Shi at about 17:15. The engine just changed to the other end of the train and continued to Shenbutong (see below)

17:15 Baiyin Shi - Shenbutong
This train was built by the engine/coaches workers train arriving at about 17:15 at the station of Baiyin Shi, leaving 17:25.

Moreover we saw a freight working towards Baiyin with SY 1047 at 15:05. All engines were in very good external conditions, the passenger coaches looked a bit filthy ...

DaGu, 17 and 18 Nov 2004

Based on our present observations of two days and a previous trip to this line in Nov 2003 we suggest a morning and an afternoon working in each direction (all timings for Lingwu, North of town at the sand dune section), the timing may vary within 30 minutes:
08:30 train towards Daba
09:00 train towards Guyaozi (crossing with train mention above in Lingwu station)
13:45 train towards Guyaozi
15:20 trains towards Daba

Some trains conveyed oil tankers. We could identify QJ 6832 and 7194

JiTong, 19-25 Nov 2004

Jining Nan - Lindong 19/20 Nov with passenger train 6051 leaving Jining Nan at 14:38.

Jining - Benhong: CR-Diesel
Benhong - Baiqi: Passenger diesel-hauled, but Benhong still has a steam station pilot
Baiqi - Haoluku: Passenger steam-hauled; a diesel engine was shunting in Baiqi, all freights were diesel
Haoluku - Daban: Passenger steam-hauled, we crossed diesel double headed freights as well as steam hauled trains (about 50%)
Daban - Chabuga: Passenger and all freights steam-hauled.

Daban - Chabuga, 20-22 Nov 2004

All trains steam-hauled, about 50 % were double headed; on average there was a train about every two hours in each direction.

Daban - Haoluku, 23-25 Nov 2004

On average about 50 % of the freights are diesel (single or double headed) or diesel-steam combinations, although it could be all diesel at one morning (e.g. on 24 Nov with clear blue sky and snow!!) with more steam trains in the afternoon. The traction does not seem to be predictable. We even observed light engine workings between Shandian and Jingpeng for diesel and steam engines, piloting a following train over the gradient section, those trains often arrived in Jingpeng single headed.

Cologne December 02nd 2004
Stephan Thierfelder/Karsten Fischer

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© 2004, Stephan Thierfelder: email: stephan.thierfelder@gmx.de