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South China Dec 21st 2004 to Jan 2nd 2005

by Dick Walker

Fenghuang (Dec 22nd 2004, Jan 1st 2005)

SY 1667 continues to service some industrial complexes on seperate branch lines from junctions just north and south of Fenghuang CNR station and yard. All trains seen were either propelled F.T. oder pulled tender first. The northwest branch is approximately 3 km long, the northeast about 10km. This comes into Fenghuang yard from the south via a 140 curve. The loco depot and weigh bridge are at the beginning of this curve by a main road crossing, the line leaves town in a northeast direction passing under the Liuzhou-Nanning expressway into featureless countryside. The other branch goes through a few cane fields and a (mine) village before a yard where complex shunting movements take place.
On Jan 1st 2005 in the afternoon, we watched the SY working across the mainline from and to northwestern branch.

Locos: SY 1667, 1622(spare)

Laibin-Heshan (Dec 22nd 2004)

A large banner on the station building proclaimed the age of the diesels had arrived - November 17th 2004. On standby was JS 8354. Only two of the three DF4s reported stored in October were in use.

Locos: JS 8354

Sancha-Luocheng (Dec 22nd /23rd/30th 2004 - Jan 1st 2005)

Arrived at Chayan on Dec 22nd at 15:45. No wagons in yard so explored the line to the north. After several false starts, we found a good gravel road from the village near the sugar mill. It gets to the line just where it starts to go between low hills. The road then follows the line with three level crossings in a short distance before a wider area surrounded by Karst mountains and sugar cane fields. A summit is just before a short tunnel, the line then crosses a flat valley of sugar cane before the next range of Karst mountains. Uphill for southbounhd trains into the short tunnel. The range of Karst mountains is situated by the line via a side valley between the Karsts and a 200/300m tunnel before a main road level crossing and Sanhe station. As no road was found that followed the line a 24 km easterly detour has to be made. From Sanhe station, a rough road follows the line to an angled river bridge, short tunnel and a road-rail-river gorge 1.5 km from Sanhe. Heavy trains work hard through this gorge and away on a gradient of 1:80. We did not get to the next station (Gangtangcun).
At 17:15 JS 8374 arrived light engine at Chayan to work an extra freight track to Luocheng. Lorrys have brought in sacks of fertiliser to be loaded. A rake of vans must be lng in by the SY from factory. Train will not be loaded until 18:30/19:00, so we depart.

All or almost all coal for the fertiliser factory comes from the mines north of Luocheng. The fertiliser factories (one rail connected) near Quangling have a new lease of life: 12 months ago, they looked near to closing, but now output has greatly increased and consumption of coal likewise. So much more traffic for the railway! There is adecent road from the expressway junction Guanglin (near Chayan) to Luocheng were after some shunting, the loco and crew have a lunch break before triping to the mines/factories.

Dec 23rd : cloudy with fair visibility.
We watched the nb train into and away from factory halt (Luoya) loco works, the to the bis curve behnd Quangling village. We drove to position through hills found the day before. Before Chayan, trains was 50% coal+50% vans. After Chayan 100% coal wagons. The SY did follow the train into Chayan with coal empties and took vans back to the factory.

Dec 30th: Dull, rain showers
sb mixed at Chayan at 08:12/37. Sugar mill near station is working at full blast. As advised by staff, SY 0980 propells train of 14 wagons out of the fertiliser works and works hard away from the junction funnel first (junction is on a incline) to Chayan.
09:30 mixed (20 wagons) departs factory halt
10:20 JS waits at Chayan as we drive by
11:20 JS works hard at gorge north of Chayan with 15 wagons
PM walked over river on rail bridge to Sancha station. There are 5 tracks: CNR center, n+S loop, 2 tracks local railway. The local line connects to the end of the CNR north loop, one platform serves local and CNR trains.

Dec 31st 2004: Again cloudy and dull.
At Chayan southbound mixed srrives 08:06: only petrol tankers and the 2 coaches. A long line of wagons is waiting to be attached (23). Train departs 08:45: 26 wagons+coaches. Drive to Sanhe and gorge section, it takes 40 minutes: short train with empty coal wagons passes at 12:12.

Jan 1st 2005: Yizhou sky is clearing as we drive to Chayan where sun is shining.
The southbound mixed is already in the station when we arrive and facing north! 08:20, just as we start to panic that it is going north, it comes off coaches and collects wagons in the loop (from fertiliser factory), then departs 09:15 to Sancha. Northbound mixed is only coaches, watches at the quarry in Karst mountains behind Quangling village - in sun! At 10:05 back to Chayan: SY works in on empty coal wagons (10:25). Drive quickly to narrows, sun now in clouds. Mixed passes 10:47: 2 coaches + empties.

Locos: JS 8374, SY 0980

Conclusion: dispite there being normally only one northbound train a day, with a little luck several shots can be obtained in good scenery either side of Chayan, then around Luocheng and now with the added bonus of the SY working out and in to the fertiliser factory virtually every day.

Jinchengjiang (Dec 23rd 2004)

Visited JinchengjiangXi yard - a sad sight. JSs rusting away, no staff around. By the state of the rails, there has been little traffic today.
Dumped: 8283/85/87/88/90 and 8375. At least 8376 is in steam on stand-by and 8394 is working as pilot between Xi and JCJ main yard.
Drive to Guiyang takes 8h 20 min, weather gets worse: cold, wet and low clouds.

Dulaying (Dec 24th 2004)

On Dec 24th, we first visited Guiyangs best bookshop and bought all maps of this area. All prove to be less than accurate, some roads do not even exist or are on avery different alignment!
So it took some time to find the mainline north and the branch line using SYs. The branch line joins the mainline at Dazhai station/yard, not at Dulaying as reported. 2 SYs in use at a imdustrial complex at the end of the 3 km long line and work to Dazhai infrequently (advised by staff). The branch line from Dulaying is electrified, but also uses diesels and only goes to TaChai. There is no line connecting to Qingzhen as shown on Quails and other maps. We checked the lines around Qingzhen: all use diesels, are freight only.

Anshun (Dec 24th, 27th - 29th 2004)

The town plan of Anshun is accurate, so we soon found our way to the end of the 20km line at Qiaozishan. Here, there are tow mines but one appeared to be closed. SY 0523 was in steam but no work. So, we went on to Liupanshui on Dec 24th, but returned on the 27th.

We finally got a funnel first SY in good scenery! Full trains from Qiaozishan are funnel first and the first 4 kilometers uphill from there offer plenty of good photo positions. Perhaps the best is where the line passes between Karst mountains and below a short one on top of which a fortified monestry. The line is approx north-south at this point. So, there should be a time when the sun is on the moenestry and the line. Full trains only worked pm during our stay. From km 5 to 10 the line is not so interessting but from km 10 to 15 there is an interessting climg (1:80) for northbound empties arriving around a village, rock out crops, across paddy fields and on a ledge below a cliff with more curves. Access is via a polished road from Anshun suburbs (with a bus service) to Chequan.We couldn`t find where the trains terminated in Anshun but they have to use CNR for short sistance to gain access to the large yards. Staff advised, that SY 1152 is based at Anshun. On pilot duties?

Dec 28th : 3 to 4 cm of snow on the night, clear sky and freezing temperatures early morning, but first siuthbound train is booked for 12:00/13:00. It departs 14:00 by which time clouds have returned, temperature rises and most of the snow has melted. The loco returns almost immediately from Anshun and takes another southbound fulls at 16:00 which catches us out!

Dec 29th : Back to wet & misty weather again. Nothing happening at the mine so explored middle part of the line. It curves around a village, there is probably some scope for for photos in good weather. At 11:00, we start a long drive to Guiyang, Hechi and Yizhou where I stay at Paradise hotel (suite at 168Y).

Locos: SY 0523, 0692(stored), 1152(Anshun pilot, not seen), 1165

Liupanshui (Dec 24th - 27th 2004)

Cold, dull and low cloudsduring our stay here.

Wangjiazhai Coal Railway

Found our way to Wangjiazhai and the reported SY worked coal railway. This branches off the spectacular Liupanshui-Dawan line at Yemazhai. Unfortunately, it is only 2 km long and trains are propelled FT into the mine and pulled tender first back to Yemazhai. SY0125 was in steam with 0218 stored, both overhauled at Liuzhou in the last 2 years.

Locos: SY 0125, 0218(stored)

Shuicheng Steelworks

Situated 5 km east of Liupanshui between rocky hills and karst mountains. The whole network is in the local tourist map which is accurate. Public roads bi-seek the works, so access was easy to muchof the system. There are 19 SYs with 11 in use plus 6 GK1C diesels. All trains seen were propelled FT or pulled TF. The slag tip line goeas on a high embankment around the base of a karst mountain with a great view from the valley below. Staff advised it was no longer used. There are two other tip lines (one for slag, one for iron) in use with processing sheds. Hills by the depot would give good vantage positions in decent weather!

Locos: SY 0102, 0105, 0108(dumped), 0175, 0186, 0335, 0405, 0462, 1358
GK1C 0132, 0240

Dick Walker,
Feb 18th 2005

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© 2005, Dick Walker