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Steam in China - March 2005

by Florian Menius / Thorge Bockholt

Part I: Steam OperationPart II: CNR OperationPart III: Industrial Railways

A "classic" tour again, without any day-long-chartered taxi during the whole 4 weeks. On the other hand, given the incredibly low domestic airfares, we used two of them this time: China Eastern from Beijing to Xi`an on Feb 26th at 520Y per Person (RW fare would have been 440Y, YW 280Y) using an A320 aircraft. Second flight was with Sichuan Airline`s A321 from Chongqing to Shanghai: 500Y for a 2-hour-plane ride, just ten Yuan more than the 41-hour-trip by train (YW: 490Y). Air tickets were readily available on short notice at the airport some 3 hours before departure in both occasions.

Part I: Steam Operation

1) Baiyin, Feb 27th-28th 2005

Few to add. Unfortunately, no previous report mentioned, that the road to Shenbutong has got a barrier post at Sanyelian allowing only "visitors accompanied by a local travel agent" to pass. Security made us to leave. So we concentrated on the lower but less spectacular part of the line between Baiyin and Sanyelian.

About halfway between BaiyinShi and BaiyinXi CNR stations, a large industrial complex has got its own two SYs (one in use). It is connected to BaiyinShi by a 4km long track parallel to the CNR line. Unfortunately, a heavly guarded prison is close-by...
Another branch lines leaves BaiyinShi station in north-western direction and heads into the mountains. No idea, how long this line is and how many trains operate there. But it also seems to be independant from the "Baiyin Gongsi" as it uses a SY that was not reported on the Sanyelian-Shenbutong line before (SY1596).

A bus from the LanzhouDong bus terminal (just north-west of Lanzhou CNR) to Baiyin takes just over an hour via expressway. Note, that there are two bus stations at Lanzhou: a private one closer to the railway and the "public" one a few meters further down the road. The driver of the private bus wanted us to buy a (senseless) travel insurance before boarding. No idea why - I never experienced similar things in China. Fortunately, there is always an alternative in China: at the "public" bus terminal, the bus was more confortable, the fare only 2Y higher (17Y instead of 15Y), but and no "insurance" requested... ("...the author beats the system...").

A taxi to Sanyelian costs some 25-30Y. Alternatively, you can take the urban bus No.3. Get off at the big sign "NorthEastern Zinc-Lead-Smelter" and walk northwards along the tracks (about 5 km to Sanyelian).

The BaiyinShi steam passenger station can be easily reached by taking buses 10 or 14 to its northern terminus (they are lettered something with "zhan" (station) as the last character, but I didn`t recognize the whole name).

We stayed at the Tongcheng Binguan in the center of Baiyin again. Highly recommanded as rooms are ok, fairly cheap (double 100Y) and offer hot water 24h a day.

Locos seen:

SY0819, 0965, 1047, 1596

2) Haishiwan-Yaojie-Tiehejinchang, Mar 1st-3rd 2005

At Haishiwan, half-way between Lanzhou and Xining just at the border between Gansu and Qinghai province, a 27 km long steam worked branch line extends northwards. Two different companies operate this line.

A) YaoJie Tielu / 窑街铁路

The YaoJie Tielu operates the lower part of the line between Haishiwan CNR yard and YaoJie.

Length of the line is 12km. The line branches off the CNR about 1.5km west of Haishiwan CNR yard und crosses the Datong River (Datonghe / 大通河) on a large and scenic concrete viaduct, which is more or less parallel to the even more scenic concrete arch viaduct of the CNR line to Xining. Once on the Qinghai side of the river, the local railway swings northwards and follows the Datong river through its spectacular gorge for the next 6 or 7 km - constantly uphill. Three tunnels, two galleries and numerous bridges are featured in the gorge. At about km 8, just between the galleries and the cement factory (Shuinichang / 水泥厂), the summit is reached. Beyond the cement factory, the valley widens, the line goes downhill until the river is crossed on a low concrete viaduct (heavyly spoiled by poles!) at about km10. The final stretch into YaoJie (now in Gansu province again) is uphill again passing settlements and industrial areas.
In addition to the Haishiwan "main line", the YaoJie Tielu also operates the two branch lines from YaoJie to the 1st and 3rd coal mine (Yikuang and Sankuang), each about 2 to 3 km long.

The gorge is easily accessed by the parallel road on the Gansu side of the valley. Bridges to the "Qinghai" side exist close to Haishiwan (main road bridge to Xining just between the local railway and CNR viaduct) as well as at the two hydropower plants in the gorge. The first is just 500m north of the Xining main road at approx. km 2.5, the other one in the middle of the gorge at about km 5. There is a very frequent bus and minibus service between Haishiwan and YaoJie. Intervals are usually less than 5 minutes, fare is 2Y. At Haishiwan, you may also need to take urban bus no.1 as it connects the city center to the CNR railway station (flat fare 0.5Y).

is almost exclusively coal from the two coal mines to Haishiwan CNR. Three SYs are in daily use: two for line work to Haishiwan, the third one performs the trips to the mines. A fourth SY is standby at the railway`s depot at the east end of YaoJie yard. Altogether, the railway owns seven steam locos, six workable SYs and a derelict JF, which is dumped at a compound west of YaoJie yard.

As all locos of the YaoJie Tielu face south, the uphill empty trains from Haishiwan are tender first, due to the grades always using both "line work SYs". Trains can be both double-headed (more frequently during our visit) or banked - no general rule applies. Very hard work for the SYs! Loaded trains southwards to Haishiwan are funnel first single-headers, but trains usually require a banker for the grade between km10 and the cement factory. Banking is either performed by the second line loco (which remains at the train`s rear till Haishiwan then) or by the mine trip loco which will detach at the summit and return light engine to YaoJie.
The trips to the mines are pushed with the SY funnel-to-train for empties. Loaded trains return from the mines hauled, but tender first of course. Trips to the mines are not too frequent, maybe one or two in three hours.

During our 3-day-visit, a very reliable operation scheme applied: in the morning, at around 08:30, a loaded train leaves YaoJie. After a short turnover at Haishiwan, a train of empties returns around 09:30-10:00. Then operation stops for the "lunch break" with all three locos idle at YaoJie for up to 2 hours. Another loaded train to Haishiwan is prepared around noon, but it never departed before 13:30 to 14:00. If the train is too long, it may be split and conveyed to Haishiwan as two separates trains. As soon as both line locos are at Haishiwan (note, that the second line loco may also go to Haishiwan as a light engine working!), a train of empties operates again, leaving Haishiwan somewhen between 15:30 and 18:00.
Delays may occur after rain showers. Then, due to risk of landslips, each freight train operates only after a "clearence and inspection trip" using the railway`s "diesel motor trolley" railcar. Note that the road also can be partly or completely blocked by landslips which seem to be no unusual event in this area.

Railway staff at YaoJie was extremely friendly and helpful including the railway police officers who patrol through the station.

B) Tiehejinchang Tielu / 铁合金厂铁路

The TieHeJinChang Tielu operates the 14 km long line between YaoJie and Tiehejinchang. Both railway staff and Michael Rhodes indicated, that several large viaducts can be found along this railway but we didn`t go there due to bad weather. North of YaoJie, the line is uphill against northbound trains.

Transported goods is also mainly coal, which originates from the two YaoJie mines. The TieHeJinChang TieLu takes over the coal wagons at YaoJie yard, which were brought in from the mines by the YaoJie Tielu`s SY. Possible destinations for the coal are the power plant at LianCheng (LianChengDianChang / 连城电厂) some 3kms north-east of YaoJie and the Aluminium Smelter at Tiehejinchang (Note that the name "Heqiao" is uncommon - local people always refered to Tiehejinchang as the line`s terminus). Wagons for the power plant can be easily identified, as they are private ones featuring the name of the power plant at their sideboards.

In contrast to the YaoJie Tielu, all TieHeJinChang locos face north meaning that loaded trains are funnel first, too (if you are on funnel first trains, it is very convenient just to observe loaded wagons waiting at YaoJie yard...). Due to the gradients against loaded trains, both trains to the Liancheng Power Plant and Tiehejinchang have to be double-headed if trains are longer than 10-12 wagons providing excellent trash!
During our visit, there usually were 2 departures of loaded trains during the YaoJie`s lunch break. Two SYs are in daily use, a third is on standby. They tend to have very tight turnovers at YaoJie, partly less than 10 minutes between arrival and re-departure. Staff indicated about 3 trains per day to the Tiehejinchang and "many" trips to the Liancheng Power Plant. The depot is at the Tiehejinchang, but repairs are carried out at the YaoJie railway`s depot, too.

Locos seen:

TieHeJinChang TieLuSY0150, 0633(oou), 0737(oou), 1097, 1321, 1402(oou), 3020
YaoJie TieLuSY0362, 0527, 0681, 0990, 1103, 1713
JF1 loco (unidentified, dumped at YaoJie)

Locos in bold letters were actually seen. The numbers of the other TieHeJinChang locos were indicated by a loco driver. Repairs and overhauls of the locos of both companies are carried out either at Baiyin or Tianshui.

Around Haishiwan CNR some lüdians exist (10Y, as everywhere). Note, that the HaiShi "Binguan" just next to the station is a fake, as it is in fact also a lüdian. Additionally, it refused to accomodate foreigners. We were made to leave it after the first night by a military official... (fortunately, competition is everywhere - the lüdian some doors away was even better than the "HaiShi BinGuan" and did not "complain" about foreign guests. Two clean bathhouses also exist next to the station (shower 2Y/person).
We were told, that the so called "better" hotels (= more expensive but less suitably situated) are either in town north of the CNR track or nearby the cement factory south the station.

Other steam operations in Gansu/Qinghai
In addition to the YaoJie system, railway staff told us that they are aware of steam locomotive operations at Baiyin, Liujiaxia and at the steelworks of Xining. The latter one has got 6 steam locomotives (I think SYs only, but according to staff also QJs!).

3) Liujiaxia, Mar 3rd 2005

On March 3rd, JS 8226 was observed arriving with the mixed from Liujiaxia from the window of the passing T295 Lanzhou-Wulumuqi.

4) Sandaoling, Mar 4th-6th 2005

Few to add to previous reports. Facts of interest:

Though a quite interesting operation, I think that 2 days are enough for this system provided good weather. We spent our third day at the CNR main line to Wulumuqi (aroung Liushuquan CNR) as we didn`t have any ideas where to go for steam without duplication...

Locos seen:

JS6206, 6208, 6209, 6210, 6223, 6224, 6259, 6261, 6430, 8027, 8040, 8053, 8055, 8078, 8080, 8081, 8167, 8190, 8195, 8197, (8353??, maybe 8053), 8358, 8366, 8368

There are Iveco buses between Hami bus terminal (about 4 km south-east of the CNR station) and Sandaoling about every 30 to 60 minutes. Fare is 10Y only, travel-time some 90 minutes. Buying CNR sleeper tickets for the numerous express trains westwards was no problem at all! Almost any AC train still had some berths during the next days. Only the cheap (green) Non-AC trains were almost booked out.

There is no need at all to stay at Hami when visiting Sandaoling! At Sandaoling, the recently opened "Yinhe Jiudian" / 银河酒店 offers excellent and comfortable rooms at 188Y, but discounts to 120Y. 24h hot water, friendly staff and an excellent restaurant in the basement offering superb Xinjiang dishes (e.g. tomato-beef-soup or lamb in ginger and herbs). Our best hotel of the whole trip!

5) Yinghao, March 8th-9th 2005

Again, few to add: loco 3 served the Liangwa mine, 14 and 17 did the line work performing 4-5 return trips to Yinghao during daylight. All locos were in rather bad external shape as expected, but performed well. The whole area seems to be in very final decline! I have never seen an area with as many derelict buildings and industries as in Yinghao and Huangmen! The "famous" hotel at the main road drops in perfectly: overpriced (60Y for the suite, 40Y for a double), no heating, strange staff and no water at all during the two days we were there (not even cold one!). So, you even had to go to the public toilet (or somewhere in the countryside), if you did not want to have a distinct "taste" in your room... Similar is the bathhouse, which was amongst the worst we have ever visited so far!
Last but not least, Yinghao was one of the few places visited on this trip, where taxi drivers wanted doubled or tripled prices from us. A particular one even has to be classified as a liar: we had agreed 15Y for the trip to Liangwa, but as soon as we were on the way, he wanted 20Y. Of course, he got 15Y only ... (and lost his face...).

Locos seen (complete ones only):

C23, 13(cold), 14, 17

Conclusion: You`ll have to have a strong liking for morbid charme till you feel well in this area...

6) Mianchi, March 9th 2005

Seems to have been (partly? completely?) dieselised. The only loco seen moving was DF10D 0049 at Mianchi yard lettered "YiMianTieYun" / 义渑铁运  (Yima-Mianchi Railway Traffic).

7) Pingdingshan, Mar 10th-13th 2005

Few to add. However some comments:

Complete passenger timetable

Zhongxin - Shisankuang (13th mine)

303305301   302304306
06:0013:4021:50 Zhongxin / 中心 02:0010:0018:10
06:0713:4721:57 Xi Zhan / 西站 01:5409:5418:04
06:1113:5122:01 Damalu / 大乌路 01:5009:4917:59
06:1613:5622:06 Tianzhuang / 田庄 01:4609:4517:55
06:2414:0422:14 Shenxi 01:3809:3717:47
06:3214:1222:22 Bakuang (8th mine) / 八矿 01:3109:3017:40
06:4414:2422:34 Fanzhuangzhan / 范庄站 01:1909:1817:28
06:5214:3222:42 _yunzhen 01:1009:0917:19
07:0114:4122:51 _yunshuyuan 01:0109:0017:10
07:1014.5023:00 Shisankuang (13th mine) / 十三矿 00:5008:5017:00

Zhongxin - Hanzhuang

103105101   102104106
07:4013:3019:15 Zhongxin / 中心 06:5012:0017:58
07:4613:3619:21 Qikuang (7th mine) / 七矿 06:4511:5517:53
07:5713:4719:33 Wukuang (5th mine) / 五矿 06:3411:4417:42
08:0413:5419:40 Jiukuang (9th mine) / 九矿 06:2811:3817:35
08:1514:0519:52 Miao_ 06:1711:2617:23
08:2314:1320:00 Mapaoquan / 马跑泉 06:0911:1817:15
Baofeng / 宝丰 05:57
08:4614:3620:23 Yingzhuang / 影庄 05:5110:5516:52
08:5414:4420:31 _shichang 05:4310:4716:44
09:0414:5420:41 Guo_zhen 05:3510:3916:36
09:1115:0420:48 _ _kuang 05:2510:3116:26
09:1815:0820:58 Junyinggou / 军营沟 05:1810:2416:19
09:2415:1421:04 Dazhuangkuang / 大庄站 05:1310:1816:13
09:2915:1921:10 Dazhuangzhan / 大庄站 05:0710:1216:07
Gaozhuangzhan / 高庄站 05:00
09:4515:3521:20 Hanzhuangzhan / 韩庄站 21:3609:5515:49

Locos seen:

JS5644, 6225, 6429, 6539(hd,oou), 8030, 8031, 8054, 8057, 8062, 8065, 8120, 8122, 8338
QJ2035, 6450(4x-Tender), 6813(oou), 7186
SY0758(oou), 1002, 1209, 1687
GKD10021(Wugang Steelworks)

8) Wanyuan / Qinghua, Mar 14th 2005

The Wanyuan-Baisha branch line (very spectacular alignment - numerous bridges and tunnels, steep grades in both direction) is CNR property and worked by Wanyuan`s DF7 pilot. Few trains though. In contrast to the maps, the line continues beyond Baisha for at least 3-4 kilometers. Further investigation was stopped by police, as Baisha is restricted area... The remarkably long 3 hours at the police office including calling and arrival of a senior police officer from Wanyuan plus the taking of our fingerprints indicate, that the "restricted area" there seems to one of the more "severe" ones...
At least, the police officers told us, that steam at Baisha ended in 1999 and that the only steam locomotives in the area are at Qinghua Steelworks...

Qinghua Steelworks
Qinghua is 14 km south of Wanyuan, the first CNR station towards Dazhou. About two kilomters south of Qinghua a very small steelworks is situated at a point where the gorge widens a bit. The steelworks has 2 SYs, one is in use. It is connected to Qinghua CNR by a some 2 km long track, most of which is parallel to the CNR main line. Locos face south. Due to the general layout, it seems that trains into the steelworks are likely to be pushed, leaving trains hauled tender first. So, few photo possibilities though the surrounding spectacular gorge...

9) Shibanxi, Mar 16th-19th 2005

Basically as reported by Peter Patt.

Conclusion: Shibanxi is real gem! One of the best places visited during our trip!

10) Ganshui, Mar 21st-22nd 2005

Nothing to add. SY1501 has arrived from dieselised Chongqing Steelworks. The lüguan just next to the tunnel entrance at Ganshui has got an excellent room just 2m away from the passing SYs providing a couple of much appreciated disruption of your sleep... ("there is music in the air..."). The railcar service between Baiyan and Ganshui connects to the noon CNR passenger trains (Chongqing-Zunyi and vice versa) at Ganshui. The railcar arrives at Ganshui ca. 11:00, redeparts ca. 12:50. It is a cheap (3Y to Qingqihai) and very fast possibility to get to the line.
At Qingqihai, we met a group of local enthusiasts (Songzhao railway staff!!) who were also taking photos of their steam locomotives...

As trains between Chongqing and Ganshui tend to be crowded, best access probably is by express bus via the new expressway. Buses depart at Chongqing`s "Nanling bus terminal" (about 4-5 km south of the CNR station), cost 26Y (to Ganshui) and travel less than 90 minutes.

Locos seen:

SY0329, 1148, 1197(cold), 1198(cold), 1199, 1501, 1656

11) Ma`anshan, Mar 26th 2005

With heavy rain in the morning we decided to have a (unplanned) "exploration" visit to Ma`anshan using Julien Blanc`s private car (45min from Nanjing via expressway).
In general, there was few steam action going on with most steamed locos standing around idle. Two SYs (1670 and 1733) performed transfer trips between the CNR Ma`anshan yard and the industrial yard next to the depot. Another two SYs (1337 and 1715) hauled slag or molten iron trains at the blast furnace further west. All other steamed SYs moved not a single meter during the whole afternoon as did 7 GK1/GK1C at the loco stabling point, too.
Other locos in use were one GK1, GK1C and GK1F each plus three DF7C. As it was Saturday, the security needed almost two hours to make us leave the area. The guy was very sorry to have to make us leave but told us, that the order came from his chief.
At the "Second Power Plant" (ErDianChang / 二电厂), nothing was moving, too with 2 GK1 and GK1C present. But security guards arrived already after a couple of minutes... The industrial yard north-west of the CNR station also contained two locos doing nothing: one SY and one GK1C. Another sad sight are the 12 dumped/derelict SYs in the depot.

Locos seen:

SY0024(10/66), 0047(oou), 0053, 0054(cold), 0129(oou), 0138(oou), 0214(oou), 0254(oou), 0503(oou), 0627(oou), 0729(oou), 0784(oou), 0789(oou), 0790(oou), 1337, 1361, 1481(8/86), 1499(oou), 1551, 1552(cold), 1670(11/89), 1715(Tangshan 9/91), 1732, 1733
DF7C5656, 5688, 5698, 5699
GK10011(Ziyang/1992), 0013(Ziyang/1992), 0014(Ziyang/1993), 0015(Ziyang/1993), 0035(Ziyang/1994), 0046, 0048(Ziyang/1995), 0081, 0082
GK1C0109(Ziyang/2001), 0110, 0259(Ziyang/2004), 0214(Ziyang/2004)

12) Zhenjiang Limestone Railway, Mar 27th 2005

Was as reported with 2 JS in use (6286, 6536). According to Julien, traffic was remarkably quiet during our visit. Trains tend to run after 10:00 only. So late afternoon visits are to be best as locos face north. JS 6210 had been recorded under steam on Mar 25th at Nanjing Xi depot, probably receiving some repairs there.
Staff indicated, that dieselisation is expected in 2005.

Locos seen:

JS6064(oou), 6210, 6286, 6536, 8119(oou)

Part II: CNR Operation

1) Lanzhou Area, Feb 27th-Mar 3rd, Mar 7th 2005

Four main lines radiate from Lanzhou to Wuwei, Gantang, Baoji and Xining.

a) Lanzhou - Wuwei Nan

b) Lanzhou - BaiyinXi (-Gantang)

c) Lanzhou - Dingxi (-Baoji)
Observations relate to the Lanzhou-Dingxi section only. I do not know whether freight trains change loco between Lanzhou and Baoji or operate through.

d) Lanzhou - Haishiwan (-Xining)

Locos seen:

DF40083, 0134 (Xi), 0270, 0506(Xi), 0704, 1075(Ning), 1076(Ning), 1477(Xi), 1631 (Xi), 1632(Xi), 1633(Xi), 1641(Bai), 1644(Xi), 1935(Xi), 3251, 3803(Xi), 6052(Bai), 6138(Bai), 7007(Bai,decorated)
DF51175, 1688, 1782, 1814, 1816, 1831, 1861, 1876, 1974(low-nose) (all LanzhouXi)
DF75041, 5042 (both LanzhouXi)
NZJ20006(Lanzhou Xi !!)
SS1229, 292, 325, 351, 352, 353, 354, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 380, 381, 419, 425, 576, 577, 580, 581, 582, 636, 639, 640, 641, 643 (all Lanzhou Xi)
SS30007(Xi), 0142(Xi), 0286(Xi), 0361(Xi), 0363(Xi), 0387, 0395(Lan), 0401(Lan), 0409(Xi), 0416(Xi), 0417(Xi), 0418, 0422(Xi), 0441, 0540(Xi), 0556, 0573, 0579(Xi), 0584, 0592(Xi), 0597(Xi), 0609(Lan), 0610(Xi), 0611(Xi), 4215(Lan), 4218(Lan), 4220(Xi), 4221(Xi), 4223(Xi), 5053(Xi), 5054(Xi), 5057(Lan), 6017, 6068, 6082(Lan)
SS3BG0017, 0043(Ying), 0046(Ying), 6032(Ying)
SS7C0021, 0025, 0029, 0043, 0044, 0047, 0060, 0061, 0062 (all Lanzhou Xi)
SS7E0021, 0044(Lan), 0050(Lan)
Bai=Baiyin (now sub-depot of LanzhouXi, incorrect depot code), Lan=Lanzhou, Ning=Xining, Xi=LanzhouXi, Ying=Yingshuikou

2) Hami Area, Mar 4th-6th 2005

The Wulumuqi to Jiayuguan double track main line passes through flat and featureless dessert area. At Hami, all trains change loco (both passenger and freight trains). Note, that most of the line is protected by fences against people entering the tracks. Therefore, photography is quite difficult. Additionally, there seem to be radar or laser installations parallel to the tracks which detect "intruders" - either the "railway police" or the "railway military" will come then and make you leave ... In general, freight traffic is quite dense - up to 5 freight trains per hour and direction may appear, but also breaks of up to 1,5 hours without train.

Express trains are hauled by Wulumuqi based DF11. The (unadvertised) stopping passenger train Shulanhe-Wulumqi has got DF4. Freight trains are single headed and use DF4s of Hami depot, about 80-85% green DF4/DF4B, the rest blue or blue-and-creme DF4C.

East of Hami, the DF11s on the fast trains are Hami based ones. Liuyuan depot seems no longer to exist, all its locos being Hami based now.
All freight trains seen east of Hami were double-headed. On a random basis DF8Bs (60%), DF4C (25%) and DF4B (15%) combine with each other.

Locos seen:

DF4B0150(1977), 0151(1977), 0251(1978), 0280, 0297, 0566, 0592(1983), 0597, 0723(deco), 0754(1985), 1001, 1008(1983), 1013(1984), 1278, 2009(DF4C), 3236, 3499, 3815, 7210, 7215(1988), 7264, 7273, 7275, 7504, 9362, 9363, 9283, 9382 (all Hami)
DF4C4038, 5038(1997), 5050, 5051, 5052, 5225(1999), 5228(1999), 5229, 5230(1999), 5231, 5232, 5269, 5273(1999) (all Hami)
DF8B5177, 5179, 5270, 5273, 5346, 5351, 5376, 5380, 5383, 5415, 5417, 5423, 5486, 5488, 5546, 5547 (all Hami)
DF110183(Wu), 0227(Hami), 0228(Wu), 0229(Wu), 0231(Wu), 0358(Wu)

3) Wuwei Area, Mar 7th 2005

Jiayuaguan based DF11 work the passenger trains between Jiayuguan and WuweiNan without loco change at Zhangye. Freight trains, however, change loco at Zhangye: Jiayuguan based DF4 westwards, Wuwei based DF4 eastwards. Between WuweiNan and Zhangye, all freight trains seen were double-headed, exclusively using green DF4Bs of Wuwei depot.
The most scenic section of line is between Yushi and Pingkouxia with spectacular mountains, dessert and numerous s-bends. The rest of the Zhangye-Wuwei line is rather uninteressting.
At Jinchang CNR yard, there were no signs of a possible steam operation on the branch line northwards, but two DF5 were present.

Locos seen:

DF41837(Wu), 1843(Wu), 3187(Wu,1987), 3365, 3370(Wu), 3638(Jia), 3659(Wu), 3662(Wu), 3664, 3937(Wu), 3939(Wu), 3962, 6070, 6118(Wu), 6139(Wu), 9005(Wu), 9368(Wu)
DF51305(Wu), 1342(Wu)
Jia=Jiayuguan, Wu=WuweiNan

4) Luoyang Area, Mar 8th-9th 2005

Luoyang-Sanmenxia Xi
Passenger trains have SS7D or SS7E. Freight trains are a mixture of 6K and SS6 with a high portion of double-headed trains (>70%). A few Luoyang based SS3B(G) appear, too. Traffic is very dense - up to 5 or 6 trains per direction and hour.

All freight trains seen were SS4 hauled (Luoyang depot).

Locos seen:

DF42391(Xi`an), 2459(Xi`an)
DF70078(Luo), 0212(Luo), 0256(Luo), 0257(Luo), 3104, 5618(Xi`an)
DF10D0049 (Mianchi Coal Railway)
6K001, 004, 009, 011, 014, 016, 017, 019, 025, 031, 035, 036, 041, 043, 044, 045, 050, 053, 059, 063, 065, 067, 069, 071, 074, 075 (all Luoyang)
SS40378, 0380(Luo), 0421(Luo), 0439(Luo), 0441(Luo), 6039(Luo)
SS60003, 0014, 0021, 0022, 0024, 0030, 0039, 0040, 0046, 0048, 0051, 0052 (all Luoyang)
SS7D0005(Xi`an), 0009(Xi`an), 0012(Xi`an), 0033(Xi`an), 0042(Xi`an), 0051(Xi`an), 0053
SS7E0007, 7003(Xi`an)

5) Pingdingshan/Baofeng Area, Mar 13th 2005

DF7 5413 was PDS station pilot, the PDS Dong to Baofeng passengers worked by orange DF4Bs. The double-track main line from Luoyang to Xiangfan is another domain of green DF4s on freight duties, usually single headed and all Luoyang based. Baofeng depot no longer exists as an independant depot. Passenger trains south of Baofeng had either Xiangtan based DF4D (fast trains) or orange Luoyang based DF4 (secondary trains).
At Nanyang, the trackbed of the former ng railway is still visible, but all tracks dismantled.

Though landscape is generally flat, a very scenic section with hills and tunnels exists between Caodian and Nanzhao. Between Fengshuiling and Beizhaodian, the line passes along a water reservoir (east of the line) also providing nice spots in addition to the hills.

Locos seen:

DF40407(Luo), 1626, 1658, 2457(Luo), 2458(Luo), 2460(Luo), 6288(Luo), 6292(Luo), 6295(Luo), 6300(Luo), 6304(Luo), 6328(Luo), 6330(Luo), 6391(Luo), 6497(Luo), 6498(Luo), 6500(Luo), 7510, 9022
DF4D0402, 0533, 0536, 0537, 0538 (all Xiangtan)

6) Wanyuan/Dazhou Area , Mar 14th 2005

The Ankang-Dazhou mainline offers SS7C on passenger trains and SS3B(G) double-units on freight duties. Freight traffic is not overly dense (about one train per direction in 2 hours only). The Wanyuan-Dazhou section offers: Wanyuan-Dazhou is one of the lines to be revisited for modern traction photography!

Locos seen:

DF4DF0351, 4076, 4081, 4169 (all Nanchong)
DF52026(Ch), 2027(Ch)
DF70190, 0276(An)
SS34293(Ch), 5110(Ch), 5114
SS3BG0057, 0069, 0078, 0079, 7001 (all Ankang)
SS7C0042(An), 0063(Ch), 0068(An), 0075(An), 0080(Ch)
An=Ankang, Ch=Chongqing

7) Chongqing/Ganshui Area , Mar 21 st - 22nd 2005

Chongqing-Ganshui: Freight trains + stopp.passenger with SS1, all single headed.
Ganshui-Zunyi: Freight trains + stopp.passenger with Zunyi based SS3 (>80%) or Chongqing based SS1 (rest), usually single headed.

Express trains do not change loco at Ganshui. They are hauled by ChongqingNan based SS3 throughout.

Locos seen:

SS1482(Ch), 484(Ch), 494(seen at Neijiang), 0697(Ch)
SS30053(Zun), 0324(Zun), 0327(Zun), 0639(Zun), 4056, 4253(Ch.Nan), 5089, 8004(Ch.Nan)
Ch=Chongqing, Ch.Nan=Chongqing Nan, Zun=Zunyi

8) Shanghai/Nanjing Area , March 23rd - 27th 2005

Shanghai Area
Passenger trains to Nanjing are >90% Shanghai based DF11 with Nanjing based DF4DKs doing the rest. Freight trains are 100% Nanxiang based DF8B in the vicinity of Shanghai. West of Changzhou, a couple of Nanjing based ND5 fill in, too. Shunting at Shanghai passenger station is duty of each three brand new DF7G and "elderly" ND3. Trains to Hangzhou also are mostly DF11 hauled (both Shanghai and Hangzhou depot), but Hangzhou based DF4D and DF4DK haul about one third of passenger trains. Freight trains have green DF4s.

Nanjing Area
Nanjing`s two depots (Nanjing Xi, the former "pax depot" and Nanjing Dong freight depot) have merged. Both depot codes ("Ning" and "NingDong") can still be seen on the locos. There also seems to be a segragation regarding rapairs: at NanjingDong depot, only ND3, ND5 and DF7 were seen, whereas the "Xi" depot was full of DF5s and DF4Ds, though the latter ones partly had NingDong depot codes, too. Also seen at Xi depot was steamed JS 6210 from the Zhenjiang Limestone Railway, probably receiving some repairs.
Freight trains west- and southwards to Bengbu and Wuhu respectively are 100% ND5 or ND5+ND5 hauled. Passenger trains to Wuhu all had Nanjing based DF4Ds whereas the line to Bengbu offers two thirds DF11 (Shanghai based ones) plus Nanjing based DF4D, DF4DK and Bengbu based (orange) DF4B.

Locos seen:

ND30005(Hu), 0029(Ning), 0032(Ning), 0041(Hu), 0069(Hu)
ND50002, 0009, 0017, 0022, 0025, 0029, 0073, 0075, 0084, 0085, 0091, 0105, 0134, 0144, 0196, 0199, 0200, 0208, 0212, 0216, 0218, 0235, 0249, 0266, 0270, 0274, 0277, 0278, 0279, 0283, 0284, 0291, 0296, 0312, 0314, 0317, 0320, 032, 0339, 0347, 0359, 0367, 0373, 0380, 0382, 0385 (all Nanjing)
DF4D0013(Ning), 0015(Ning), 0088, 0089(Ning), 0459(Ning), 0462(Hang), 0489(Hang), 0512(Hang), 0514(Ning)
DF4DK3037(Ning), 3041(Ning), 3055(Ning), 3056, 3058(Ning), 3078(Ning), 3141(Hang), 3148(Hang), 3197, 3218, 3205(Hang), 3255(Hang), 3266(Hang), 3284(Hang)
DF51625, 1627, 1717, 1718 (all Nanjing)
DF7C5006(Hu), 5010(Ning), 5030(Ning), 5370(Wuhu), 5598(Ning), 5599(Ning), 5600(Ning), 5633(Ning), 5634(Ning), 5636(Ning)
DF7G0030(Nanxiang), 0037(Hu), 0038Hu), 0039(Hu), 0056(Nanxiang), 0059(Nanxiang)
DF8B0003, 0011, 0012, 0016, 0034, 0038, 0039, 0041, 0042, 0058, 0059, 0060, 0061, 0069, 0070, 0072, 5022, 5031, 5057, 5062, 5074, 5077, 5079, 5083, 5120, 5121, 5125, 5126, 5129, 5132, 5278 (all Nanxiang)
DF110007, 0008(Hu), 0019(Hu), 0020(Hu), 0022(Hu), 0027, 0028(Hu), 0029(Hu), 0032(Hu), 0038(Hu), 0043(Hu), 0044(Hu), 0057(Hu), 0058(Hu), 0059, 0073(Hu), 0074(Hu), 0077(Hu), 0079(Hu), 0082(Hu), 0085(Hu), 0096, 0098(Hu), 0107(Hu), 0108(Hu), 0109(Hu), 0110(Hu), 0121(Hu), 0134(Hu), 0136(Hu), 0152(Hu), 0154(Hu), 0155(Hu), 0156(Hu), 0172(Hu), 0173(Hu), 0174(Hu), 0175(Hu), 0176(Hu), 0200, 0248(Hu), 0272(Hu), 0300(Hu), 0301(Hu), 0302(Hang), 0333(Hu), 0334(Hu), 0337(Hu), 0343(Hu), 0344(Hu), 0345(Hu), 0346(Hu), 0349(Hu), 0350(Hu), 0351(Hu), 0353(Hu), 0373(Hang), 0384(Hu), 0385(Hu), 0404(Hu), 0405(Hang), 0409, 0411(Hu),0412(Hu), 0413(Hu), 0417(Hu), 0433(Hu), 0435(Hu), 0437(Hu), 0438(Hu), 1898(Hu, "ZhouEnlai-Locomotive")
DF11G0001, 0002, 0003, 0004, 0027, 0053, 0054, 0057, 0058 (all Hu)
NZJ17001 (Hu)
Hang=Hangzhou, Hu=Shanghai, Ning=Nanjing

Part III: Industrial Railways

1) Shawan (Mojiang Coal Mine), Mar 15th 2005

Just as reported. Busy operation with 6 locos in use.
Shawan is easily reached from Leshan by minibus (6Y, 75min). From Shawan / 沙湾 bus terminal, it is 3.2 km taxi ride to the ng railway on the other side of the river. Alternatively, you may also take a bus towards Taiping / 太平. Get off at the big factory complex about 1.5 km after the river bridge.

Locos seen:


2) Qixiashan Limestone Railway, Mar 27th 2005

About 1 km north-east of the CNR station Qixiashan (Nanjing-Shanghai line, 20km east of Nanjing), a large cement factory is located. The limestone is mined at a quarry some 10 km further south. Between the factory and the mine, the limestone is transported by means of an electrified narrow gauge railway (900mm or 1000mm). The line crosses under the CNR line just east of the CNR station.
Operation is on Monday to Friday only when the factory works as well. The railway has got a very modern appearance. The electric locos were all built at nearby Changzhou in 1995/96, but are of 3 different types. Before that date, "other" electrics were used.
The only diesel loco (GKD5B) works a passenger service (SSuX) between the factory (dep.07:30) and the mine (dep 17:00) consisting of three green, but derelict YZ coaches.

Locos seen:

electric (Bo)03, 1 loco (unidentifyable)
electric (BoŽBoŽ)08,09
electric (Bo+Bo)04

3) Longtan Limestone Railway, Mar 27th 2005

About 1km east of Longtan CNR (which is 28 km east of Nanjing) another cement factory exists. It also has got a narrow gauge limestone railway but is independant from the Qixiashan one. The line is 762mm, 13.5 km long and leads south-westwards probably to the same limestone quarries also served by the Qixiashan railway. The Longtan terminus is inside the cement factory security parameter but we could pass the gate without problem when we told what we were looking for. Just after leaving the cement factory, the line features a tunnel (appr. 300-400m long) in a steep gradient against empty (westbound) trains.
Motive power are two JMY380 diesel locos, which haul up to 12 pairs of trains along the line. Two rakes of wagons are in daily use (including weekends).


The trip was a quite pleasant one, mainly to areas mostly new to me. But probably it was our last tour with emphasis on "steam locations". Now, I can say to have seen most steam operations in China considered to be "major" ones. But except for Shibanxi, no location visited was such good to become a "must" for a revisit. My next tour(s) probably will be modern traction oriented with an occassional steam fill-in if appropriate. In my opinion, photographing SS1 or SS3 on a busy mainline in scenic landscape is a much better way to spend one`s time than to visit run-down industrial areas just to see the twice daily movements of some SYs there...
Watch out for http://www.df4-country.de website! I may happen that it materialises soon!

Dresden, April 11th 2005
Florian Menius / Thorge Bockholt
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© 2005, Florian Menius