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Steam in China - Jitong, Pinzhuang, Yuanbaoshan - March 2005

by Chris Yapp

Jitong Line

In mid March I spent five days on the Chabuga to Daban section staying overnight at Lindong (3 nights) and Daban (1 night) followed by one day at Pinzhuang and Yuanbaoshan. I joined a tour group at Beijing Bei Station on Sunday 13th March and travelled overnight on Train 1456 as far as Chifeng - the group continued on the train to Tongliao to travel on the Jitong Line back to Lindong during the next day. I had arranged a car for lineside photography for the day before rejoining the group for dinner at Lindong. I spent 4 of the next 5 days with the group - on Thursday 17th two of us hired a car whilst the remainder of the group used a bus to for lineside photography between Lindong and Daban. On Friday 18th March, the tour bus took us to Chifeng for an overnight stop and visits to Pinzhuang and Yuanbaoshan on Saturday 19th. Then it was back to Beijing on Train 2560.

During the five days 14th to 18th March we saw 33 different QJ in action or on shed including the deflectorless yard pilots at Chabuga (6900) and Daban (6884). Of these, three were ex-works in February/March (6911, 7007 and 7143). We also saw 7030 marshalled in an eastbound freight on its way to works.

During the week, we received information on steam working over the Jingpeng Pass resulting from non-availability of diesels - 3 trains on 15th March, 6 on 16th and 6 on 17th. These were 24 hour not daytime totals. On the 17th we saw two westbound steam departures from Daban - the first at about 16:00 and the second around dusk. On the 18th we saw an eastbound steam arrival at Daban at about 12:30. The level of activity over the pass was probably the explanation of the number of single headed trains on the Chabuga - Daban section.

Traffic levels between Chabuga and Daban tended to decline as the week passed by - 10 freight on daylight on 14th and 12 on 15th but, on Friday 18th, traffic levels were low - only 3 freight observed up to 13:00. Overall, traffic was heavier eastbound than westbound with afternoon light engine workings in afternoons. Some westbound freights were short.

7010 worked the passenger on 4 of the 5 days - being replaced by 7104 on the 18th to allow for a boiler washout. Only one diesel was seen working between Chabuga and Daban - on 16th March DF46031 arrived at Chabuga heading an eastbound freight heading for Tongliao depot for maintenance or repair. We also saw another diesel dead in an eastbound freight.

The following QJ were seen in service:
6751, 6825, 6849, 6850, 6851, 6884, 6891, 6900, 6911, 6925, 6978, 6986, 6988, 6991, 6992, 6998, 7002, 7007, 7009, 7010, 7037, 7038, 7040, 7041, 7049, 7063, 7081, 7104, 7105, 7119, 7137, 7143, 7163

Other QJ seen at Daban depot on 18th March were:
Maintenance hall: 6981
Back roads and scrap line: 6632, 6638, 6639, 6729, 6763, 6795, 6828, 6844, 6853, 6876, 6926, 6996 and one unidentified
Front roads: 6630, 6735, 6840, 6882, 6905


There was a fair amount of activity during our morning visit to Pinzhuang on Saturday 19th March. We saw JS5758 and SY1084 (with deflectors) working on the deep mine section with SY 1084 (also with deflectors) and SY210 both in steam at the stabling point by the washery. JS1001 was out of use and stored in the compound that had previously housed the KD6. SY0463 was shunting the sidings above the opencast pit, SY0798 (apparently recently ex-works) was in the permanent way yard while track panels were unloaded, and SY0517 and SY0943 were in steam in the yard above the big pit. Three SY (including 1487) we seen working in the opencast pit. Overall, the activity level was not high - maybe because it was a Saturday.


We spent the afternoon on the Yuanbaoshan system. We saw 5 trains during our visit: At 12:30 we saw JS8216 on a freight from Xishan to Yuanbaoshan CNR. At 13:50 JS8250 brought a freight into Xishan yard from the branch north of Xishan. We chased JS8249 on the 14:00 mixed from Xishan to Fenshuigou. On our return to Xishan we found JS8246 (with high deflectors) had arrived on a freight. Lastly, at 15:50, we saw JS6246 on a freight to Xishan off the mines branch.

We encountered no problems of access at Xishan - the staff we saw were friendly but, given that it was a Saturday afternoon, senior management was probably not present. The depot was locked and therefore not accessible.

Chris Yapp

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© 2005, Chris Yapp chris@chrisyapp.fsnet.co.uk