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Railways in China

Shanghai, Qishuyan, Changzhou, Nanjing, Fuyang, Yanzhou Area, Pingdingshan

by Roy Bowden

Here is a brief report of my most recent China trip from 13.04.05 to 25.04.05. This was a mixed traction trip visiting Shanghai, Qishuyan, Changzhou, Nanjing, Fuyang, Yanzhou area, and Pingdingshan.


Qishuyan works was visited on 14.04.05 and contained quite a few body shells for new DF8B and DF11G locos. Brand new and ready for delivery to Taiyuan depot were DF8Bs 0157 and 0158. Interestingly, despite Robin's recent report of the creation of a new Taiyuan bureau, both locos carried the Beijing bureau character.
Many locos were under repair in the workshops including DF11s 0097 and 0242, DF4B 2527, and DF8B 5004. Just out of the paintshop was DF8 0136 from Mudanjiang depot, and DF8B 0015 which returned to its home depot of Nanxiang later that afternoon.
I was able to get a permit to visit the works at the main gate, but video was very definitely not allowed, and the area around the repair shops seemed to be particularly sensitive so, even with a permit, caution is advised.


An interesting location on the Shanghai to Nanjing line where I was able to set up about 200 metres from the station area. Most traffic was fairly predictable - passenger services had DF11 and NYJ1 from Shanghai depot, and DF4D and DK from Nanjing Dong depot. Freight services were mostly powered by DF8Bs from Nanxiang with the occasional ND5 from Nanjing Dong which would work as far as the yard to the east of the city.

Locos filmed:
DF4DK 3037 (NingDong) DF11 0156 (Hu) ND5 unidentified (NingDong) NYJ1 7001 (Hu) DF8B 5126 (Nanxiang) DF4D 0203 (NingDong) DF11 0404 (Hu) DF11G x 2 unidentified (Hu) DF8B 0004 (Nanxiang) DF8B 0036 (Nanxiang).

Freight trains to and from Nanxiang seem to be periodically staged at various points along this route to let the faster trains through and then run in fleets.


On 15.04.05 an enjoyable morning was spent filming on and around the Yangtse River Bridge and its northern approaches. Rail and road traffic was extremely busy and the river was shrouded in mist.

Locos filmed:
ND5s on freight and postal services
DF11 and DF4DK on passenger services
All locos too far away to identify.


Arrived at Fuyang at 05:30 on 16.04.05 having travelled on the overnight sleeper from Nanjing. A 30 minute taxi drive brought us to the Luohe to Fuyang railway yard at Fuyang Xi. At work were DF4Bs 7718 and 7719 (recently built at Datong) and a high deflector QJ could be seen in steam on the depot, to which admission was not allowed. There seems to be one regular steam turn remaining at Fuyang and QJ 1268 duly arrived before 09:00 on a long rake of loaded coal wagons from the Luohe direction. If previous operational practices are still in force, it would have taken over the train at Jieshu.
While waiting for the QJ to arrive, I could hear lots of railway activity not too far away, and on exploration found it to be the marshalling yard at Fuyang Bei. To my surprise, I was given permission to film and the results were as follows.

Locos filmed - Fuyang Bei:
DF4B 3747 (Hefei) DF4B 7530 (Fuyang) DF4B 9353 (Fuyang) DF4B 3737 (Fuyang) DF4C 5061 (Fuyang) DF4B 1313 (Hefei) DF4B 3741 (Fuyang) DF4B 1801 (no bureau or depot characters).
DF11 0421 passed on an overnight sleeper from Beijing and looked to be a Beijing bureau loco, perhaps Beijing Xi. I can't be sure as I was doing a panning shot at the time. Confirmation or otherwise would be appreciated.

Locos filmed- Fuyang Xi
DF4Bs 7719 and 7718 both marked as maximum speed 100 km/h
QJ 1268


An intended visit to the Yanzhou Coal Railway on 18.04.05 brought an interesting discovery. The driver got totally lost and was directed by his father to a location with five steam locomotives. This turned out to be not the Yanzhou system but a totally separate operation owned by the Zibo Coal Mining Company which despite the name is located close to the Zou Xian end of the road from Yanzhou. I'm not sure exactly where but it is about 30 minutes drive from the Yanzhou system.

The local management were as surprised to see me as I was to see them, and they told me that I was the first foreigner to visit, but thanks to the efforts of my guide, Sun Xiaolan, this accidental trespass became an official visit and I was given a guided tour of the small loco workshop with permission to film anywhere I wished. Unfortunately the movement orders for the day hadn't yet been received and activities were concentrated around the stabling point.

Locos filmed:
QJs (all high deflector) 7130, 7121 (dumped), 7127, 7124, and one freshly painted unidentified example with a Datong 1986 plate.

To commemorate the occasion I was asked to pose in front of QJ 7127 for an official photograph.

The management may well be amenable to future visitors if approached in the proper way but I would stress that it would be most inadvisable to enter, film, and photograph without official approval. It was only thanks to Xiaolan's diplomatic skills that this accidental incursion turned out the way that it did.
After this bit of unintended excitement, the Yanzhou system was visited as planned. I don't think that I have anything new to report so I won't elaborate too much.

Locos filmed:
QJs 7188 and 3461 in service, QJs 6814 and 3538 in steam but didn't leave the stabling point.
DF4DDs 0039, 0030, 0038, 0031, 1023, 1022 in service. The DF4DDs are marked as limited to 80 km/h.

The next couple of days involved the trip by road to Pingdingshan via Xuzhou and Zhengzhou.


20 and 21.04.05 brought unusually sunny and clear weather at PDS resulting in probably the best video footage I've taken at this location especially by the lake on the climb to Mine 1. Clear skies, still waters, virtually perfect steam reflections - almost beyond belief.
The railway continues to be JS dominated, and I won't detail them all: I was glad to see JS 8421 in action, JS 8054 was under overhaul in the works and JS 5644 had just been repainted. QJs 2035, 6450, 6650 and 7186 were all in steam but only 2035 and to a lesser extent 6650 were really active on the system. QJ 6690 was being put back together after an extensive overhaul and 6785 was on shed and I didn't see it move. QJ 6813 was still parked outside the works and may be dumped.
SYs 1002 and 1687 are still in service (1002 is the westbound passenger loco). The two diesels remain extremely active and are kept in immaculate condition, sadly this no longer applies to many of the steam fleet and there has been a marked deterioration in their external appearance which is usually a bad sign, although the management state that they would like to keep steam for as long as possible for economic reasons. Indicative of the change, JS 8120 has now lost its smokebox decorations and is now just a normal JS.

It was then a flight from Zhengzhou to Shanghai for a bit more CNR activity around the city.


I decided to start with some video coverage of the Hangzhou line and spent about an hour on Xinqiao station.

Locos filmed:
DF11 0098 (Hu) ,DF4B 1371 (Nanxiang), ND3 (unidentified) stabled on trackworkers accommodation train, DF11 0157 (Hu), DF4D 0487 (Hangzhou), DF4DK 3256 (Hangzhou), DF11 0117 (Hu), and also seen but not filmed DF4B 7703 (Nanxiang) a DF4E rebuild.

On to Anting on the Nanjing line. Locos filmed and positively identified:
DF4DK 3054 (NingDong), DF8B 5174 (Nanxiang)

Finally km 8 west of Shanghai Xi.
Locos filmed:
DF11 0019 (Hu), DF4B 7709 (Nanxiang) a DF4E rebuild, DF11 0029 (Hu), DF4DK 3142 (Hangzhou), DF4D 0130 (probably NingDong), DF11 0026 (Hu), DF7G 0036 (Hu), DF11 0153 (Hu), DF11 0432 (probably Hangzhou), DF11 0370 (Hangzhou)


It was then home to the UK courtesy of KLM 896. I arrived safely on 25.04 05, and my luggage arrived equally safely on the following day!!


It was a highly enjoyable trip, but it would be misleading not to mention the increasing difficulties in filming activities on CNR certainly within the Shanghai bureau. Access is generally not allowed even to small stations, and amazingly the authorities seem to have been successful in preventing the locals using the railway as a public thoroughfare (quite rightly). This combined with fencing and an extensive tree planting programme also makes access to rural locations much more difficult than I have previously known it.
Having said that, it can still be done but there is also the increasingly pervasive influence of various people with leather jackets and mobile phones who seem to enjoy maintaining "security".
All of this is totally outweighed by the countless spontaneous acts of kindness by the ordinary Chinese people. These are done without any desire for personal reward, and I am sure they are very quickly forgotten by those concerned, but not by me.
Finally, I would like to thank my guide, Sun Xiaolan, from the China Liaoning Steam Photographic Association - absolutely fantastic in every way . Xiaolan would like to expand the business to incorporate modern traction as well as steam

Roy Bowden

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© 2005, Roy Bowden rybowden@spdvp.co.uk