Content Welcome News Trip Reports Steam Lines Locomotive List Travel Tips Links

Steam in China - September 2005

Steam in Guizhou and Zhejiang

by John Middleton

Report part based on business visits to Beijing, Guiyang and Hangzhou.

Most of the visits were to places rarely if ever visited by enthusiasts and people were all very welcoming and friendly with much tea drunk and meals offered. It is so sad that so many places have been tainted by disrespectful visitors - why oh why can't enthusiasts show respect for the Chinese way of doing things ????????

CNR Observations

Erlian (China / Mongolia border station)

New 5'0" gauge DF7G are now used for shunting trains through the bogie changing sheds. I traveled on K24 Ulaan Bataar - Beijing and the shunt loco was DF7G 9002 which had a 2004 builders plate.

Erlian - Datong - Beijing

The through coaches of Train K24 were formed of Mongolian stock which was immaculate (cleanest toilets ever seen in China - throughout the journey !!). My coach was of 1993 German build. Some Mongolian coaches were detached at the border and Chinese coaches added. A single DF4-2633 hauled the train to Datong where DF4-1662 took over to Qinglongqiao Reversing station. DF4-5012 took the train through to Beijing (but 1662 stayed on the back to Nankou over the Nankou Pass).

Other new locos noted were: DF8B-5634 (Datong)

Two SY were seen shunting at Xuanhua Steelworks (neither identifiable) and a set of SY wheels was noted at the back of Zhangiakou CNR shed indicating repairs may still be carried out there on (presumably) the Xuanhua locos.


CSR Guiyang Freight Car Works, Dulaxiang 20 September 2005

This is a large wagon works in the town of Dulaxiang about 15 km north of Guiyang. It is served by a 2 km branch which branches off to the east from the north end of Dulaying station. (Note: the Dick Walker report of Dec 2004 stating the branch starts at Dazhai is incorrect, Dazhai is only a passing place on the single track main line to Chongqing). Also note the different names of the CNR station and the town where the works is located.
CSR Guiyang appears to be owned by the SOUTH HUITON GROUP whose name also appears at the gate. The CSR branch heads off across a valley at right angles to the CNR by means of a viaduct and an embankment climbing through a short tunnel before dropping down to the wagon works. The limited photo positions are not helped by the fact the loco runs tender first up to the CNR and propels the wagons back. However, broadsides of the train crossing the valley out of Dulaing are possible from nearby high ground although smoke blowing from a nearby cement works (no rail connection) is a problem.

Entry was attempted the proper way through the main gate and the plant was very friendly providing the company photographer to accompany us down to the 2-road loco shed, here we found:

SY 03592-8-2Tangshan5.1971OOU in shed
SY 08032-8-2Tangshancarried Tangshan plates both sides but rough castings with no date shownin Steam
SY 15752-8-2Tangshanno platespare

SY 0803 had a Liuzhou overhaul date of 6.2004 but the locos are not well kept and a diesel is expected in 2006. All the locos were very grubby and the driver was complaining about leaking tubes on 0803.
SY 0803 only started shunting in the afternoon and ran down to the CNR at 16.00 returning about 45 minutes later. Both CNR and CSR staff said there were usually two runs a day at 16.00 and 22.00.

At CNR Dulaying a non-electrified branch swings away west at the south end of the station - presumably the line to TaChai (Qingzheng) that the Dick Walker report stated was electrified. The only electrified line is the single-track north-south main line through Dulaying. While we were there new DF7G-5085 appeared and may be came from the Qinzheng direction as 5084 was later seen there - see below.

Guiyang Special Steel Works (20 September 2005)

This is a small steel plant in the SE quadrant of the city served by a branch from the north end of Guiyang Dong Station. All was very quiet during our visit with all the locos on shed. A GK1C arrived in June 2005 and apparently does most of the work although an SY was being steamed after repairs and another was still warm in the shed and had probably worked the previous day.

SY 11322-8-2Tangshan4.1981Stored Shed yard
SY 14692-8-2Tangshan7.1986In Steam
SY 14852-8-2Tangshan9.1986In shed
GK1C-0263B-BDHZiyang2005minor Repairs

Guizhou Wujiang Cement Ltd Liability Co (20 September 2005)

A large cement works to the south of the city centre served a 3 km branch down to the CNR at Guiyang Xi. Staff said there were 3-4 trips a day and we were told the next would be in 4 hours, we returned after 3 hours to find we had missed it !! The driver then helpfully shunted up and down in the yard just for us, for no more consideration than a Railway World magazine and a couple of SY prints! This location has previously been reported as "Guiyang Wushui Corporation" but the name on the gate is as above with LLC spelt out in full.
There is also a 762 mm electrified line which runs northwards from the plant and hauls limestone from quarries in bogie side-dump cars. This may be the line reported as running next to CNR near Guiyang Xi with an 0-8-0 back in 1981.

SY 03982-8-2Tangshan7.1971working
SY 14822-8-2Tangshan9.1986in shed
4wWEChangzhou (ZL20) 85.12.2721985working
Staff said there was only one loco on the narrow gauge line but we didn't explore the line.

Lindong Coal Mining Administration; Lindong Mine (24 September 2005)

We investigated the mining areas west of Guiyang. Lindong colliery is just south of the Guiyang-Anshun motorway and about 10 km west of Guiyang. It appears to be served by the network of branches serving Qinzheng although the line from the mine was not followed. We could only find a DF7G and staff said steam had finished in "1980" and there were no others in the area. (Note: the DF7G 5084 is consecutively numbered with the one noted at Dulaying the day before - is there a connection between Dulaying / Quinzheng as shown in Quail (but disputed by Dick Walker - Dec 2004 report) and are these locos owned by a local railway / mining administration ?).
There was also the remains of a 762 mm narrow gauge line at Lindong colliery which looked as if it had once been interesting. The locos and stock were all dumped by a coal offloading bin in the colliery yard. The ng had thus hauled both coal and passengers as there were also two YZ23 coaches and a van plus several bogie wagons.

1435mmDF7G-5084Co-CoDEFeb 7th2004working
762 mm014wWEChangzhou (ZL20) 79.9.0021980derelict
762 mm024wWEChangzhou (ZL20) 79.9.0031980derelict
762 mm034wWEChangzhou (ZL20) *1980derelict
762 mm044wWEChangzhou (ZL20) 83.3.0451983derelict

* Works number details on plate obliterated by corrosion

Qinzheng Power Station (20 September 2005)

Just south of the Guiyang-Anshun expressway in Qinzheng is a large power station served off the Qinzheng network of lines (another power station could be seen behind the hills to the south but was not investigated). The only loco present was DF5-1373 (1995 build date) which staff said was on loan from CNR.

Jiaozishang Coal Mine Railway, near Anshun (24 September 2005)

Previously reported as the Anshun Coal Railway but staff advised that the above is the correct title. (Note: Jiaozishang is the correct Pinyin spelling - it has previously been quoted as Qiaozishan which caused some confusion when we asked for it) This is a superb little line with some great Karst scenery. However, it is about to be dieselized and a brand new DF7G had just arrived although not yet in use (awaiting driver training according to staff).
This is another place where a group of enthusiasts (German in this case) had caused offence and staff at the mine were initially hostile. After some discussion, tea, photos taken of the Railway manager and family including his grandson, (which will be sent back - they even wrote the envelope for me in Mandarin) handouts of Railway World magazines, Chinese railway prints , more discussion about railways elsewhere, nothing was too much trouble. This is where having an interpretor is absolutely indispensable !

The line is 20 km long and runs from a yard directly opposite the platforms on the south side of Anshun CNR station (DF7B 3172 was Anshun CNR pilot). Trains cross the CNR tracks to the north side and join the Coal Mine Railway line just east of the station, it then runs parallel to CNR for a couple of km before swinging away in NE directon. The line is not chaseable nor is it very accessible. However, the road to Jiaozishang was easily found by using the town map (obtained in Guiyang. The road does cross the line twice but seems to be mainly some distance from it (there are also some level crossings in Anshun town but none is particularly interesting and as you can only get one shot per run - not worth considering). The last 5 km or so before the Jiaozishang mine is the best, with excellent Karst mountain scenery through which the line winds. I walked this section, it climbs out of the mine to a summit between two large Karst Mountains, on top of one of which is a fortified monastery. There are some top-draw vantage points on this section including a big S curve although the optimum spot for the monastery shot is after the summit so the loco unfortunately shuts off. The line winds around and so there are morning and afternoon shots in this section. I got the afternoon train in this area which ran with 15 loaded wagons and which was worked very hard up to the summit by SY 1165. Trains work chimney first from the mine and tender first back. There are some broadside photo possibilities for the tender first workings including a nice river bridge a km or so from the mine.

The single road shed is at Jiaozishang Mine at the south end of the yard. There is a small station (was there once a passenger service ?) with the mine loading bins beyond at the north end of the yard. There was also a small railcar obviously used for pw work. There are two sets of loading bins about 500 m apart, the one further from the station did not appear to be in use.

The train register showed three trains in daylight on 24 September, at 06.50, 11.00 and 16.00 from the mine. The turnaround in Anshun is swift, the full round trip from the mine only taking about 90 minutes. There are three SY with one loco in steam, there is no Anshun pilot (as previously reported). Staff were adamant that there are no other steam in Anshun.

This operation is strongly recommended but go now before the DF7G starts work.

SY 05232-8-2Tangshan6.1972spare in shed
SY 06922-8-2Tangshanno platespare in shed
SY 11652-8-2Tangshan3.1982working
DF7G-5122Co-CoDEFeb 7th2005stored
-4WDMRPW railcar

All three SY were in good condition with Liuzhou overhaul dates of June 03 (1165), December 03 (0692), July 04 (0523). All three have seen recent use. Staff could not recall 1152 reported (Dec 2004) as being on the railway and said there were only 3 locos.


I had to attend a conference in Hangzhou but had some spare time on the last day. I had originally intended to concentrate on Shaoxing but the weather was very hot, humid and hazy and thus worthwhile photography was impossible, so I decided to explore a bit more and found the following.

Hangzhou Iron & Steel Works Ltd, Gongshu District, Hangzhou. (28 September 2005)

This medium sized modern steel works is to the north of central Hangzhou (only 20 minutes by taxi). The plant is located in an area to the north of Hangzhou North station on line (Quail Line 17B) off Half Mountain Road / Tianxiang Highway. There are plenty of public roads through the works and the lack of marauding enthusiasts means that everyone is still friendly. Unfortunately steam finished some 3 years ago (according to staff) but 3 SY are still dumped at the old steam shed which is rapidly being encroached on by a large plant expansion, so they may not last much longer. However, all 3 are complete and in reasonable condition. The old steam shed (two road) is on one side of what appeared to be the main exchange yard for the works, the modern diesel depot is on the opposite side of this yard and was only seen from a distance (but at least 4 GK1C could be seen).

SY 16142-8-2Tangshan3.1988Dumped
SY 16422-8-2Tangshan3.1989Dumped
SY 16432-8-2Tangshan3.1989Dumped

At least 4 GK1C were seen but none close enough to identify.

Hangzhou Hangbo Glass Works Ltd, Hongshu District (28 September 2005)

Served by sidings on the north side of CNR at Hangzhou North this works is south of and adajacent to the steel works. The entrance is on Shenban Road. There are two SY one of which is one of the rare Tongling built examples. This was unfortunately in a store with very tight clearances (it was only just possible to squeeze in past the loco to check the worksplate and photos were impossible).

SY 922
(no zero)
SY 17062-8-2Tongling1987stored

Zhenjiang Litie Group Co, near Shaoxing (28 September 2005)

This excellent little line reported by Rob Dickinson is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Unfortunately, our Hangzhou taxi driver who had proved excellent in Hangzhou in finding the Steel and Glass Works proved woefully inept out of town. The worst incident was stopping dead in the fast lane of the expressway because he missed the Shaoxing exit!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From then things rather deteriorated (the next exit is over 20 km) but we did eventually find the railway. However, so much time had been lost (and I had an afternoon flight out of Hangzhou) that I only managed one shot of SY 1447 heading down the line with a load of pellets. I didn't see the other two SY (staff said there were 3) because I wrongly assumed the shed was at the mine, it isn't, its in Shaoxing.
The line is 13 km long as reported and once we had the Shaoxing map purchased locally, very easy to locate. The one train we saw departed from the pelletising plant at 13.00. The iron pellets are railed to Hangzhou Steel Works. We didn't have time to investigate the two electric lines at the mine - I wish I had more time here although the weather was unhelpful and my poor interpretor failed completely in section when I jogged up the yard to find SY 1447 (it was 35 degrees C).

SY 1447 was in ex-works condition, newly repainted and looked very smart, so hopefully steam has a future here.

SY 14472-8-2Tangshan4.1986working

Final Word of warning

Confucious he say - man who tries walking across iron pellets (akin to small marbles), likely to do serious damage to himself.

John Middleton
Washington DC

Content Page Trip Report Page

© 2005, John Middleton jmiddleton1@ifc.org