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Steam in China - January, February 2008

by David Thomas

Wuhan, Xingyang, Pingdingshan, Nanjing

1. WUHAN. 23/1/08.

Report china424, March 2005, mentioned use of some SYs near Wuhan North station, on the west side of the river, with the shed visible from Wuhan No. 2 road bridge. I could not see any sign of any steam or the shed that appears in the background to a photo in the report. Does anything survive?


The railway was operating on 25/1/08. A procession of lorries was also adding to two large piles of clay at the brick works. On 1/2/08 there was neither lorries nor train, though the lack of railhead rust meant trains had operated the previous day.

3. PINDINGSHAN 26/1/08 to 30/1/08.

Locos seen were:
In steam, JS 5644, 6225, 6253, 8030, 8031, 8054 (passenger), 8057, 8062, 8065 (passenger), 8068, 8122, 8338, 8421. On three days two JS locos just stayed on shed all day.
In the works on 26/1/08: QJs 6786, dismantled, with frames separate from wheels, cab and boiler; 7186, recently used, was being moved into the works from the yard; SY 1687; JS 8062; plus one JS in light steam in new paint, but without numbers re-applied. Was this being prepared for a ‘last steam train’ ceremony?
SY 1209 was in a siding with some parts missing on 26/1, but was no longer there on 30/1.

QJ 6650, not seen on 26/1, appeared LE on the afternoon 28/1, to visit No. 1 mine for coal. It returned and backed on to a train in Shenxi yard and then gradually receded eastwards from sight. It again went LE from the mine towards Tianzhuang yard at 08.45 on 30/1. I went by No 2 bus from the road that goes under the railway just west of the shed to where the railway crosses over the road just south west of No. 8 mine to photograph the incoming passenger train (8065) at 09.30. 6650 had got there first and was in a fire-cleaning siding to the west of the mine. It shunted a few empties onto a train already in the station and then disappeared with them to the east at 10.55. Do the ‘QJs’ from Yuzhou work trains only as far as here, with diesels then taking them directly to the CNR yard?

While in the area I went to Sipo. There is no sign of steam at the shed or steelworks. Everything is diesel.

In the past steam had been heard shunting to the west of PDS passenger station. A town map shows a line north west to some factories. Diesel 10D 0061 brought freight from this line to the CNR station yard at 17.50 on 28/1. I did not go to the factories to see if any steam remains.

Incidentally, two days later attempts at three bus stations in Zhengzhou failed to get a bus ticket to Yuzhou – not even advice to go to another bus station. So is this journey possible by public transport – or should I have been asking for Yuxian?

4. NANJING 3/2/08.

As in October 2005, crossed the Yangzi by the passenger ferry from the terminus of bus 34 (every 20 minutes, 2 yn each way) and walked the length of the long platforms at the disused Pukou station on the west bank. This is different to the West station, which is east of the river. As before, continued to the nearby shed, where a line of 6 JS stood. In 10/05 I thought they had not moved for at least 6 months. Since then their condition has deteriorated, with cab side and headlight glass broken. A further two stood behind some trees in front of the office block. A locked shed contained 4 more, in slightly better condition, though still with peeling paint. So 12 locos in total; in 10/2005 there had been 13. Most had a tablet exchange apparatus on the cab side, implying that they had been used on the same line until withdrawal.

In 10/2005 there had been a steam crane ‘in steam’ on a nearby siding, adjacent to a pile of coal. Now, instead, there is a small conveyor-fed hopper above the track. There was no sigh of ash disposal or a water supply. I checked the siding; it is simply part of a turning triangle. The nearby riverside wharf sidings were shunted by diesels. One line, not explored, not used for a day or two, goes off from those sidings through a gate. Lines shown on the map between the station and the railway bridge over the river are just sidings, not needing a dedicated loco. So why erect the coaling hopper?

David Thomas

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© 2008 David Thomas