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Steam in China - November 2008

by Jeff Cartledge


Nov 24th to 27th

The major change is that to the passenger services. The early morning & early evening ones no longer run.
Although any sort of official timetable could not be found, observing the workings & by getting drivers to write down times, what follows is pretty close to what happens.

No. 103 to Sanjiazi starts at Xiamiaozi at around 06.20/25.
No. 203 to Linghe starts at Xiamiaozi, going to Huangjia, returning in time to allow passengers to transfer to the Sanjiazi train, as before, but departs, as does the Sanjiazi train, slightly earlier, at around 06.30/35.
The return workings of these trains, No. 204 from Linghe was never observed, as it was always worked by a BJ, No. 104 seems now to depart Sanjiazi at 09.00.
Linghe train goes through to Huangjia, Sanjiazi train terminates at Xiamiaozi.

The afternoon trains are totally retimed on their outward runs.
No. 105 to Sanjiazi, now starts at Xiamiaozi at 14.14.
No. 205 to Linghe, starts at Xiamiaozi at 13.52, going to Huangjia, arr 14.00, dep 14.02 arriving back at Xiamiaozi at 14.10. It then departs to Linghe at 14.34.
No. 206 we were told returns from Linghe at 17.00, but never checked this out, nor return times of No. 106 from Sanjiazi.

There is a now a new road from Zaojiatun to the expressway interchange at Linghe, which offers a good photo position, looking down onto the railway bridge over the river, should you be lucky enough to get an SY on a train back from Linghe during daylight hours (only one that ran up there for us, was the afternoon passenger & the return of that would have required O.Winston Link's help). This new road has considerably reduced traffic on the existing road that follows the line.
This new road starts, after passing under stone bridge for the N.G. electric line at Zaojiatun Mine. A couple of hundred yards further on, there is a junction, with the new road going off to your left, at the point where the existing road starts to go right & begins to climb up to the summit.

SY 0366, 0754, 1299 all working, 1478 cold in the shed, but obviously spare loco. 1092 stored intact, but has 1299's tender, which has a ruptured water tank, collision damage no doubt.

BJ 3132, 3241, 3248, 3290, all seen working, but luckily do not do so, all at the same time.

With 7 engines available, there were times when you could find 3 or 4 waiting at Xiamiaozi for their next turn.

Morning Passengers. On 3 of the 4 days we were here, Sanjiazi was SY, all 4 days Linghe was a BJ.
Afternoon Passengers. On 3 of the 4 days, Sanjiazi was a BJ, all 4 days Linghe was a SY.

Inter mine trains, over the top, between Zaojiatun & Linghe, were in the hands of BJs.
Coal between Zaojiatun & the power station, could be either SY or BJ. Look out here though for empties from the power station, not going back down the hill to Xiamiaozi, but flying through Hongshila station & up the bank, going up the other line to Weizigou Mine. This was regular, but not a set train, so check with the siding controller, to try & see where the empties will go.
The power station is having another generating hall & chimney built, so in the future will need even more coal.

Last time here in March, we were chased out all the time by some security jobsworth at Xiamiaozi, preventing us from getting to the control office, or the yard & police on two occasions, took a keen interest in us at the level crossing at Huangjia, which we thought at the time some of this was probably as a result of the then upcoming Olympics. This would appear to be true, as all was back to normal this time, with nobody bothering us & we spent many an hour in the control, being cooked, at a temperature, that only Chinese could find to be normal.

Still a nice system & still worth a visit, but it was typical Nanpiao, whatever you logically think that train is going to do, it will probably do the opposite.

Jeff Cartledge

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2008 Jeff Cartledge