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Steam in Shandong province - November 2008

by "TW"


The author of this report has asked to remain anonymous

Yanzhou Coking Plant, November 28th and 29th

In Japan there are many reports about the Yanzhou area where there are several QJs still active.

However, it seems quite difficult for normal foreigners who cannot speak Chinese and donít know much about the location and transportation deep inside China to travel to see these QJ without the help of a local Chinese guide.

Therefore, I decided to go there alone from Japan with minimum knowledge about the area. With this report, I hope everyone can go there to see the real QJ working everyday. And I can say that you can realise these real live steam locomotives are completely different from the Panda in the Zoo.

I thank Mr. Taro Shibata for his good reports in English and Japanese to accomplish my short tour to Yanzhou.

Where is Yanzhou? First of all you can find the place by Google and may find that it is a city in Shandong Province. Unfortunately, the city has no airport and you must go there by train. (I took train from Qingdao, but, Yanzhou is just 150km away from Jinan where there is a local airport where there are many flights from major Chinese cities.)

I arrived Qingdao(TAO) international airport with non-stop flight from Japan, JAL783 at 12:00. (There are 3 non stop flights to Qingdao from Tokyo.) I moved to Qingdao Train Station by taxi and took K70/K67 train. I already reserved the ticket in Japan for 1st class compartment (local cost to be 210RMB). The train left Qingdao at 17:03 and arrived Yanzhou at 02:20 on time. It was my first experience to take a normal train in China and did not feel unsafe whilst on board. Before departure, you should hand your ticket to the train staff and she will visit you 20 minutes prior to the arrival station. Therefore you donít need to miss the station.

In the middle of the night at Yanzhou, the taxi driver Mr. Chan came to pick up at the station. I already asked my friend in China to find a taxi driver to take me to the hotel and guide for this tour for 2 days. I cannot speak Chinese and he cannot speak Japanese at all, but, I did not find any problem to communicate during the tour.

I checked in to the hotel in downtown in Yanzhou (you can book the hotel on the web) and took a short sleep before leaving the hotel for the photo shot of QJ at 7:30. Every report says that there a small hill alongside the shed of QJ, however, I cannot find any hill near the railway from the Coking Plant. I saw 3 QJ in cold condition far behind the long wagons and seemed impossible to enter because there is a high brick wall around the train yard. (The QJ could be 6936, 7188, 7191 which I saw at the Coking Plant in April 2008 D.F.)

Finally I found a 7-8 meters high hill next to the brick wall and found QJ deflector and smoke! Climbing up the hill I found the good view of the yard and the real beautiful QJ that were there.

QJ 6814 was ready for work at the yard and I enjoyed seeing 2 QJ(6814/7126) and QJ 6814 is working to push and pull the very big wagons. Actually, on November 28 (Friday), only QJ 6814 was working and high deflector QJ 7126 did not move in the morning, therefore, I decided to visit again next day (Saturday) to see QJ 7126 in detail. My speculation succeeded, on November 29 (Saturday) at 8:00AM, I could see QJ 7126 being supplied with coal in front of me and I got good shots. But, on Saturday there are no wagons on the yard and it seems there would be no change, therefore I left at 10:30. I think if you can endure to stay until evening, you can get other findings.

Mr. Chan told my friend that he can pick up at Jinan airport or train station and guide you to the Coking Plant and take you back to Jinan for 1600RMB. A one day tour at Yanzhou area will be 150RMB. His mobile phone number is 13964985890. He does not care if you can speak Chinese or not during the tour. Ask your Chinese friend to contact with him and I hope you can find the beautiful QJ 6814 which was just overhauled in Laiwu Dong maintenance center and the star of QJ-high deflector QJ 7126. Maybe you have a chance of more QJ there?

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