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Steam in China, February 2009

by Dave Gorton

Jalainur, Baiyin, Sandaoling

Notes on a trip by myself, Peter Shirley and Donald Wilson with Mike Ma as guide

Jalainur, 14th-16th February

Visited on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday using Manzhouli flights from and back to Beijing. The new diesels are brand new Beijing built DF7G 5198/9 and are kept in a shed at Daqiao between the yard there and the line off to Tiebei. Trains of 20 loaded wagons were being hauled up the climb from the coal silos at Dongfanghong by two locos. Usual shunt loco SY 1601 was in charge until departure. On one occasion a diesel assisted but more usually another SY, once deflector fitted SY 1416. Further deep mine locos at work were SY 1126, 1448, 1618 and one other.
The new loco coaling facility in the opencast mine near the "Office Control Station" (510) was well used and offered some interesting new photo opportunities. Spoil trains were working but all unloading was being done within the mine. The only train noted (from a distance) on the now singled line from 510 towards Nanzhan was a SY and passenger coach in late afternoon. The usual glint shots as the sun set had to be concentrated mainly on coal trains working the lower levels of the mine.

Baiyin, 17th, 18th February

Here for one and a half days when SY 2008 was on the morning passenger to Shenbutong, but on the upper stretch of the line, the sun was nowhere near on the track when it passed. On the first day, SY 0612 on the freight of tipper wagons for the mine appeared on the line above Sanyelian at 9:40, soon after the returning passenger to Baiyin, by which time there was sun on the track. However on the second day the freight was cancelled. Other SY noted working were 0819, having completed the overhaul that was about to commence last November, and 1583. SY 1013 and 1047 were both in steam at the running shed but there didn't seem to be any work for them. In the workshop, the overhaul of SY 1097 from Yaojie-Tiehejinchang continues. In the compound alongside the workshop it has been replaced by SY 0965 which now accompanies SY 0150 and 1470.

Sandaoling, 19th-22nd February

The news of diesels here are that none have been ordered yet but 6 are expected to be in a plan appearing in June and may be second hand rather than new. The diesels would be required for a new deep mine to the west of the opencast mine, which would require a connection to China Railway that would be lengthier than from the present deep mines.
On the connection to China Railway, no top and tail workings were seen, most empties workings consisted of short trains by Sandaoling standards. JS 6204 and JS 6208 were the most usual locos used on the connection although 4 other JS were available at Nanzhan. One interesting empties working included several flat wagons loaded with mining equipment which were then worked on from Nanzhan along the deep mine connection. Workings to the deep mines were hauled by JS rather than propelled, although when SY 1729 was used, wagons were propelled.
In the workshops, JS 8053 was having a major overhaul. When the passenger to Xibolizhan was seen it was worked by SY 1593. Spoil train working was as busy as ever.
The new track that was being laid at Nanzhan in November is now in use but at the moment is only used for light engine movements to an ashing out point. The track towards Sandaoling town that appeared out of use last November has now been lifted. Looking down from the radio masts at the eastern end of the opencast mine, privately owned lorries could be seen bringing coal out of the east end of the mine for loading onto rail, this being more cost effective than laying track to where the coal was being excavated.

Dave Gorton

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2009 Dave Gorton