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Steam in China - November 2010

by Michael Reilly

Xingyang Brickworks

I visited Xingyang last Wednesday (3 November). The railway was not operating, however, I got the impression this might be another temporary shutdown rather than permanent, so have produced this short report in case of wider interest.

I took advantage of a business trip to Zhengzhou to visit the Xingyang Brickworks railway on 3 November. I hired a car and driver to take me there, thinking that would also give me more flexibility. The cost of RMB500 for the day seemed to compare favourably with what Peter Semmelroch had paid for taxis on his visit last April. Bernd Seiler's map proved invaluable. There was considerable scepticism at my hotel in Zhengzhou that Xingyang even had a railway station but once directed there on arrival, we quickly found the brickworks railway, thanks to the map. The level crossing barriers on the road were also a helpful landmark.

The railway was not operating however, nor was there anyone around, apart from a lady watering her cabbages. Although the gates to the depot were padlocked shut, access was possible through the ungated entrance nearer the level crossing. Two rakes of wagons were lined up in the yard, loco no 207 was locked in the shed and 07 was outside but under cover (and with a tender numbered 207). Judging by the rust on the rails, no trains had worked for some time. The motion on no 07 was well lubricated however, and water was dripping from by the injector clack and also from the feed pipe from the tender, suggesting it may have seen use fairly recently. The brickworks were clearly operating and dumper trucks were active shifting clay at two of the unloading points. Judging from the piles of clay and the condition of 07, an optimistic but not unreasonable conclusion is that this was another temporary shutdown while the clay stockpiles are reduced, and that operation may resume in another few weeks' time. We can only hope so!


Michael Reilly

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