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Steam in China, July 2011

by Michael Reilly


I visited Guanlin steelworks in Luoyang on 16 July. Getting there is easy from the new Luoyang Longmen HSR station on the Zhengzhou-Xi'an line and I travelled there and back in the day comfortably from Zhengzhou. The steelworks are visible to the north of the high-speed line approaching from Zhengzhou and from the station either take a taxi to Guanlin Temple (Guanlin Miao), fare approx RMB10, or walk north to Guanlin Avenue, turn right and walk due east for about 2 miles to the temple. Once at the temple, walk to the eastern boundary, then go due north to the northern boundary. Ignoring the semi-derelict machine works across the road, turn right and walk due east for about 15 minutes, keeping the machine works on the left, until the road narrows and bends to the left slightly. A set of level crossings is there and the loco-stabling point is on the other side.

I found SYs 1339 and 1316 in steam. Under cover behind a locked gate were nos 2014, and with its cab removed, 0866. From talking to a friendly fitter in my basic Chinese, it would appear that just 2 locos in steam is now the norm and traffic is erratic. Basically, he said, the locos are steamed daily then wait on the stabling point for instructions by phone from within the steelworks. After a wait of about an hour, 1339 came to life to shunt a rake of wagons from an adjacent loading point back across the level crosing into the machine works area, returning a short while later with another rake. After shunting this further, it then moved off into the steelworks to work there. I had a train to catch so didn't try to follow. The steelworks also appears to have a fleet of diesel shunters - I saw one of these hauling a rake of slag wagons across the level crossing whilst there. Given recent comments about the lack of action at Guanlin I was pleasantly surprised. It's certainly not the most active site but as someone who spent several hours on occasions last year at Zoucheng waiting for movement from QJs, and can recall hours at NCB collieries and power stations in the UK in the mid-1970s waiting for the briefest of movements from industrial saddle tanks, it compared very favourably with both those experiences.



I got a fleeting glimpse of the Xingyang brickworks loading point from the train in each direction. While there were clearly no operations (not surprising given the weather) earthmoving equipment was in situ, suggesting the latest stop may again be temporary.

Michael Reilly

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2011 Michael Reilly