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Steam in China, October 2013

by Michael Reilly

Tianjin Heavy Machinery Works

A rare snippet of good news. I visited Tianjin Heavy Machinery last Saturday (19 October). Operations continue as described in my March report (china649), however, to my surprise (and delight) I found that SY 1524 is currently being retubed. As it has been in store for over a year, it is hard to imagine them doing this unless steam operations are expected to continue for a while longer. (And despite its grubby external appearance, SY 1007 is also in very good mechanical condition, operating very smoothly and quietly with no signs of leaking steam.)

I had assumed from both previous visits and Pang Dawei's map that the system is basically an inverted 'Y' and that the SY worked trains out of the factory sidings, north onto the leg of the Y, then reversed down to the interchange with CNR at Nancang bridge, reversing the procedure for collecting wagons off CNR. That way, the factory loco would avoid going on to CNR metals. Initial examination of the track on Saturday supported this hypothesis.

However, when operations started in early afternoon, it turned out that the system is more extensive and that there is an additional set of sidings, further north (off Dawei's map). No 1007 collected about 7 wagons from within the Heavy Machinery complex, brought them out and across the level crossing but then promptly uncoupled and headed north, light engine. It had not reappeared before I had to leave, approximately 30 minutes later but I could hear its horn and whistle, suggesting it was shunting sidings. (All of which calls for a further visit!)

SY 1524 being retubed.

SY 1007 shunting.

Michael Reilly

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