The International Steam Pages

Steam in China, 1999 - 2011

Shibanxi Heaven
The World's Last Real
Steam Narrow Gauge
Passenger Railway on DVD
Read  Keith Chester's Review

Shibanxi Gold
Updating Shibanxi Heaven
The World's Last Real
Steam Narrow Gauge
Passenger Railway on DVD

Logging Off
The Ultimate Chinese
Forestry Railway DVD
Read Keith Chester's Review

Battlefield Heroes
Henan's two 21st Century
Steam Narrow Gauge
Survivors on DVD
(Xingyang and Yinghao)

Coal in the Hills
The Huanan Coal
Railway on DVD
(With bonus Dahuichang short)

This page provides links to the China reports between 1999 and 2011, the older reports from 1996 to 1999 are on a separate page.

The following represents a good starting point (links added 27th April 2007) for those wanting to know more about Chinese steam in the 21st Century. Some are mainly pictorial, others include background information including the dreaded 'modern traction', not to mention the model railway scene. Often they contain links to further sites.

As from the beginning of March 2005, I decided not to carry current reports on China, if you want to know why, then click here.  Rest assured that from time to time (but not so often these days) Yuehong and I go out to enjoy real Chinese steam which is the best in the world. Exceptionally I have added  reports of my fourth visit (17th June 2006), my fifth visit (23rd June 2007), my sixth visit (15th March 2008), my seventh visit (updated 25th June 2009), my eighth visit (updated 22nd March 2010) and my ninth visit (updated 7th April 2011) to Shibanxi, a useful summary of Chinese steam activity in 2006 from Bernd Seiler of Far Rail (30th June 2006) a report of my November 2007 visit to Jalainur/Zhalainuoer (updated 15th November 2008) and a December 2008 visit to the Xingyang Brickworks Railway (updated 25th June 2009).

Click here for an introduction to Steam in China. If you make have an interest in Chinese Railways you ought to consider subscribing to the Steam_in_China Newsgroup - try Personally I find most such groups unsatisfactory owing to the mass of personal messages and inconsequential gossip which drowns out the important news. 

Frustrated with the Chinese Timetable?
Duncan Peattie may have the answer.

Quail China Railway Atlas - the 3rd edition is now available - see (23rd June 2008).

This page used to carry details of China reports as they came in. Earlier reports (1996-1999) are still available. Of course, much of that is history but do not ignore them because there are lines which have not been visited for some years.... You can check out individual steam lines on the narrow gauge summary page (updated with a visit to Shibanxi, 12th March 2010) and the standard gauge summary page (updated with a visit to Jalainur/Zhalainuoer, updated 15th November 2008). Visitors should be aware that it is not all plain sailing in China - see my page on 'Dangers and Annoyances' (updated 3rd March 2004). See also Chinese narrow gauge mysteries (updated 29th May 2007).

For a local photo gallery of the forestry railways check out Zhao Gang's pages (amended 24th May 2004), how nice at last to see Chinese people appreciating their own heritage.

The narrow gauge steam operated forestry railways rightly had a lot of attention in recent years. Of the four operating in 2001/2, Ganhe, Zhanhe and Shanhetun have since closed and Weihe operated its final season (albeit without a passenger train) from 20th November 2002 until 20th March 2003. "They think it's all over". Well it is now and if you never saw sights like this while you had the chance, then as a steam railway enthusiast, your life is incomplete. 

The last major report I uploaded was John Agnew and Jeremy Wainright's account of their trip through west China which had already appeared on Florian Menius's site but I also uploaded a copy to my site because of its considerable interest (14th December 2004). I also posted my affectionate farewell to the JingPeng Pass (2nd November 2004).  As noted above I have exceptionally added a report of a visit to Shibanxi (17th June 2006), a further one (23rd June 2007), my brief visit in March 2008 and my seventh visit in June 2009, not to mention a report of my November 2007 visit to Jalainur/Zhalainuoer (updated 15th November 2008). The other reports referred to below will rapidly become history....

Covering my own more recent expeditions, in October 2003, I visited the two major remaining steam narrow gauge systems of any length at Huanan and Shibanxi/Jiayang - read the report (8th November 2003). If you prefer a hand job, then the minimum gauge mine system at Huangcun at the top of the Shibanxi railway may appeal. I was so struck by Shibanxi that I returned in March 2004, the result is more of a personal statement than a steam trip report (1st April 2004). Since when I have visited the recently discovered Yinghao Coal Railway (11th June 2004) and made a return to Huanan (21st October 2004). I have even been (a little reluctantly) to the Jingpeng Pass for a last look before the diesels take over completely (2nd November 2004), as well as making the first recorded visit to the Shaoxing Iron Ore Railway (10th November 2004) and a delightful session on the Xingyang Brickworks Railway (17th November 2004).

Derek Jenkins visited Pingdingshan, Zhungeer and a number of steelworks in November/December 2003 (17th December 2003). Dave Whitfield has been in south China, reporting mainly on Hechi and Shibanxi (20th December 2003). David Longman spent his Christmas away in Northern China (pictures added 29th January 2004), I quote "probably my most enjoyable solo trip around China". I know the feeling very well from my own December visit, but I would definitely have to leave out the "probably" as some readers will already know. On the way he bumped into Ameling Algra on a four week trip in north and central China (5th January 2004). Adrian Freeman was in northern China, Huanan, Hegang, Tiefa and Nanpiao in December 2003/January 2004 (26th January 2004). Ian Wright has provided a brief summary of a Steam in Paradise tour over New Year 2003/4, north-west of Beijing (28th January 2004). Louis Cerny has once again come up with some fascinating new discoveries (updated 7th April 2004), this time south of Beijing, to which I have appended Steve Nakoneczny's report on a visit to Shanghai No. 5 steelworks. Michael Rhodes rushed all over China in February 2004 (11th March 2004), at much the same time as Roy Laverick (11th March 2004). David Huntbatch reports (1st April 2004) on a February 2004 trip that includes Jalainur as well as more frequently visited locations. Maanshan is the 'new destination' for 2004, there are several reports available on the SY-Country site (1st April 2004). Note also a report of another 'new steam line' at Yongcheng (4th April 2004) and potentially even more interesting a steam line near Hami in Xinjiang (6th May 2004). In the far west of China, Warwick Mead has provided a detailed first report of a significant SY operation at Baiyin (27th July 2004) while the Sy Country site has the first report from the new 'Big Pit' at Sandaoling near Hami. David Thomas had a solo swing through North China in October/November 2004.

Well, you didn't need a degree in rocket science to work out that even fewer visitors than ever headed for China during the 2003 Summer, but the situation has effectively returned to 'normal' and I was delighted to receive Louis Cerny's report which features two major steam discoveries in Liaoning at Nanpiao and Jinxi (30th August 2003). Louis Cerny's appearance at Nanpiao was not entirely welcome but regular correspondent Zhang Xin Sheng told me (29th September 2003) that their should not be problems for future visitors to get the appropriate permits - since when there have been mixed experiences... Greg Howell spent time working in Shanghai during the summer has posted reports of the Shanghai area and also Zhengzhou (31st August 2003). He has also been to the Shibanxi and Weiyuan narrow gauge lines in Sichuan (29th September 2003). John Middleton has also been to Sichuan (9th October 2003). Chris Yapp made a wide ranging tour in October 2003 to which I have now added Bill Alborough's notes on Jalainur (14th November 2003). Michael Rhodes and the 'Extreme Steam' mob visited a number of established sites south of Beijing in October 2003, no startling news, but good reassurance of steam surviving active in quantity (pictures added 21st November 2003, including Pingdingshan in the sun...). Stephan Thierfelder visited Tongchuan, the DaGu Railway and the ZhunDong Railway in November 2003 (24th November 2003) and David Thomas made a wide ranging trip in October 2003 (25th November 2003). I visited the 'new line' at Nanpiao in December 2003 (13th December 2003) apart from smashing up one of my cameras while stone cold sober I enjoyed my (photographically challenging) week here..

The Wuhai/Jilantai line finally succumbed to dieselisation on 20th June 2003, reports Zhang Xin Sheng (23rd June 2003). Bernd Seiler has been to China (again...), (7th May 2003). Hugh Ballantyne reports on a RTC trip to China (Guanxi, Yuanbaoshan, Dahuichang all 'normal', pictures added 7th May 2003), Jim Hutzler and Greg Howell have separately been to Tongchuan (10th April 2003) Greg Howell has had a quick trip to Pingdingshan (1st April 2003), Derek Jenkins led another Steam and Safaris Tour (23rd March 2003), Ian Jameson was on the Enthusiast Holidays North China trip (23rd March 2003) and the Extreme Steam have returned from their 13th visit, read Michael Rhodes report (17th March 2003). I had a number of other reports awaiting my return (all 3rd March 2003). These include Florian Menius's summary, Adrian Freeman's trip to Pingdingshan and Handan and Roy Laverick in North China, to which I have added further reports from Ian Bowskill and John Agnew (6th March 2003, more pictures added to the latter 15th March 2003), the latter including the fulllest report I have yet seen of the Heiboashan railway in the far north. I added a short trip to China to my North Korean adventure, not much to report but regular visitors will enjoy my pictures of Beitai and Weihe (1st March 2003), and no doubt the tales of the unfortunate Mrs. Dung. Regular correspondent Ameling Algra has snored his way round China (14th January 2003). David Longman spent his Christmas holiday in China, his report (6th January 2003).will be useful to individual travellers - visits to Handan and Beitai iron/steelworks are particularly interesting.   Derek Jenkins is a regular visitor and a tour leader for Steam and Safaris, his latest report covers most of the country's more popular spots - note one or two suggestions from his visit to Liuzhou Locomotive and Rolling Stock Works... (2nd January 2003).  Bernd Seiler has discovered another previously unreported QJ line - the Dagu Railway on the edge of the desert in Ningxia Province and has appended a full report on the branch out of Wuhai. (Wuhai added 6th January 2003). See his web pages for more details. Michael Rhodes found the JFs alive at Tongchuan and fog at Pindingshan (24th December 2002). Duncan Cotterill made a second visit to China in November/December, the report is on his own web page (10th December 2002). Bernd Seiler reports on the first part of his tour of Central and Southern China in November 2002 (7th December 2002). Tim Murray reports on his 'China cheap and cheerful trip' in November 2002 (2nd December 2002). John Middleton was in China in November 2002 (mainly news on the still active JFs at Tongchuan)- (added 1st December 2002). Bruce Evans has added more details of Pindingshan operations (added1st December 2002). Roy Bowden has circulated a summary of his November 2002 trip (18th November 2002). The Steam_in_China Newsgroup has been buzzing with news of two new QJ lines mentioned on a Japanese website (29th September 2002). I am grateful to Florian Menius for the following summary. "Firstly, the Zhungeer (- Batuta) line uses QJ+QJ. It is 72km long, an extension of the electrified "Feng-Zhung" (Fengzhen-Zhungeer) line. Fengzhen is situated some 45km north of Datong along the mainline to Jining. The electrified single track line Datong-Zhungeer (with Datong-Fengzhen parallel to the CNR mainline but on the other side of the valley) has no passenger train advertised in the Chinese timetable. (Batuta is between Dongsheng and Daliuta). Some two years ago, Hans Schaefer discovered a newspaper article announcing that the first part of a coal railway line between Zhungeer and Dongsheng was completed. Though Peter Patt, Hans, Florian and others tried to get any information about this line, they were unsuccessful (Furthermore, it is/was likely that a extension of an electrified line would be electric, as well ...)  Jun Shirakawa adds (12th November 2002) that there are at least 14 QJs working regularly here.  Secondly, the Shacheng branch line is: QJ, JS and diesels - Shacheng is a major junction station on the Beijing-Datong mainline(s)." For more information check out as usual (a summary of the emerging information has been posted, 21st November 2002). The originally quoted site is worth checking but is in Japanese If you have an SY fetish then you need to read Bill Alborough's report from the coal mines and steel works of the North East from September/October 2002 (4th November 2002). Bernd Seiler has posted a report on his own site covering his September/October 2002 visits covering mainly Jixi coal mines, Huanan (sg and ng), Yinta, Benxi and Yuanbaoshan (4th November 2002).

Duncan Cotterill has been back to his usual haunts up north (9th January 2002). Louis Cerny reports on more Jitong developments (pictures/map added 28th October 2001). I have had two separate reports that QJ line-working at Da'An Bei has finished (1st November 2001). Derek Jenkins has reported (7th November 2001) on the October 2001 Steam and Safaris trip to northern China - playing safe with mainly Chengde, Fuxin and Tiefa industrials and the inevitable 4 days at Jingpeng. Alexandre Gillieron and Hans Schaefer have sent some brief notes on the current Baoutou - Shenmu operation (12th November 2001). Hans Schaefer has also provided notes on the current JiTong operation including a revised loco list (more information including the first diesel freight over the Jingpeng Pass, 16th November 2001), see also Bill Alborough's information on its evaluation (21st November 2001).  Hans Schaefer confirms it has gone back to Baiqi (5th December 2001). The Railway held its second steam festival between December 1st and 5th 2001. Brand new DF4Ds in Baichi reported Bill Alborough (4th October 2000). Hans Schaefer sent a list of JiTong Railway QJs and some background information (7th November 1999, with additions 30th January 2000). He sent some further comments, 6th March 2000, which prompted further input from Duncan Cotterill (26th March 2000). Hans Schaefer has sent a further list (9th November 2000). If you can contribute please get in touch. October 2001 visitors have reported heavy traffic and new stations opened (28th October 2001). JiTong's Xilinhot-Sanggandalai New Line Bill Alborough tells me that more than a dozen QJs, new to the railway, are stored at Baichi ex-works for the JiTong's Xilinhot-Sanggandalai new line due to open in October 21st 2002.  Louis Cerny reported on his visit. Passenger services have changed again (2nd November 2001) - click here for further information. DF 4 4054 was at Reshui reported Mike Tyack (30th January 2002).  Within a day, it was gone, to haul a special load back from Tongliao, it may have been borrowed en route as the line is very busy. Mike reports the pilot loco dropping back to Jingpeng to become train engine on the next train and so on. Also early February midday temperatures above zero.... As of 10th February 2002, I shall not be carrying (new) reports of this line until the authorities clean up the 'photographic permit' scam. As of August 2002, it seems the new line to Xilinhot opened on 1st August but it has been diesel operated since then (22nd August 2002).

Florian Menius told me (from Peter-H Patt) that CNR steam at Da'an, Fuxin and Yebaishou would not end before Summer 2002. That was almost certainly  not totally true. More information (10th October 2001) on Trevor Maxted reports (17th October 2001) "No CNR line work at Fuxin we were told, all Fuxin QJ working in the Beipiao area and looking very tired." But with steam rapidly coming to an end, how about the ultimate souvenir? Tangshan locomotive works would still build you an SY to take home (and possibly any other design you might come up with), points out Adrian Smith (16th February 2002), but the link died a long time ago..

One bright new star was the Yinta-Hequ Local Line in Shanxi (24th October 2001). However note that Mike Tyack's contact suggests this line may see just 7 trains a MONTH (7th November 2001). Jan Willem van Dorp has made a wide ranging trip through the country in September/October 2001 - lots of hints and ideas for independent travellers like me here (added 19th November 2001). Jiayuguan (Gansu Province) is not a name which appears very often on this page (updated 5th December 2001). However, Trevor Maxted has information on the steel works steam. I went off to China on December 12th so please excuse the mixed up nature of assorted bad news from north China (11th December 2001). My initial report on Sichuan steam is now available (pictures added 24th January 2002) to which I have added a eulogy to the Chenjia local railway - with a note on Pingshi's first diesel (pictures added 24th January 2002). My visits to Jiyuan and WangBai were a complete disaster (9th January 2002). With time on my hands, I had a couple of days in the sun at Chengde, I was told that construction of the new line had just begun (completion in 3 years) and before then diesels (3?) might be working as early as April 2002. With the general demise of steam, more and more people are heading south... Gernot Gmeinhart has sent me a belated report of such a trip (9th January 2002) but it includes news of a new SY passenger service near Chenzhou. Bryan Acford headed south in November 2001 too (9th January 2002). Derek Jenkins reports on Steam and Safaris November/December 2001 trip to north China (pictures of Huanan added 16th June 2002) - major points of interest being a revisit to Jixi and initial information on Qitaihe in the same area. Michael Rhodes has been back to North China (SYS, Tiefa, JiTong) in December 2001 (12th January 2002). Alexandre Gillieron provides some useful hints for the difficult Shanhetun Forestry Railway and reports on two visits to the WangBai system with very different outcomes (pictures of Wangbai added 24th March 2002). Adrian Freeman and friends have been in the north-east - Huanan (operating well before its winter break), Weihe (reported now to be in its final season), Shuangyashan (almost diesel free but for how long?), Hegang and Tiefa. Well worth a read (Ronald Olsen's comments added 21st January 2002). Bruce Evans has had a look at some of those places not so far from Beijing which appear in the IRS book but have attracted few, if any, recent visitors (26th January 2002). Ron Lingley reports on the Steam in Paradise Tour at New Year 2002 with mainstream destinations (27th January 2002). In Sichuan, the new extension to the line south from Neijiang to Zhaotong and Dongchuan was reported open in late 2001. A photograph in a local paper (given me by Li Nan) showed a QJ at the head of a celebratory train - but it must be likely that it had been used for construction trains and regular services will use 'modern traction' (31st January 2002). Trevor Maxted found 5 JFs and 2 diesels on the coal line at Tongchuan in January 2002. (6th February 2002)  John Agnew's group was maybe the last visitors to see the Tonghua JS and Zhanhe C2s at work during their North China trip. It would be nice to be proved wrong... (22nd March 2002) Mark Lanham submitted very full reports from Weihe and Shanhetun (17th February 2002). I spent a month on the last four steam logging lines in China and you can now read my own reports Shanhetun (separate), Weihe (separate) and Ganhe and Zhanhe (pictures added 5th April 2002). Michael Rhodes reports on the latest Extreme Steam trip (pictures added 29th March 2002), nothing extreme about the temperatures this time except in the wrong direction. Peter Patt's note from early March only reached me when I got back (25th March 2002) "Sad news from Dongsheng: 16 DF4s are in service right now and have replaced all QJs from line services. Only 2-3 engines are used for local shunting at Dongsheng." I have some brief notes Florian Menius on the Nenjiang-Heibaoshan local railway (25th March 2002) and Ameling Algra reports on his hassle free independent trip to familar spots in North China (25th March 2002). Florian Menius had a very mixed 'grand tour of Tiefa, Weihe, SYS, JiTong, Nenjiang, Ganhe, Shanhetun and Luanxian', (31st March 2002), you can really sense that from here on it is downhill all the way and I guess I feel sorry for any gricers who are only just starting to discover Chinese steam...... Simon Colbeck reports on North China (Coal mines near Chifeng, Jalainur and Anshan (2nd April 2002)  Another regular correspondent Johs. Damsgaard Hansen has done the rounds in Northern China (8th April 2002). You can now read about Bernd Seiler's Spring 2002 tour in North China (pictures added 12th April 2002). David Longman went solo for the first time in China and apart from the weather found it a very positive experience (13th April 2002). Charles Towler has just started an April 2002 visit (second instalment 5th May 2002). Bruce Evans was in North China in March 2002 - the most interesting part of his report covers the Nenjiang - Haibaoshan Local Railway (14th April 2002). Derek Jenkins led the Steam and Safaris trip down south, the good news appears to be 'no change' (15th April 2002), while Peter Patt led an Intra Express tour to familiar northern areas (1st May 2002) including what must be CNR's steamiest depot at Wuhai. The Chengde steelworks branch was still steam in mid-April but I was told on 10th May 2002 by Bill Alborough that 3 brand new DF4 were present (7673/7674/7675) and would start working on May 10th initially between the CNR station and the stabling point 'to cut down noise pollution in the city area'..... Steam will remain between the stabling point and the steelworks. Simon Colbeck reports that steam is not dead in the Shanghai area (13th May 2002). Dave Farmer had mixed results on his late season tour of North-East China (23rd May 2002), but getting back a camera bag left on a bus shows the good side of the country! SY Country - the report is currently but may change - (24th May 2002) has Peter Odell's report of his ramblings from March/April 2002 which will be of special interest to those who have 'done' all the standard places to death. It includes details of operations at Pingdingshan which is a 100% steam railway with active QJ, JS and SY in quantity, also Luohe. The only downside is that it probably has south/central China weather..... Many thanks to Florian for transcribing this one as it came to both of us as a 

t. Louis Cerny has produced a report on May 2002 steam discoveries in Liaoning, essential reading if you have thoughts of a trip (pictures added, 10th June 2002). Roger Blundell has been track bashing again (22nd August 2002) with steam passengers all over central and northern China, lots of good travel tips here and no hassles from greedy operators....

Few people go to China in the Summer, but Roger Blundell has been track bashing (mainly) round the north with a lot of interesting snippets (30th August 2001). Mike LaPlante also did a Summer trip to the north (12th September 2001). If you want to try a previously unvisited line then Louis Cerny says (30th August 2001) "there is currently one steam trip per day on the local railway line between Haicheng and Xiuyan, the 5K Hai-Xiu line shown on page 4 of the Quail map. A look at a detailed map shows that the route between Haicheng and Xiuyan has a pass over the Qian Shan Mountains about 2/3 of the way from Haicheng, so this line could be worth a visit." Jun Shirakawa reports (30th August 2001) "I have very good news for you. The Japanese News agency "Asahi-Shinbun" has found another streamlined SL engine in Dalien, China. No is 757. It looks to be in very good condition, and hopefully it will return on service." (picture added 15th September 2001)

Newly found SL!

Don't forget you can also access Florian Menius's list of the 1999/2000/2001 reports from this site, it also contains copies of his own reports and is updated frequently. His own extensive October 2000 travels are on this site too in a number of parts. Get your browser to save them for later reading, there is lots of useful information for individual travellers here. Also Till Mosler's visit to Northern China at the same time, added 28th October 2000.  I now get 'live reports' by Email direct from China. Going south? Read the news from Bernd Seiler (upgraded with pictures 27th December 2000) and the second part (upgraded with maps 27th December 2000, pictures 9th February 2001). The second part includes a couple of brand-new QJ lines and confirms that the metre gauge line from Dakunlun to Xihe south of Zibo is closed, but the narrow gauge line at Jiyuan is still open (details of the background to these lines is in my narrow gauge summary). Also the challenge of an all-steam narrow gauge line in Sichuan which will defy even the most determined of gricers.  The 'Extreme Steam team' were in Northern China in November/December 2000 (pictures added 19th December 2000) - useful updates if you are off to China soon. Duncan Cotterill has reported on his annual visit to Baotou and JingPeng and Richard Stevens has been to Chengde and JingPeng (both added 24th December 2000). I went to China myself and have filed my main report (pictures added 25th January 2001) which covered Dahuichang and Yexi near Beijing, Weihe Forestry Railway, Suling Forestry Railway (found to be dieselised) and Shuangyashan. As it was relatively unreported previously, I added a separate detailed account of the Hegang Mining Railway (pictures added 25th January 2001). Mike Tyack has been back to Dongsheng and Jing Peng, if you are following this well trodden trail you may want to read the latest news (27th January 2001). Adrian Freeman has provided a brief summary of his New Year trip to the north-east (26th January 2001). Richard Hay's month long trip (30th January 2001) through northern China includes the now rarely visited narrow gauge system at Xilin. Ulrich Nowak visited Weihe, Anshan and JingPeng over Chinese New Year 2001. (added 13th February 2001). Hans Schaefer sent a brief report of his visits to Yebaishou and the Jitong Railway (16th February 2001). Read Jörg Scheerer's trip to northern China (picture link added - 2nd March 2001) - don't do major journeys in China just before Chinese New Year! The trip pictures are on Duncan Cotterill has been to Jingpeng (again....), but his report (3rd May 2001) also includes 4 days at Zhanhe and a few days at Weihe. I have posted a combined page of reports from Stenersen Roar, Hideki.Sakurai, John Raby, Roy Laverick, Gary 'Tex' Houston and Bill Darnaby (6th April 2001), mainly northern China with a little of the south. If you are planning a visit to the forestry lines of Inner Mongolia then Johannes Müller's (somewhat dated) report of a September 1999 visit may be helpful (6th April 2001). Michael Rhodes has now been to Shuangyashan, Zhanhe and Weihe (9th April 2001). QJs survive on the San Mao system, used on the Luoding - Chuwan (part open in September 2001 with 2 steam freights a day) and the Yangchun - Yangjiang (now reported to open February 11th 2002 with DF4 - 20th November 2001) branches (additional information 12th September 2001). Bill Alborough tells me (November 20th 2001) that the San Mao system no longer has steam on line working and the residual steam turns will be finished by February 11th 2002 (Chinese New Year/Spring Festival). Steam and Safaris visited a number of industrial (narrow and standard gauge) locations in northern China, read a report of this trip (22nd April 2001). The season is more or less over, some people go to enjoy riding behind steam - see Leslie McAllister's report of a trip which saw him ride behind 18 different QJs... (7th May 2001) Ray Smith has followed the north China standard gauge circuit in April 2001 (10th May 2001). Florian Menius has heard through Peter Patt who got it from CITS Baotou that "Shiguai-Baotou: Both passengers and freights have got DF5 diesels since mid-April 2001! See also - news section (16th May 2001). Hideki.Sakurai has added a brief report of narrow gauge industrial lines past and present up north and a glimpse of industrial steam in Anhui (updated 10th June 2001). Johs. Damsgaard Hansen has been to Guangxi (14th June 2001), rarely visited, but very cheap, good food and friendly Chinese. Pack your umbrella! Derek Jenkins has had an extended visit to Fuxin and found steam alive and well on the main line and in the coal mines. (21st May 2001) Bernd Seiler reports on another 'unknown' railway - the Datong Coal Mine Railway in the south eastern corner of Chongqing Province (another Datong! photos added 14th June 2001). Peter-H Patt has done the CNR northern circuit and found plenty of residual QJ action with the likelihood it will last to the next winter season and beyond (11th June 2001), he adds "I got news from the schedule/planning department of the SanMao railway that the new line Yangchun - Yangjiang will be opened as from August this year but may not be steam operated! The SanMao railway is currently reviewing their QJ engagement and they may abandon steam very shortly. Their reasons: it is uneconomical to maintain the entire steam infrastructure for a steadily decreasing number of QJs. Thus it might be that the line will be DF4 operated right from the beginning!"

Hans Schaefer has been to the Wuhaixi to Jilantai line (39C on the Quail Map, south west of Baotou), added 27th October 2000. Traffic level is low, probably just a single QJ hauled mixed leaving at 09.25 and returning in the late evening. However, from the point 6km out of town, there are several photogenic curves where the loco has to work very hard on a gradient of up to 1.7% (that's 1 in 60 to the Brits). There are 5 JS used for shunting at the junction. ( link dead 25th October 2016)  (13th November 2000). A further group has now been to Wuhai (26th January 2001), this report also covers Baotou and Jing Peng.

Louis Cerny has been to Jing Peng (22nd December 2000) and includes comments on progress of the new branch line. He saw the brand new DF4Ds in Baichi as reported by Bill Alborough (4th October 2000). The new passenger diesel passenger train is up and running (4th September 2000), it ("Hanlu)" with hard and soft seats and sleepers runs every 2 days ODD day from Daban; EVEN Day from Hohhot. The future of the service between Daban and Tongliao is 'under review'. Rick Wong (22nd June 2000) has tracked down a news report which appears to confirm that this will be says it will be a Sifang built diesel-multiple-unit (DMU) (22nd June 2000). Read the English translation. Hans Schaefer was here in June 2000, read his report and tips on firing a QJ (26th June 2000).

The China 1999/2000 'season' produced an excellent crop of reports - enough newly documented attractions to fill my next China bash! Can't find a trip report? Florian Menius has abstracted most of the 1999/2000 reports from this site and Michael Powell's CRSG pages - link added 24th May 2000. He also promises to provide odd 'snippets' from time to time - check him out here (link added 20th June 2000).A little late maybe but I now have Bernd Seiler's report of his October 1999 trip to Shaoguan in southern China (5th September 2000).

Laurie Ball and Peter Odell tramped around northern China in May 2000 (20th June 2000) - plenty of tips for the individual traveller here and some steam gems if you read it in detail.  Peter-H Patt reports gives a brief report following the Intra Express tour (6th June 2000). Is this a 'new' line? I certainly haven't read about it before (4th June 2000) Richard Elmer's Double-Headed Coal trains in China between Shuozhou and Shenchi - see Quail Map page 5 (thanks to Louis Cerny for this one)- more details now available (6th June 2000).  John Agnew was in China in March 2000. I added his report (2nd June 2000) which includes details on the top end of the Zhanhe system - spectacular but how do you get to photograph up there? One snippet (1st May 2000) on Hainan from Jörg Scholz via Bernd Seiler: "There is no construction work at the new line to Haikou visible. In the shed only one JF left (dumped) another was scrapped some days ago. The trains are a mix of diesel (including at least 8 new DF4) and JS. The passenger to Sanya was steam on three following days, the passengers to Changjiang (3 per day) are a mixture of steam and diesel. There are no problems for the DF4 to pass the narrow tunnel." Don Bell (8th May 2000) has been to Northern China rather later than most - the main item of interest is that he found work at the open-cast mine at Jalainur suspended. Some 40 steam locomotives were in store and just 5 or 6 in use on permanent way trains. Whether this represented a temporary or permanent shutdown was unclear. Bill Alborough's Chinese contact has said (2nd June 2000) that this is quite normal during the 'low season for coal', the pit will re-open in late September/early October. The same contact gives a finish date for steam between Da'an Bei and Ranghulu as August 2001, but I, for one, treat all such dates as highly moveable feasts.

Hideki Sakurai has mixed news from the narrow gauge at Yabuli, Dangfanghong and Weihe (29th April 2000). Make sure your read Florian Menius's extended account of his standard gauge ramble through China before you plan your next trip (21st April 2000, Shuangyashan map added 9th September 2000) - another gricer who proves you can travel cheaply (independently) and have a good time. Steam survives in reasonable quantities in Tonghua/Hunjiang (20th April 2000). Adrian Freeman has also been to Da'an (24th March 2000). Frank Engel has provided a very brief overview of his recent trip to Northern China and has his own home pages with pictures (link added 20th April 2000).  Michael Rhodes reports (16th March 2000) on the first visit I have documented to Da'an, an area long thought to have been one of CNR's most steamy but no-one seems to have been there (contradictions gratefully received) and also Tonghua.  Duncan Cotterill's report on his latest north China trip was added on 16th March 2000 (Chengde, JingPeng, Tiefa {upgraded map, 18th March 2000} and Weihe), all going strong. Ted Talbot was in northern China in November 1999, visiting a fascinating variety of industrial locations, several of which have not been reported on before. This is essential reading for anyone looking beyond the standard tourist routing of Chengde, Baotou and Jingpeng. Here's one for  the explorers... Li Nan reports (31st January 2000):  "I found another good steam spot in Wuhan Steelworks. 8 SYs, 4 YJs (223, 224...) and a 0-6-0T XK (303, Bruce Evans told me it could be XK14-older than the GJ). They are working in Qinshan, Wuhan, Hubei Province. The steam locos there will be completely retired by this first half of the year. I haven't been there but I learned the fleet by telephone calls." Click here for Michael Rhodes' December visit - principally to the Zhanhe forestry railway, also Tonghua (30th January 2000, pictures added 7th February 2000). Duncan Cotterill has been to Tongchuan for the JFs and Baotou (30th January 2000). Robin Gibbons was back in Southern China at the end of 1999 visiting the NanLing and (narrow gauge) Chenjia Railways (29th January 2000). My own visit (28th January 2000, many pictures added 3rd February 2000) to the forestry railway Weihe is recorded at length (with Trevor Mexted's update added 10th March 2000) as are my standard gauge adventures at the Tiefa Coal Mining Administration and also Fuxin (a JF as well as expected SY!).

Florian Menius spent the period between Christmas and New Year 1999/2000 in the Baotou area and unlike some found suburban passenger steam (29th January 2000). Adrian Freeman reports on a north China visit (21st December 1999) including Xihe (metre gauge), Anshan, Tonghua, Jingpeng and Tiefa. (For a change) Bruce Evans has done a mainstream trip (11th December 1999). Stephan Menius has sent a report on the INTRA-EXPRESS tour to Northern China (11th December 1999) - some useful data for independent travellers too. Li Weishu reports on another mainstream trip he led for a Dorridge Travel group (11th December 1999). Duncan Cotterill and Bryan Acford have made their annual pilgrimage to Jingpeng and Baotou (with Barry Burn's pretour visit to Fuxin and Chengde added 30th January 2000). 

Rob Dickinson