The International Steam Pages
Steam in China, 1996-9
This page provides links to the older China reports between 1996 and 1999, the more recent reports are on a separate page.
Rick Wong has forwarded me (13th September 1999) some information on SYs at Shilong (South China) - about as close as steam gets to Hong Kong. I have also Mike LaPlante's report of a July visit to northern China. Elsewhere Duncan Peattie reported (13th September 1999) on his recent visit: "Steam passenger haulage Jinzhou-Fuxin (CNR) would appear to have finished. The industrial scene was as previously reported. Some of the Baotou suburbans were diesel hauled, but the Shiguai and Shenmu trains were steam. By far the steamiest area I found was the line from Ranghulu to Da'an Bei. On 10th August 1999 I travelled on train 704 (CTT page 211) which was QJ hauled over this section (11 coaches). Of the 15 intermediate stations, we met/passed QJ hauled trains at 12 of them, DFH3 at 1 and two empty. Shunting on top of this, and no undue waits. One of the 12 was 343 (Hangzhou Dong-Qiqihar air-con express). Is all this normal or was I lucky?"
The main China '1998/9 season' is long over but Rick Wong has sent me an update on the San Mao Railway in Southern China (16th May 1999). Bernd Seiler visited the JS lines of the Guangxi Local Railway Limited Company (GLRLC) in south western China in January 1999 (also Tongchuan) Read what he found. I was in Southern China in early 1999, looking at industrial steam at work (Wangdu, Tongchuan, Chenjia). Read my report, (new pictures added 26th March 1999). Mike Tyack also kicked off 1999 with a report from Baotou and Jingpeng (16th January 1999, more pictures added 31st March 1999). And Leslie McAllister has sent me two more of his inimitable reports of his recent wanderings (24th February 1999) and his trip to Fuxin, (full version added 1st April 1999). Ameling Algra was also here in March 1999 and so was Trevor Heath (30th March 1999, more pictures 27th April 1999). Johs. Damsgaard Hansen and Bo Lindhardtsen have been to Northern China (19th April 1999), read their report which includes tips for individual travellers.
Florian Schmidt tells me (5th November 1998) "This is to inform you that Madama Sun Xiaolan, the famous guide to access the "top secret" Pingluo - Rujigou line has informed me that the said line has gone diesel." He has also provided (29th November 1998) the annual locomotive statistics - inevitably very depressing. I have now added Bryan Acford's North China report, (including a brand new SY - 20th November 1998), Roger Gillard's Report of North China (13th December 1998) and you also need to read Leslie McAlister's report (14th December 1998) and his rather downbeat update (17th December 1998). Leslie also has some worrying news from the San Mao Railway (22nd December 1998) and has also provided a report from an area of personal interest to me - Central China at Christmas (2nd January 1999).
I spent 2 weeks in January 1998 in the area south of Beijing, mostly established systems but I did spend 2 days exploring Linfen Steelworks. Read my report. I have added Bryan Acford's report which includes the spectacular Pingluo-Rujigou line (since reported to have been dieselised) in February 1998 and also the Baotao area.
Most travellers follow the well trodden path to Chengde, Yebaishou (is it dieselised or not? - pay your money and take your chance) and the 'New Line' between Tongliao and Jining - see Bryan Acford's report from late 1996. But why not try something different - there are hundreds of undocumented workings out there - look at a JF near Chengdu for example.
I don't keep much on mainstream China but Roderik Toxopeus sent me a February 1997 report which covers attractive Muling workings, while at long last I have got hold of Julien Blanc's report of New Year 1997 - this is the full unedited version!
While hanging around my pages you can get a feel for it on the Xilin Mineral Railway and the Yabuli Logging Railway. The only recent report I have of them is that Yabuli was working normally in March 1998.