The International Steam Pages

Steam in Northern China, April 2001

Myself (Ray Smith) and David Stradling flew to Beijing via Air France from London on 5th April. We took the train from Beijing to Tonghua. During the journey at Siuzhong we saw 3 x QJ's standing in steam at side of line - only can confirm 1 definite number QJ 7101 - the other two were possibly 6484 and 6424 numbers were illegible. Visit to Tonghua up to Hunjiang region produced a lot of JS workings. In the station of Tonghua itself constant shunting going on using 2 JS's preparing trains to leave. Odd time there was double headed JS or sometimes JS with diesel DF4.

The normal routine it appeared that these trains run as far as Dontonghua Steelworks where one engine will drop off and the train would then carry on to Hunjiang. In the steelworks - viewed from the roadbridge overlooking the site the following list of SY engines working were seen : 0065, 0311, 0534, 0582, 0848, 1362, 1480 and 3001. On our visit to Hunjiang there appeared 3 x JS for working in the marshalling yards opposite the station and these were JS 8231, 8233 and 8234. Occasional diesel passenger coming from North would arrive in Hunjiang to be changed over with JS which would work passenger to Tonghua. A visit to Tonghua steam depot on 7th April revealed following engines : Dead and in robbed condition JS 5485, 5731, 6558. Stored in small open fenced yard opposite station JS 6104. Please find list of remaining JS locos all seen in steam and working: 5623, 5751, 6020, 6021, 6238, 6271, 6315, 8040, 8154, 8155, 8158, 8201 and 8232.

Visited Da'an 8/9/10th April. As busy as could be imagined. It seems that all trains (apart from passenger workings)stop in Da'an Bei where the arriving locomotive is always changed from either diesel (DF4) to QJ or QJ to QJ. There is always something going on in the yard. All trains seem to be minimum of 40 wagons up to 60 wagons a time - consisting of coal, timber and oil. The 2 JS's shunting in marshalling area were 6239 and 6481. A visit to the shed revealed following stored/condemned locos robbed for parts : QJ 1344, 2764, 2749, 3106, 3115, 3181, 6303 and JS 6096 and 6236. QJ 6848 still works the tourist passenger train from Baicheng. The only other unusual locomotive seen was QJ 7187 working at Changshantum power station. List of locomotives seen in steam and working : QJ 3179, 3251, 3287, 6112, 6143, 6280, 6281, 6361, 6367, 6379, 6435, 6586, 6773, 6825, 6847, 6851, 6852, 6886, 6887, 6889, 6891, 6924, 6926, 7081, 7086 and 7119 - also JS 6237.

Visited Hegang 12th April - visited shed & workshop - under repair SY 3023 - awaiting repair SY 0354 and 0799. Working from the mines into exchange sidings and the passenger services seen were SY 0635, 0683, 0905, 1030, 1370, 1498, 3013 and 3024.

Visited Shuangyashan 13th/14th April - opposite SYS China rail station where the mine railway has its stabling point there is a small open fenced compound - stored here is SY 1046 and QJ 7019. Also on the mining system working the passenger between Bafenchang and Shuangxing was QJ 7030. We found near small station called Changan good area for photography and where the branch turns off to Fushan there is a workshop and depot area. On site we found QJ 3594 as stationary boiler and under repair QJ 6806, 6897, 7017, 7018 and SY 1045 being repainted. There were 5 diesels seen on the system as well (2 at work and the others held in the workshop/shed area).. List of locos seen as follows QJ 3135, 3593, 6805, 6808, 6917, 7020, 7029 and SY 0597, 0568, 0632, 1102 and 1486.

Took train from Jiamusi to Shenyang but prior to departure visited Jiamusi depot - now a super clean ISO 9001 approved diesel depot - however still left on depot 1 surviving QJ 6952. Otherwise all QJ's had gone.

Visit 16th April into Benxi steelworks saw virtually all the working SY's from 701 through to 736 with the exception of 703 which apparently does not exist anymore. SY 716, 717, 719 & 721 were away being repaired. Also seen on site were PL2 50, XK228 both stored and fireless boiler 0-4-0F No 5 - working . (NB Benxi SYs do not have a '0' as their first digit, as they are local numbers, the SYS having been renumbered from the national series as suggested in the IR book. See also Derek Jenkins's report. RD)

Whilst en route from Shenyang to Benxi we passed Waitoushan mine and saw SY 1012 on passenger working.

Whilst in Shenyang visited Sujiatun Locomotive repair works on 17th April and saw the following under repair : SY 0304, SY 1227, QJ 6478, QJ 6912, SY 1637, SY 1632 and JS 6483. Yard shunter in steam was GJ 1018.

Our trip finished off visiting Tiefa system on 17/18 and 19th April. The first 2 days saw very strong winds blowing from the South making things almost impossible with dust everywhere.

However our last day was perfect cold wind temperature at plus 8 C good clear visibility. Visited the works and under repair saw SY 1767, 1771, 1772 - stored in shed not working SY 0665. Outside in yard stored JS 5029 and SY 0023 plus cut up remains of SY 0029. Working at the exchange sidings JS 8206. At the stabling point awaiting sending away for repair SY 0860 (It was confirmed that SY 0435 was at Changchun for repair and would be exchanged for SY 0860 on its return) Following list of all working locos seen on system : SY 0063, 0353, 0393, 0979, 1147, 1183, 1255, 1412, 1683, 1749, 1751, 1764, 1769 and 1770.

Finally at Tieling station there is an old roundhouse at the south end of the station which appears to be used for repair/restoration work of SY and JS - industrial locos. We saw 1 SY but could not get number from distance.

Rob Dickinson