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Steam in China - News

This page covers news from late March 2004 to January 2005

Other news pages:

Steam News (Jan 31st 2005)

SongYi Local Railway

The SongYi Railway is the 40km long local railway between ZhiCheng to LiuJiaChang. ZhiCheng is situated at the Yangtze River and is a major stop on the Xiangfan-Huaihua CNR line in Hubei Province, close to YiChang City. Six SY locomotives are present, three in use. Several cargo trains run per day.
ZhiCheng Harbour also has got some steam locomotives, but it is a different company.

DaYe Area

DaYe City is located in east part of Hubei Province at the CNR railway from Wuhan to Jiujiang. 5 SY locomotives are employed on the "DaYe Colored Metals" Company railway. The staff said there “may be” some steam hauled passenger trains in this area, too.
More steam locomotives are expected on the other lines in this area, such as LingXiang Iron Mine, HuangShi Harbour and HuangShi Steelworks.

DaZongCun Railway

This railway was errorously reported at DaZhongCun Railway previously. It is located near Zaozhuang City.

Huludao Zinc Industry Railway

is linked to CNR at MaZhangFang Station, east of Huludao City.

<(info by Hsiang Tseng)


PDS Mine has ordered another one (info by driver) or two (info by station staff) additional diesels "of a different type" (so: no GKD3). They will be built in Dalian and arrive within the next month or so.
PDS carries out repairs for nearby steam lines: QJ7204 was confirmed to have been at PDS for repairs only and already returned to its home at Yima (which could be confirmed, too).


Two of the JS Pingdingshan aquired last year came from Pingxiang, situted in Jiangxi province some 50 km east of Zhuzhou (CNR line to Nanchang). It is possible that steam is still in use there...

New Report (Jan 31st 2005)

JingPeng (Jan 27th 2005)

On five subsequent days (Jan 22-27), a total of no more than four(!) steam hauled trains run over the pass - the rest was diesel. It seems to be almost over now! However, Daban-Chabuga remains 100% steam.
JiTong also annouced, that they will keep 5 QJs in working even after they finished regular steam operation.

Steam News (Jan 26th 2005)


Still 100% steam. Threat is diesels working through from Pucheng without loco change at Podicun.

Steam News (Jan 24th 2005)

PuBai Tielu

DF4 9571 has arrived here. QJ 7291 is dumped after an accident.

Anshun Coal Railway

At Anshun, south-west of Guiyang, a 20 km long branch lines northwards exists. It extends from Anshun to some coal mines at Qiaozishan. Motive power are 3 SYs, but only one is working. Four trains per 24h operate, trains are short with only 5 to 15 coal wagons transported. Only one pair of trains is guaranteed during daylight. Locos face south, so loaded trains funnel first. At Qiaozishan, there are two coal loading points - coal arrives either by conveyor belt or lorry there. Around Qiaozishan, the landscape is magnificent with karst mountains as backdrop and offers nice photo spots.
Unfortunately, diesel locomotives are expected "after New Year" (Chinese New Year is on Feb 11th 2005, so only 2 weeks left)!

Freight traffic on the Liuzhou-Kunming mainline around Anshun is mostly SS1, two thirds being double-headed. Most SS1 are from the first batch - a very nice appearance. Passenger trains have SS3. Scenery is also very good. The local side tracks at Liuzhi are worked by a DF4 (DF4 3346).

(info by Julien Blanc)

New Report (Jan 24th 2005)

New Report (Jan 21st 2005)

Steam News (Jan 18th 2005)

Tongchuan / Chenjiashan

JF operation at Tongchuan itself seems to have come to its end. On Jan 14th, only one cold loco was present at Tongchuan Nan.
On the other hand, JF2368 was transfered to Tongchuan Western Division, Chenjiashan mine and is in use there.


Went 100% diesel as of November 17th 2004.


No more steam action in early January 2005. DF5 1632 shunted the yard at Hechi.


In early January, JS8377 was out of use in the depot at Luocheng. JS8374 was operating the regular timetabled mixed services between Luocheng and Sancha, with departures from Luocheng about 06.50 and 12.10, last working getting back at 18.00 (but usually 1 to 2 hours late). The climb out of Sancha towards Luocheng is smokebox first and gives excellent photo opportunities. The morning train leaves Sancha about 10.00am.
At the branch line into the fertiliser works just outside Sancha SY0371 was out of use for repairs and SY0980 was active on shunting duties.

Chongqing Steelworks

Visited on 3rd January. Sadly, all GJs were taken out of service in July 2004. All 8 are still on the depot at DaDuKou station. GJ1062/1063/1069 and 1075 all clearly worked to the end and are in excellent condition. GJ1007/1019/1047 and 1065 however are in poor condition and haven't worked for some time. Management told me that all 8 are due to be broken soon.
SY1360 was also on depot and out of use. Interestingly, SY 0145 (yes, 0145) was newly refurbished and inside the workshop. It is owned by the steelworks at Jiangjin about 30km south west of Chonqing.
The nearby steelworks at JiuLongLu (?) and coal mines at TianFu Coal Co., Huayun were said still to operate steam, too.


At Km810 just north of ChongQing (south of BeiBei) is a railway trackwork factory. 10 JS's and 3 QJ's were seen together with a selection of ageing diesels. Details as follows:
JS6277 & 6538 in steam. JS6262/6322/6331/6335(high deflectors)/6443/6524/6526/6535 oou.
QJ2407 in steam. QJ3468/3477 oou.
DF1 1325/1584/2090
BJ 3012/3018/3119/3148
The locos in steam are used for shunting the yard.

New Reports (Jan 14th 2005)

JingPeng (Jan 12th 2005)

Latest reports indicate, that the first days without any regular "steam-only" train have to recorded between Daban and Haoluku.

New Reports (Jan 11th 2005)

JiTong Dieselisation (Jan 7th 2005)

Baiqi depot will receive another 4 new DF4Ds in mid January. Then, Baiqi`s last DF4Bs will be sent to Daban for use between Daban and Haoluku.

New Report (Jan 7th 2005)

New Report (Jan 5th 2005)

New Reports (Jan 4th 2005)

Steam News (Jan 3rd 2005)


The line now has 2 DF10D diesels. QJ 3000, 3439 also in use. QJ 3550, 3552 cold but look serviceable. JS thought to be at works.


SY2024 and 6 DF4B in use. No QJ remain, all reported sold but don't know where to.


This is the system south of Tengzhou Bruce Evans reported last year. There are now 3 DF4B here and the only steam still in use is QJ 7068.

(info by Duncan Cotterill)

New Report (Jan 3rd 2005)

New Report (Dec 23rd 2004)

New Report (Dec 20th 2004)

JiTong Steam Roster (Dec 20th 2004)

As of mid December 2004, the following QJs were still workable at JiTong railway:

Baiqi 6854, 6982, 6987, 7043, 7052, 7088, 7118, 7136, 7138, 7139, 7140, 7141, 7162 = 13
Daban 6639, 6751, 6763, 6773, 6825, 6849, 6850, 6853, 6828, 6851, 6878, 6882, 6884, 6891, 6900, 6911, 6925, 6977, 6978, 6981, 6984, 6986, 6988, 6991, 6992, 6996, 6998, 7002, 7007, 7009, 7010, 7012, 7030, 7037, 7038, 7040, 7041, 7048, 7049, 7081, 7104, 7105, 7112, 7119, 7137, 7143, 7163, 7164 = 49

New Report (Dec 16th 2004)

Steam News (Dec 15th 2004)

JiTong Passenger Train

It is confirmed now that passenger trains 6057 and 6058 (Daban-Tongliao vice versa) stopped operation as of Dec 1st 2004.

HeBi Coal Mine

A recent Chinese website posting shows JSs 6013 (Datong, 12/60), 6346 and another staged at Hebi Coal mine on the branch west from Tangyin near Anyang. New orange DF12 0065 is also shown and is thought to be the loco or one of the locos that has recently replaced the steam locos.

Steam Discoveries (Dec 10th 2004)

Hsiang Tseng recently discovered soma additional steam operations:

Yao-Jie Coal Railway

This railway branches off the Lanzhou-Xining CNR line at Haishiwan, owns a 28km long line (in mountainous area) and uses SYs to haul 3 million tons of coal per year. Their website (in Chinese) is http://www.yjmdgs.com/gongsi/xiashu-8.htm

Huludao Zinc Industry Railway

Huludao, known from the Huludao-Yangjiazhangzi limestone railway also features a 22 km branch line (unkown direction) which is used for the local zinc industry. 3 SYs are employed.

DaZhong Village

DaZhong Village, a small village, is located in southern ShanDong Province. This village has got a cargo yard which is connected to CNR GuanQiao station on JingHu Line by a 15 km long branch line. To save the money DaZhong Village recently bought a steam locomotive (QJ6276, ex nearby Tienchun coal railway) to serve their branch line. Several coal trains per day can be observed on this line.

ShanXi Coking Corporation

ShanXi Coking Corporation is located in HongDong County, 250 km south of Shanxi`s province capital TaiYuan. It has got a rail connection to CNR ZhaoCheng station on the southern part of the TongPu Line. Length of the branch line is some 14km using 7 steam locomotives.

GuangZhou Steelwork (No discovery)

The last SY locomotive service in GuangZhou Steelwork ceased in September 2004. SY 0734 and SY 0626 are still there in good condition.

New Report (Dec 7th 2004)

Steam News (Dec 7th 2004)


There is a sign on the board at several stations saiing that the shuttle trains No.6057 and No.6058 (Daban-Tongliao-Daban) was cancelled as of December 1st 2004.

"QJ overhauls continue: QJ 7040 rearrived at Daban from the shop on November 27th.
Another issue is the frequency of steam over the pass. It seems that there is a pattern to its use; adjustable by the railroad, of course. Several trains came from Haoluku without a Caboose on the rear and this brought out comments about the demise of these cars. These "caboose-less " trains had no end-of-train device attached and in one case it was just the second half of a long coal train. The caboose situation appears to be that there are not enough available. At the "Rip" track in Daban are three cabooses nearly complete in their overhaul and there were four more completely renewed (Dec.2nd). By the time you read this, there will be seven new cabooses on the line." (by Timothy Lab)


JS 8411 operates at the Changchun 2nd "Thermoelectric Plant" in the city.

New Report (Dec 3rd 2004)

Steam News (Nov 29th 2004)

Notes by Trevor Maxted from his latest trip:

Huanan 12-15/11

The NG at Huanan was very busy with three C2 0-8-0's in action and coal trains running at the usual 4 hour intervals. The passenger railbus, 0800 ex Huanan, was only running alternate days though this was thought to be short term and daily running would soon resume.

Nanpiao 16-18/11

Three SY's (0366, 0754 & 1299) and the three BJ diesels were in action working at random on both routes on passenger as well as coal trains. SY 1092 was being steamed after repair on 18/11, no other SY's were present. Ji-Tong's QJ 7002 was at Nanpiao on 18/11 en-route to Jinzhou for works attention.


The afternoon passenger train has been retimed to 1400 we were told though we were too late to see it. JS were in use in the usual inconsistent manner of this line.


was as reported except DF4 6005 and 6007 are now at work between Daban and Haolokou and on a visit to Daban QJ 7112 was seen in the marshalling yard minus coupling rods and ready for a works visit.

Steam News (Nov 29th 2004)

Chenjiashan Coal Mine

Chenjiashan Coal Mine, part of Tonchuan Coal Mining Administration Western Subbureau and site of the recent mining disaster, actually own 2 JS. A map with the excact location, a video and some addtional photo`s have been added to Michael McCormack`s Website.

Steam News (Nov 26th 2004)


lost all its steam operations except 1-2 SY shunting. All line work is now diesel.


Steam will be finished by mid-December. One JS shall be kept for special trains (if you can afford 35.000 Yuan for a return trip to Poluo...)


Daban plans to buy another 10 diesels in January though local people say this is only planning. So the January seems to be the last save month for 50 % steam action over the pass ... Rumors also speak about 100% diesel operation as of January.

New Report (Nov 24th 2004)

New Reports (Nov 18th 2004)

Steam News (Nov 15th 2004)


Two Diesels arrived in Hechi and started working immediately, DF4B 7732 and 7733 (Both built DL 2004) in dark red livery. Steam activity is significantly reduced.


Sandaoling`s JS operation is best reached by hired vehicle along Hwy 312 from Hami. Quite a large open-cut pit and 2 underground mines. Empties from the CNR interchange are worked by two locos - one at head and one banking, both smokebox-first.

Tongchuan Western Division

Operation concentrates at Yaoqu and Chenjiashan. Both are JS worked with good scenery, empties hauled uphill smokebox-first from interchanges.

Steam News (Nov 11th 2004)

Wanyuan Coal Railway

Another steam operated coal railway was discovered by Guntran Semmer: Wanyuan Coal Railway, situated between Chongqing and Ankang. It own at least 2 SYs. The line starts south of the station Wanyuan at the main line Xi'an - Chongqing and heads eastwards to Baisha. It's in a hilly area, so there should be some photographic potential.

Wanyuan Coal Railway Map


Note from a recent visit by G.Massey: "Shed is newly cleaned and whitewashed inside, and new diesel inspection point outside, though no diesels. 3 QJs In shed yard - 3494 in light steam, 2315 dumped and 3495 dead (still sporting a cabside red flag). 2440 arrived 9.30am with loaded train then shunted for 2 hours. Advised next loaded train due around 3.30pm."


Tongchuan coal mine has the well know eastern system (to Wangshiwa and Baishui) but also a not so well known (if known at all) a western division. The western division is using JS (instead of JF and diesel on the eastern division). The western division will remain steam. The eastern division will stop the steam service on December 31st. The management will keep two steam locos serviceable on the eastern division to satisfy steam enthusiast groups. They are willing to keep them until May 2005.

The western division has at least one line into a mountainous area. Starting point is on the state railway which passes by Tongchuan far west of the city. The line separates from the northbound line to Tongchuan in Yao Xian. The west division of Tongchuan coal mine is in between Liulinzhen and Qianyanzahn. No exact location know yet. JS are used, probably including JS 5184.

New Reports (Nov 11th 2004)

Steam News (Nov 9th 2004)

New Reports (Nov 8th 2004)

Steam News (Nov 8th 2004)


DF4 at Daban As of Nov 8th, a total of 12 DF4/B (10 DF4 and 2 DF4B) were on Daban`s roster- together with some 60 QJs. Individual DF4s were
DF4 0392, 0490, 0537, 0539, 0548, 0552, 0570, 0582, 0636, 0660
DF4B 6011, 6031

Two additional engines are expected soon.

Rumor 1
The Tongliao-Daban passenger train 6057/6060 may be cancelled effective December 1, 2004. Rumors from Huhe, where the jiTong headquarter is located. None of the staff in Daban asked knew anything about this.

Rumor 2
Complete dieselisation of the whole JiTong line might take place until May 1st 2005.

New Reports (Nov 5th 2004)

Steam News (Nov 5th 2004)

Xingyang limestone railway

The railway was operating again in late October. Unchanged pattern of operation.


The passenger train was rescheduled. The train is now some 40 minutes faster on the steam section! The only times gathered are for

6052: Galadesitai 22.37/22.40, arrival Baiqi 05.38
6051: Jining Nan dep. 1438, Jingpeng arr. 0218, Galadesitai arr.0404, Daban departure 6.25, Gulumanhan departure 6.59

Dieselisation Diesels have been appearing at Daban and are being put into service. As of today (11/03) there are 8 listed on the roster: DF4 0490, 0537, 0539, 0548, 0552, 0570, 0582 and 0636. In addition, a person on the Jingpeng Orient Express has noted DF4B 0392. They are arriving nearly daily, and the depot management has said that 14 will be on the property soon, perhaps as early as November 15, 2004.

At Haoloku on 10/28, it was noted that 50% of the trains to/from Daban were DF4B + QJ, and the other 50% QJ + QJ. On 10/31 the five then-operational DF's were paired up on trains, with the odd one paired with a QJ. This lasted until the evening of 11/02, and today 11/03 they were again broken up, with six DF4 + QJ powered trains over the Pass in daylight.

New Report (Oct 26th 2004)

New Report (Oct 21st 2004)

New Report (Oct 18th 2004)

New Report (Oct 15th 2004)

New Reports (Oct 13th 2004)

Steam News (Oct 13th 2004)

Shiguai Mining Railway

Steam operation at Shiguai Coal Mines is history, too. Passenger trains were withdrawn, workers are taking buses now.

Beitai steel mill

Reported to be 100% diesel now.

Benxi steelworks

On a visit on Friday 09/24 both electric and and steam operation was observed. 12 active SY engines were listed on the call board, 8 or so out of them were seen.
However, there was a brand-new diesel there that had been just delivered: it still had the chalk marks on the sides, and the manufacturer's rep was there with it. It is orange in color, from a Chinese manufacturer, and is remote-control.

Meihekou coal mine

The first diesel locomotive arrived: DFH5 4010, built in 2004. The diesel is handling all passengers while freights are still 100 % steam. The whole system will be dieselised until June 2005.


8 diesels (DFH3 and DF4) are present at the moment. Only the passenger trains are still 100 % steam. Another 4 diesels are expected until December 2004.
In mid October, however, only three diesels were seen at Tiefa over two days. One was a 2004 plated DF4. Nine SYs in steam with the remaining locomotives still in store outside the works awaiting the winter increase in coal traffic.
At Daqing works, KD6 No.487 was found in a building adjacent to the machine shop. The loco has been swapped with Pingzhuang for an SY. It is planned to be restored for use on a tourist service at Tiefa.


Since September 30th, Daban`s four DF4s are used between Daban and Haoluku over the "Pass", usually piloting QJ hauled trains. This is a regular service. On the other hand, Daban-Chabuga has been reverted to 100% steam again.

Jitong has bought 10 additional DF4D diesels, which will be put into service at Baiqi depot in October 2004. 10 to 12 DF4/DF4B currently used at Baiqi will be sent to Daban depot then. Daban confirmed that these ten/twelve diesles will be used on the section to Haoluku, too. Further diesel will be aquired until October 2005. By mid 2005, Daban-Haoluku is planned to be with 50% with steam and diesels. Baiqi is going to be all diesel October 2005. In 2006, Jitong plans to get ride of all steam locos.

Baiqi currently uses 11 QJ and 2 diesel towards Haoluku.

Daban`s QJ 6576 and 6580 were cut up on Oct 7th/8th.


Zhundong Tielu is going to use steam until January. Electrification is not ready yet.

Steam News (Sep 16th 2004)


The following information is based on a visit and a two hour-talk with the senior engineer who manages the railway.

By all means, seeing a few SYs on trains to the exchange yard with CNR and the depot is interesting (if you can get in, which we did courtesy of the boss).

Zhenzhou Brickworks Railway

The Zhenzhou brickworks railway has been closed for 8 months and is unlikely ever to reopen.

Yima Area

The open pit at Yima is not much good for photos, and neither is the mine line at Yinan due to lack of traffic.

Zhenjiang Limestone Railway

The line runs with 2 working JS and is approx 12km long. It is very busy and inspecting the train log at the signal cabin 2 km north of the limestone crushing plant, there are between 4 and 14 trains between 8 am and 6pm (the hours the crossing is manned). A a total of 14 trains were seen between 10am and 6pm and the operation is apparently 24 hours. Previous reports of a shutdown between 11am and 2pm are wrong - the line may just be closed for 3 hours for track work, e.g. between 7 and 10am on Sept 16th. Such closures probably are fitted in when necessary - certainly looking at 3 weeks worth of records in the crossing cabin shows constant workings throughout the day almost every day.

The line is flat and there is no hard working, but the trains are long 26 x 60t hoppers and there are two or three good locations. This railroad is worth a visit if you are in the area - I'm not sure its worth the long journey just for this line.

(info by Michael Rhodes)

Steam News (Sep 13th 2004)

Xuanhua Steelworks

After some "incidents" (no details given) with visiting groups, the new management decided not to allow foreign visitors any more as per 1Aug04. SY seen were: SY 1342 and 1528 under repair. In use: SY 0250, 0299, 0323, 0552, 0559, 1113, 1177, 1462.

(info by Peter Patt)


Bad news from here: mine 1 has been closed, mine 2 works in the morning hours only, mine 3 is still active. Foreign visitors are now rushed off the yard at Yuanbaoshan Xi. 3 JS were seen in service (including JS 6245 and 8250).

(info by Peter Patt)


A half day visit to Pinzhuang gave the following results:
SY 0210, 0400, 0463, 0517, 0910, 0942, 1084, 1487 plus JS 1001 and 5758 were seen in service.
About 30% of coal leaving the washery is now transported by lorries.

(info by Peter Patt)

Xuzhou Area

At Qiating CNR station (Xuzhou - Yanzhou line), a shunting JS (83xx series) was observed. It probably belongs to the coal railways to Jiawang and Qingshanquan.

(info by Till Mosler)


The former steam stronghold Jingdezhen is situated in Jiangxi Province. Some two kilometers north of the city along the road to Haiyang, a narrow gauge railway system was found (750..900mm, probably 762mm). A 8-wheel diesel locomotive was busily shunting coal hoppers there.
Lack of time didn`t permit further investigations. However, locals (no railway men!) indicated, that the network comprises some 100 km of line. They also told that steam is still in use there! However, this info should be treated with caution as 1) only a diesel loco was seen and 2) misunderstandings ("coal railway" vs "coal consuming loco") may have appeared.
The ng line passes through a very scenic and hilly area with old style villages, bridges and embankments.

(info by Till Mosler)


At Lingchuan (Luzhai? FM) (Guilin - Liuzhou line), two SYs were seen: a cold one stored under an open metall roof and the second being towed in an southbound freight train. Numbers were not visible.

(info by Till Mosler)


Visit between Sept 6th and 11th 2004:

(info by Till Mosler)


According to CITS, this railway no longer uses steam (QJs).

Qianjin Local Railway

The industrial or local standard gauge railway at Qianjin in the north-easternmost corner of China and probably never visited by foreign railway enthusiast is reported to be no longer steam worked, too. (The forestry railway closed some years earlier.)

Steam News (Sep 6th 2004)


Since Sept 1st 2004, the daily mixed between Jinchengjiang and Pingzhai is no longer steam hauled. The train is a real passenger train now without goods transport but consists of a railcar plus one YZ22 only! No DF4s have arrived so far, all freight trains hauled by JS as it used to be including the transfer trains to the CNR yard. However, freight volume has decreased significantly.

Locos seen:
under steam: JS 8283, 8287, 8290, 8375
oou: JS 8284(ex-works), 8285, 8373, 8376
inside shed under repair: JS 8288


It was reported by Chinese Sources that there is no steam in the area around Zhusihua, which is 401 kilometers north-west of Tongliao. Huolinhe, the end of the line at km 417, is probably included.


Managment currently indicates March 2005 as the time for dieselisation of the JingPeng Pass section.

New Report (Sep 6th 2004)

JiTong Steam News (Aug 31st 2004)

Situation in mid August:

New Report (Aug 31st 2004)

Steam News (Aug 24th 2004)


Jinchengjiang will receive 2 DF4s within the next days. They will haul the passenger train to Pingzhai and perform the shuttle trips between Jinchengjiang CNR and Jinchengjiang Xi. More DF4s are expected in the end of 2004.


Baiqi depot has received some additional green DF4Bs (at least 7 are present now). Until October, some 10 DF4Bs are expected to be in service and to have eliminated steam opaertion between Haoluku and Baiqi.

Steam News (Aug 23rd 2004)

GuangXi Local Railways

Ziyang Locomotive Works just finished the first DF4 for the GXLR: maroon coloured DF4B 9568. DF4s will gradually replace the JS at Jinchengjiang and other GXLR lines.

JiTong dieselisation

On both Aug 20th and 21st, a DF4-double-headed freight train was observed going to Haoluku and back to Daban. At least 3 different DF4s (one blue-cream DF4D and two or three green DF4B) were used. Dieselisation seems to have started here, too.

New Report (Aug 23rd 2004)

Steam News (Aug 19th 2004)

Tienchen Railway

The Tienchen coal railway, based at Zaozhuang north of Xuzhou, received its second DF4 a couple of days ago. Current motive power is 2 DF4s, 5 working and 1 disused QJ, but the additional DF4 probably will replace some of the QJs.

New: Sketch Map of Tienchen Railway

Weiyuan Coal Railway

After track repairs, this railway is working again. Pattern of operation is unchanged: trains in the early morning only!.

Steam News (Aug 5th 2004)

Sandaoling Coal Mine

There is a hotel at Sandoaling: Sandaoling Hotel. It is confirmed that most trains work tender first between the Coal Pit(s) and the Coal yard. Only 13-km-long line between the Coal Yard and Liushuquan CNR Station offers normal running e.g. funnel first workings.
Holidays: Normally the company has only 1 holiday per year! Time depends on the temperature. As July and August are 2 of the hottest months locally, they chose July for 20 days of Holidays in 2004. Full operation will have resumed by August 01, 2004.

Datong Coal Railway

On July 20th, SY 0303 of the Datong Coal Railway derailed seriously: Newspaper Article

Tangshan Coal Mine + Tangshan Steelworks

The Coal Mine planned to finish steam operation in December 2003. SY 0964 and 0793 were still in service in December 2003 however, but by late December 2003, the diesels had arrived.
The steelworks recently started to deny permissions for visitors. The reason varies between "currently under reconstruction" and "new management with changed policy", depending on the source you quote.

Steam Loco Repair Facility at LaiwuDong

A freshly overhauled was spotted recently in the Laiwu/LaiwuDong area (north-east of Xuzhou). It is beleived, that the CNR depot there carries out overhauls for the steam locomotives of the nearby coal and industrial railways (e.g. PeiTun Railway).

New Reports (Jul 30th 2004)

Steam News (Jul 28th 2004)


Daban already has got 4 DF4s: ex-CNR DF4B 0548, 0552, 0570 and 0636. They are used on freight duties between Daban and Chabuga, but so far only test runs have taken place. However, this section can be classified as "partly dieselised" now.


The small steelworks at Guilin uses at least two SYs : SY 0647 and 0913. Steam is expected to finish next year.
Additionally, two DF1 were seen at GuilinDong which might indicate, that the Guangxi Local Railway line to Daxu has been dieselised (unconfirmed information!).

New Reports (Jul 23rd 2004)

New Report (Jul 20th 2004)

JiTong Dieselisation (Jul 15th 2004)

On July 14th, the first two diesels arrived at Daban shed! One is being used as a coach engine and the other might be put into use next month or so(no definite planning) on the section Daban-Chabuga.
Four diesels are planned to enter service at Daban shed before Dec 31,2004, all for freight service on the section Daban-Chabuga. Passenger trains will remain steam hauled.
The diesel loco facilities at Daban are not ready yet. The railway staff is still being trained.

Baiyin Coal Railway (Jul 15th 2004)

The Baiyin Coal Railway (between Lanzhou and Zhongwei) was visited after some 4 years without any report. The railway owns and uses some 30 SYs (including SY 1470) and operates steam hauled workers` trains, too, which consist of 8 or 9 YZ22 coaches.

Steam News (Jul 14th 2004)


The line will be kept for in service for another 2 to 3 years. Morning trains now depart at 07:00 am and 10:00 am.


The line is currently out of use due to track damages. Operation may cease permanently if the track isn`t repaired by the end of the month...

New Report (Jul 2nd 2004)

Steam News (Jul 2nd 2004)

Steam loco overhaul facility at TaijiTun

At Taijitun, between Nanpiao and Jinzhou, there is a the so called "701 Works", a repair works for steam locomotives! Few work to do there, of course at the moment!


A building is being constructed a Mifengyan (the reversal station); it will be a hotel. It is located next to the point keeper's cabin.


Rumors about possible use of steam had to be denied. Latest information is that all lines from Shenmu are without use of steam locos.


JiTong has decided to officially request 10 DF4 from the Shenyang railway bureau, these locomotives are currently gathered at Tongliao shed and will be put into service as soon as the diesel-facilities at Daban are ready. Currently there is not even a plan where/what to build so it will take a while until we will see more diesels on the line.

The section Zhelimu-Chabuga is effectively under CNR operational control, therefore all cabooses have to be detached from east-bound trains (and added onto trains running westbound) at Chabuga. Deflectorless 6389 does the shunting job.

Baiqi depot is busy cutting up the long lines of scrapped engines: the job has been outsourced and 5 engines were cut up in 1 week only! By the time this mail is written, more than half of the dumped engines will be gone already. On the section to Haolokou, trains are dominantly steam hauled, during 4 days of linesiding in this section only 1 diesel hauled freight train was seen. The passenger is still steam hauled.

JiTong tries to sell the boilers of the cut up engines: 800.000 Yuan per boiler is a pretty good value. If you bargaining, you can also buy a QJ in operating condition for just 1.000.000 Yuan (shipment free to any Chinese harbour). A steam fan from the US has bought an engine already.

Patronage on the K503/504 DMU has improved and JiTong is happy with the booking numbers - while the service of the local stopping train 6057/6058 is endangered to be finished by the end of the year, (due to unsatisfactory booking levels).


Steam will be abandoned latest in 2007. The YJ engine stored there (YJ0269) was apparently sold to a British fan who wants to take it to Sunjiatun and later export this engine to the UK.

Steam News (Jun 23rd 2004)

Some notes, reported by Julien Blanc:

Yima Opencast Mine

4 JS in very bad condition but interessting operation. Nice backdrop near the mine.
Mainline is worked by green-and-white 6K electics (85% of freight traffic).

Tiemen ng railway

The ng railway is only some 2-3km long. One large, operational 4-axle diesel loco is present but no steam. One train per direction every hour as long as the loco does not fail.

Mianchi Coal Mine

Has got 2 QJ serving 3 coalmines about 2 or 3 times a day. 50% tender first, of course. The 8 km long line southwards offers some nice scenery.


Very nice, plenty of traffic, 2 locos in use. The depot even carries out major overhauls. In different states of dereliction, a total of 12 locos exist, 4 or 5 out of them being serviceable. Other details basically as reported by Rob Dickinson.

Steam News (Jun 22nd 2004)


Another steam line has been discovered by Japanese railfans. The Liujia-Xiaochuan line (Quail Map 8, line 41B) is steam operated, using JS 8022, 8183, 8223, and 8226, plus 3 SY including 0862. The line is some 40km long and joins the CNR main line about 34km west of Lanzhou.

See http://www2.ezbbs.net/20/qj1969/ for the original message and a map.


Business as usual in mid June (14th-17th June) with interesting and spectacular workings. The following locos were seen, all of the ever-faithful C2 Class: #004, #011 ,(being worked on when we first arrived, but back on the road the following day),#041, #043 (dismantled in the workshops and up on jacks for heavy overhaul), #044 and #168.

Huludao Industrial


Passenger service of two trains per day now restored to the whole length of the Shanzhuang line. On two subsequent days the Xingshan passengers were electric hauled.


Three diesels in use on freight. Passenger trains all steam. An additional H train runs Daming - Diabingshan in the evening and back out early morning (similar to the H trains on the Wangquan line).


No changes to report.


The passenger trains was only steam between Chabuga - Baiqi. Line very busy westbound, quiet eastbound.


3 diesels (BJ 3231, 3241 and 3248) in use on passenger and freight. Two passenger trips to Sanjiazi were hauled by SY 0366 but any other activity on this line was diesel. spotted by Bernd Seiler on his visit earlier the month. So now 4? Diesel duties are mixed entirely with the SY duties and it can even happen that a passenger can run with diesel only in one way and returns with steam. Did not note numbers, but I recall SY 0366, 1017, 1092, 1478 in service at least.

New Report (Jun 16th 2004)

New Reports (Jun 12th 2004)

Steam(June 12th 2004)

Kunming Steelworks

Steam operation ended earlier this year. The SYs were replaced by electric locos.


Baiqi depot currently has got 26 operational QJ, 6 DF4D and 6 DF4B. The DF4s are:

Jinzhou Area

About 3 or 4 stations south of Nanpiao/Huangjia a well used single track line diverges in a north easterly direction from the Jinzhou to Nanpiao line. It goes along a valley into a hilly area. JS 8162 seems to be used on this line. .
At a large factory about 10km further south from the above mentioned branch line, a QJ (6830 or 6838) in good condition, but not in steam, was seen to the west of the line.
SY 1750 was noted at a large granary to the south of the Jinzhou to Tangshan main line just east of the point where the Nanpiao branch diverges. From its position in the sidings it could either work there, or have been in transit.

JiTonAbout g Dieselisation (June 3rd 2004)

According to the station staff at Haoluku the passenger train to Baiqi is 100 % steam, no diesel was used recently (during the last weeks). All freights to Baiqi had steam engines, too. So the rumour about diesel at the passenger might be wrong.

(info by Bernd Seiler)

New Report (June 2nd 2004)

New Steam Lines (May 26th 2004)

Yinghao coal line

This 762mm steam line, worked by nine C2s, was discovered by Japanese enthusiasts Mr.Sen and Mr.Toshiaki Tsujimoto recently.

Yinghao is situated in Henan province, some 15 km west of Yima at the Luoyang-Xi`an CNR trunk line. The narrow gauge line is about 20 km long. It starts north of the CNR station at the ng railways unloading facilty. Though distance between the CNR and ng is small, there is no connection between them. This line goes north-west (about 10 o'clock direction).
Near the terminus, there is small junction station named 'Xiangyang'. Short distance before Xiangyang station is a tunnel (about 500m long). During a 4-hour-visit (2pm-6pm), 1.5 pairs of trains were observed. 2 C2s were in use (No.3 and 15). A road-crossing'man said, that there are 3 pairs of trains in daytime. However, another railroadman said 9 pairs in 24 hours.
Some military institutions are close by the ng railway line. So, responsible and sensible behaviour is requested!

Zhenjiang limestone line

The recently discovered limestone railway at Zhenjiang, sitauted between Shanghai and Nanjing, owns 6 or 7 JS. The line offers a number of pleasant photospots though one wouldn`t expect this in that area. Traffic is dense with up to 6 or 7 pairs of trains during daytime.

Brief News by Andrew Fisher:


Still no further work on electrification by 5th March. Fuxingcheng passing loop undoubtedly the best location on the line.


I visited between 7th March and 10th March this year. On the 7th and 8th, JF operation was as expected with 2 JF's working, 2 in steam as spares and 1 dead. However, on the morning of the 9th March, 2 JF's had gone missing! 2369 and 2113 were working the line. 2182 was dead. 2368 and 2365 had disappeared. Around lunch time 2182 was being fired up for use as the spare. Extensive enquiries revealed only blank looks and denials, and I began to fear the worst. Was this the beginning of the end? However, in the afternoon my translator and I managed to find a depot manager willing to discuss the locos disappearance and he reported that they had gone for repairs but to where he wasn't sure. If this turns out to be true, it could mean JF's lingering on in China for a little while yet.


12th March saw new Co-Co diesel GKD3B0003 in action. However, 14th March saw the offender broken down on the line to Mine 6. SY1002 was sent to recover the beast and was duly recorded on video doing so!

New Reports (May 4th 2004)

Steam News (May 4th 2004)


Chinese source indicate that closure might be postponed. Closure is not expected before 2005.

JiTong Passenger Timetable

The train has been sped up with effect from April 2004:
Jining Nan 14:38 - Baiqi 20:28 - JingPeng 02:24 - Linxi 04:54 - Daban 05:59/14 - Lindong 08:05 - Chabuga 09:28 - Tongliao 13:39 12.05
Tongliao 12:20 - Chabuga 16:34 - Lindong 17:51 - Daban 20:22/40 - Linxi 21:51 - JingPeng 00:29 - Baiqi 06:32 - JiningNan 12:05

Steam News and Discoveries (Apr 26th 2004)

Some other unreported steam lines were found by Michael Vogel in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province recently. Zhenjiang is north-east of Nanjing, just less than two hours from Shanghai.

Zhenjiang has got two steam lines:

  1. One is served by six to seven JS. It's a lime stone line with some photographic potential.
  2. The second is a line in the city to a coke plant which is using two very clean SYs.
  3. Additionally, the steelworks of Nanjing still uses 6 SYs, the 7th was dumped just last month.

Sandaoling Coal Mine

Wang Guojun who was the Chinese guide for the first two Japanese railfans there tells that large mountains provide a scenic background for pictures of the line and that the area has the culture of the Uygur nationality which he says is different from that found in other areas of China.

Hami coal railway system is believed to own one JS, numbered 8423. This though is not an 8xxx series JSb (highest number 8422) but the re-numbered Datong works pilot 9999 which was sold by Datong when they dieselised their pilot duties and apparently re-numbered at the time to follow the JSb numbers. 9999 is thought to be essentially the same technically as the later 6xxx JSs built at Datong.

New Report (Apr 23rd 2004)

Steam Discoveries (Apr 15th 2004)

Sandaoling Coal Co.(Hami coal mine)

Report from Mr.Wang Guojun(Japanese Guide):

Location Hami coal mine is situated about 60 km northwest from Hami city. Coaling started in 1960 and will be continued for the next 100 years. The railway line opened in 1958. About 20.000 workers are employed.

The connection with the CNR is at Lishuquan (which according to the Quail Map, page 9 is at kilometer post 1390 of the Lanzhou-Urumqi line, about 60 km west of Hami and 500 km east of Urumqi. From Lishuquan there is a 36 km "main line" to Nanquan (36km), passing flat land.
From Nanquan lines go to 5 mines. The line from Nanquan to the Nanquan Open Coal Mine is 13km, the line to Beiquan Coal Mine goes 5 km to the north of Nanquan, the line to No. 1 Coal Mine goes 8km northeast of Nanquan, and the line to the South Station and Coal Yard mines goes 7 km southeast from Nanquan.
The Coal yard is about 7Km southeast from Nangquan and all of coal mine lines are connecting this place. The south station is just next of coal yard.

The line is leading partly through mountains and features many gradients and curves. The scenery is extremely beautifull! Road access is very bad and a 4WD is neccessary.

The total locomotives working on the main line, the branches, and in the mines themselves are 23 JS and 2 SY, plus there are 2 SY not currently working (13 "old" (pre 1985) and 22 "new" JS altogether). Formerly, there were some 60 steam locos of classes JSs, SYs and JFs.

Guide assistance is needed since this is a very restricted area. Hotel and police are always check your Passport when you are there.

The first steam enthusiasts to visit the line were Mr. Hiroo Kobayashi and Mr. Hiroshi Wada in December 2003 guided by Japanese speaking Chinese guide Wang Guajun. Mr. Wang can be reached at "wanggj0306@hotmail.com".

Other steam in Xinjiang province

A Urumuqi inhabitant suggested that there are steam engines working in mines in the area between Turfan and Kashgar.

Jincheng Ore Railway

. Jincheng city in Shanxi province is reported to offer continued steam operation in 2004. There is a large mining operation in Jincheng producing metal ore, nickel I think. In 1992 it had an extensive railway system and several SYs workied around Jinchang and on the line to the CNR interchange at Hexipu. Additionally, there are a number of coal mines in the valleys leading into the Taihangshan to the south of Jincheng. The roads leading over the pass to Luoyang turn to ankle deep black sludge when it rains.

JiTong Railway (Apr 15th 2004)

Chinese sources report:

"Zhelimu to Chabuga was run completely by leased DF4 from 1st April 2004. Baiqi-Benhong is the next section to be run by diesel engines. Due to the finacial problems and imcomplete training of the diesel drivers at Daban, total dieselisation is not imminent. In 2004, Chabuga-Daban- Haoluku-Baiqi will remain exclusively steam hauled. In spring 2005 diesel engines will be introduced and gradually replace steam. This will be finished in end of 2005/beginning of 2006. Daban-Haoluku will probably be the last steam section."

In early April, the Zhenxiangbaiqi - Benhong slow passengers were still steam hauled. >From Baiqi eastward towards Haoluku, traffic was 30 % diesel. Trains were run with a DF4 in front of the usual QJ.

Steam News (Apr 15th 2004)


The orange diesel seems (GKD3B 0003) has replaced one of the doubleheaders out of Tianzhuang yard in the morning rush. It was seen hauling 73 cars once. However, the workers at Pingdingshan said that they have not retired any steam locomotives. Overhauls continue, too.


Visits to the Depot at Zhungeer are no longer allowed. A guide was handed a notice advising of a complete ban on visiting and photography. The ban includes the railway in the near vicinity, too. Offenders are liable to a fine not exceeding 10,000 RMB.

New Reports (Apr 8th 2004)

New Reports (Apr 5th 2004)

Steam in Xinjiang (Wulumuqi Area) (Apr 5th 2004)

It is thought that there is still active steam in the Urumqi area in far northwestern China. Though the information isn't clear, it appears there is a 70 km line using steam to an open pit coal mine in the general vicinity of Urumqi. It appears likely that this is the Heishan Coal Mine.
At Hami, about 550 km east of Urumqi along the railroad, there were J88S and JF operating as part of a coal operation in the late 1990's, but no further mention recently. A recent article in a professional coal publication stated the coal field at Hami still has about 7.2 billion tons of coal in the ground.

On the Japanese Steam in China website message board, further info can be found about a possible steam line in the vicinity of Urumqi: It is talk about an 85km line (maybe with 2 additional branches) with 28 active steam locomotives of classes QJ and JS.

(info by Louis Cerny)

Ma`anshan Map (Apr 5th 2004)

Three Maps of the Ma`anshan system, courtesy of Ronald Olsen are available now.

Yongsheng Railway (Mar 16th 2004)

Bruce Evans provides a (Chinese) map of the Yongsheng Area. It shows the situation some years ago.

Yongsheng Railway Map

Previous News (Dec 2002-Mar 2004)

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2005, F.Menius, 2007 Dave Fielding, 2014, Trustees of SY-Country, email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk