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Steam Lines in China 2016

This is an active listing of lines that are known to still use steam or those that have recently stopped. The list does not claim to be exhaustive; only lines for which first hand reports or information have been received within the last twelve months are included. Almost all remaining steam locomotives in regular service are now at least 25 years old and nearing the end of their normal working lives. Furthermore, the last year has seen the closure of many coal mines and steel works in China, typically among the principal remaining users of steam power. Realistically therefore, the likelihood of steam returning to use, or 'undiscovered' locations being found is slim. That said, 2015 saw confirmation of steam at a site where it was previously reported finished (Jiutai in Jilin) and at a previously unreported location (Xifeng in Guizhou province) so surprises cannot be ruled out! Up to date information, including confirmation of lines where working steam no longer exists, is always welcome, please send to the webmaster.

For information including maps, loco lists and links to trip reports on these and other lines prior to October 2014, please see the original Steam Lines page. For convenience, clicking the line's title will take you to the description and a list of the most recent relevant reports.

Latest updates:

Sandaoling report (February 2016)

Fuxin steam working ended here on 31st August - see News

Fushun report (March 2016)

Pingzhuang report (August 2016)

Remaining Steam Lines

Baiyin

All steam working here officially finished on 20 November 2015 (News 20 November). An article by Michael Reilly and John Athersuch in Locomotives International Annual No. 1 (2014) gives background information, history and a map. (Please note that the mine electric lines have been accidentally omitted from the map and locations 1 and 2 reversed!!)

Fushun

See reports by Harada Keisuke (March 2016), Michael Reilly (February 2016), Duncan Cotterill (November 2015), John Athersuch (November 2015) and Peter Haworth (September 2015).

Fuxin

All steam working was reported to have ended here on 31st August. Up to 5 SYs were in use to the very end. The last detailed reports were by Roger Croston in August, John King in March 2016, Michael Reilly and and Ian Hopkins from February 2016.

Pingzhuang

This system has acquired 2 DF4 diesels to handle all trip working to/from the China rail exchange sidings at Pingzhuang Nan. However, reliability problems with both have meant periodic returns to steam working and the exact situation varies on an almost daily basis. No more than two locos appear to be needed to deal with the daily traffic. The most recent report, by Roger Croston in August was of two SYs in steam daily with the possibility of a third later in the year.

In November 2015, Duncan Cotterill saw 2 SYs in use on two days but one DF4 with one SY in steam but not working on a third. In February 2016, Ian Hopkins found just one SY in service.

Rongshan

The last real train (a train hauling bricks and sand to seal up the mine at Yujiabian) ran at Rongshan on 9 November behind C2 219. Prior to that on 8 November, both C2 211 and 219 were in steam and went to Yujiabian to coal before 211 dropped its fire and went on shed. Two further charters were arranged on 12 and 13 November with C2 219 and the fire was dropped on 219 on the morning of 14 November. See John Raby's report on this for further details. 

No further reports of the locos working after this date have been received although as with previous closures, some railway staff are still retained on a basic salary.

Just prior to closure, Peter Haworth found C2 211 and 219 both working hauling regular coal trains

Sandaoling

Now that steam at Fuxin has ended, this is the most active remaining steam location with locos in daily use on coal trains from the open cast pit and for trains to the deep mines to the East. Up to four locos and fixed rakes provide a frequent and dramatic service from the open cast pit.

One loco is used for the passenger train (now consisting of just the locomotive) around shift change (8:30 and 20:30) between Dongbolizhan and Baerzhan. During the day, this engine sometimes is used for other tasks like shunting at the workshop. 5 engines are in use around Nanzhan. These engines are used for shunting duties at Nanzhan and coal traffic plus shunting between Nanzhan and Erjing / Yijing.

Although the new line to Shandunzi was expected to be steam worked after opening, in early December 2014 the decision was taken to run all trains with diesel haulage.For the most recent reports see John King , Ameling Algra Ian Hopkins (all February 2016) and Duncan Cotterill's report of his visit in November-December 2015.

Shibanxi

On his visit in March 2015, John Raby found plenty of activity with the tourist season in full swing with frequent excursion trains in addition to the three scheduled weekday passenger trains in each direction.

Tianjin

There are two SYs based here although the most recent report, from Michael Reilly in February 2016 suggests one of these is dumped with only one now in use, steamed on a daily basis to take wagons to and from the exchange sidings with CNR. See also John Athersuch's report of November 2015 .

Jiutai

Michael Reilly's report of February 2016 is the most recent report, together with Peter Haworth's and John Athersuch's reports of September and November 2015 of activity at JianJing colliery near Jiutai in Jilin province, approximately 40km NE of Changchun, where SY1407 is normally in steam including to work trains to the CNR exchange sidings at Yingcheng station, 4km away. The time of operation varies, presumably in accordance with CNR requirements. Another SY appears to being used as a source of spare parts.

Wujiu Coal Mine

Wujiu has one diesel (DF4DD) and 3 useable SYs: 1134, 1225 and 1546. John Athersuch visited in November 2015 and found one SY in use daily, including on short trip working to a new deep mine. SY1546 was the loco in use, as it had been in October 2014.

Xifeng

The Xiyang Phosphate factory at Xifeng, north of Guiyang in Guizhou province has 3 SYs, one of which is in steam daily for occasional shunting in the yard and possibly for trip working to CNR exchange sidings although this normally appears to be handled by a diesel loco. Steam was last confirmed here in October 2015, when the loco in use was SY0434, which must be one of the oldest still in service.SY1169 is also reported to be here, the identity of the 3rd loco is at present not known.


Other possibilities and/or lines which have recenly ended steam working.

Xian

QJ 6652 has seen seasonal use in winters past at CRH depot in Xian (stationary boiler).

Yaojie

Duncan Cotterill reported steam action around the aluminium works and power station at Jiangjiapingin in March 2014 but latest information is that steam working ceased in August 2015.(17 September)

Yuanbaoshan

John Raby visiting in March found that steam working had again ceased.The passenger train has also ceased running.

Yuxia

The single SY previously in use here has now been moved to a location in Wuhan. (News, 20 November 2015)

Beitai Steelworks

Steam was said to end in "spring" 2014 and there have been no reports since then.

Panzihua Steelworks, Sichuan

Chinese guide and enthusiast Zebedee stated in November 2014 that Panzihua steelworks in Sichuan province still has steam. But there have been no corroborating reports.

Tiefa

Usually 1 SY in steam, but no "regular" traffic.

Dongtonghua steelworks

The last report of working steam was in November 2014, but apparently the one remaining loco failed the following month and there have been no subsequent reports.


If you have information about these or any other surviving steam operations, please let the SY-Country webmaster know:

webmaster@sy-country.co.uk..


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2005, F.Menius, 2007 Dave Fielding, 2014, Trustees of SY-Country.