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Steam in China - December 2004

by Roger van Duijnhoven

Dahuichang, Pingdingshan, Zhungeer, JiTong

Dec 10th-28th 2004


Some short news about our trip (Roger van Duijnhoven and Michel Brauns) to China. We took only trains, buses and some taxi (no guide). Buying tickets is no problem, but this year the trains were more crowded than last year, so more hardseat travel resulted.
Also to get a Hotel in China is no problem and food is very good even in the smallest restaurants. (The “tangcu li-ji” was again very good, thank to Ameling menu card)

Dahuichang (11 Dec)

Getting to Dahuichang by bus, we got some problems: we found the 937-3 busstop on the western side of the footbridge at BeijingXi station, but only bus 937 stopped there! After the 4th bus, we went to Guchenglu by subway. On this station a map shows busstop 385, but on street no busstop 385? More problems as no bus 385 appears within 20 min, so we take a taxi. In Dahuichang no special news, two C2 locos running (no 1 and 4).
From the road (railroad crossing), left-hand side is the busterminal 385! (to Beijing xxxx?) and right-hand side a busstop with 385 and 937-3. We took bus 937-3 back to Beijing-Xi station and stayed at a fine hotel right-hand side of Beijing-Xi station (280 Yuan).

Pingdingshan (13-15 Dec)

We took the daytrain T79 BeijingXi-Zhengzhou, then an (express)bus to Pingdingshan (2,5 hours). Its timetable is:
Dep. from Zhengzhou: 08:10, 09:50, 11:30, 13,10, 15:10 and 17:10
Dep. from Pingdingshan: 08:10, 09:10, 11:30, 13:30, 15:00 and 16:30.

Of course more buses go to/from Pingdingshan, but the express ones use 100% highway.
We stayed in the JinXiu Hotel (120 yuan). In Pingdingshan still everything steam, except for the lonely “red” diesel. Every day, about 16 steamlocos are running, mostly JS type, but some SY and QJ, too, including the "old" QJ-2035 and JS-5644. The passenger trains are still SY hauled. One train set is green, the other red/white. An "internetcafe street" is near the well know JinXiu Hotel (from hotel street to station, first small street right). Citybus 34 and 37 still run as decribed earlier. As Pingdingshan still sees many steamlocos running, we just walked around.

Numbers:
JS 5644, 6225, 6253, 8030, 8031, 8054, 8057, 8065, 8062, 8338
SY 1002, 1209, 1687
QJ 2035, 6450, 6786, 7186
Cold/depot: JS 6539, SY 0758, QJ 6813

Zhungeer (17-20 Dec)

From Zhengzhou by train to Beijing and Hohhot, then by bus from Hohhot to Zhoujiawan. Stayed at the Hua Feng Hotel again(120 yuan). We also took the taxidriver with car KY3171 and Phone 13150884542.

Zhungeer is still great to visit !!! (and in my opinion even better than the JiTong line now!).

17 Dec. (>13:00h) 4 trains seen (one with the DF10D diesels),
18 Dec. to FuXingCheng west-side: 5 loaded trains uphill and some more trains/loks
19 Dec. to FuXingCheng east-side: 3 loaded trains uphill and some more trains/loks, today 100% steam incl. a downhill train leaving tunnel 2 (which is about 40 min walk from FuXingCheng)
20 Dec (<14:00h) two uphill trains near Haizita, but rest of the day no more trains (due to track construction works).

Most of the trains had 2 QJ’s and never “tender first”. But you have to go fast as railroad staff told us that steam will finish end of January 2005! However, no testruns of electric locos were seen. There are still many good photos to make with the poles/wires!

Numbers:
QJ 6555, 6565, 6573, 6613, 6827, "6853"(?), 6907, 6944, 6946, 6995, 7046, 7058, 7067

JiTong (22-25 Dec)

From Hohot to Reshui by DMU train, stayed in the JiTong railway Hotel. Rooms are new and everything clean, working and warm (130 yuan). Had last year`s taxidriver again , phone 13171373297.
On 22 and 23 Dec, we visited “the pass”. On 22 Dec we got the times of the steamtrains, so we could chase 4 trains with QJ’s uphill. The 5th was Diesel/QJ and the rest all diesel!! The next day not so good, as we did not get the “steam timings” and in the morning everything was diesel! Not before late noon, two steam trains from reshui went uphill. So we stayed a long time in station Xiakengzi drinking coffee and beer with the staff.
So, on 24 Dec went to Daban to see more QJ’s in the yard and visited the depot of Daban next day. In Daban, QJ 7002 just arrived back from Tongliao (repaired/"looked like new"). Next day, QJ 7119 went eastwards in a train to Tongliao, probably for repairs.

Conclusion
Dec 22nd was nice with 4 trains with steam on the pass, also the visit to depot at Daban was fine. But the JiTong line is realy "close to the end of steam".

Numbers (most in daban)
QJ 6639, 6763, 6825, 6828, 6851, 6853, 6882, 6884, 6891, 6900, 6978, 6986, 6988, 6996, 7007, 7009, 7012, 7030, 7037, 7038, 7049, 7063, 7081, 7112, 7143, 7163, 7164 (and QJ 7002, 7119 on transport)

Beijing (27-28 Dec)

Back to Beijing by bus Daban-Chifeng. Next day, we took daytrain Chifeng-Chengde (hardseat no problem, almost empty train from Chifeng) and connecting train Chengde-Beijing.
In Beijing, we stayed at JianYuan Hotel (190 yuan!) near the subwaystation "Xidan" where airportbus and many restarants, suppermarket and the postoffice are.

Conclusion

This trip to China was nice because the weather in Zhungeer and JiTong was good (sun, cold and no wind). And of course good to say “bye-bye” to the QJ’s! In two weeks, 48 QJs were seen in steam and a total of about 64 steamlocos - not bad! (better than any kind of "plandampfs"!)

Zhungeer was really nice! Seeing so many QJ’s working on a very beautiful line! But this wil be over end January 2005!
Jitong also nice for saying "bye-bye", but many diesel on the pass. (We didn’t have the time, but east of Daban will be better...)
So, if you want to visit China to see steam, don’t wait too long!
Roger van Duijnhoven


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© 2004, Roger van Duijnhoven r.van.duijnhoven@planet.nl