China Trip Report - December 16, 2005 to January 3, 2006
Kunming, Anshun, Guiyang, Zhicheng, Pucheng, Haishiwan, Mianchi, Yinghao
by Bruce Evans
Kunming Area (Dec 16)
The overnight train for our eastwards trip from Kunming to Anshun, near Guiyang, was hauled by one of Kunming Bureau's new yellow-liveried SS7Cs numbered 0162. It is thought that this loco hauled the train as far as Liupanshui where an SS3B would have taken over.
Anshun Area (Dec 17 and 18)
The new Beijing-built DF7G acquired for the Jiaozishang Coal Mine railway was unfortunately in service leaving only shunt duties - moving of gondolas under the coal loading hoppers - as the only remaining work for the SYs. One SY was in steam and the other two dead.
The security problems at the coal loading area apparently stem from the fact that prison labour from what is an Anshun City prison is used for coal loading and possibly various other tasks around the yard area near the loading point. Photography is not allowed here but there is apparently no problem along most of the line between the end point and Anshun CNR station.
It is sad that this interesting short coal line through very good karst mountain scenery was not better covered before arrival of the DF7G.
On the CNR mainline in this area all freight seen was SS1 hauled, often double-headed. Passenger trains were generally hauled by SS3Bs.
Guiyang (Dec 19)
An spell of about one hour was spent on an overbridge located between what appeared to be the main marshalling yard and the main freight loco depot. The depot was located between various mainline tracks that approached from the north or west. During our spell here we were visited by a van-load of police who explained in a friendly manner that photography of the yard was not allowed.
Most freight traffic to the east - the Huaihua direction - appeared to now be hauled by the new blue double-section SS3B(G)s.
Huaihua - Jingmen (Dec 20)
The new electrified CNR mainline from Huaihua to Chongqing was opened to traffic in December. News media reports announced that the opening of this line had brought the electrified route distance on the national railways to more than 20,000km.
The line from Huaihua to Zhangjiejie is single track and it is in the process of being electrified with much work already completed. Freights are at present hauled by DF4 / DF4B, many double-headed, and passengers by 120km/hr DF4B.
Zhangjiejie is a loco change point and what appears to be a Bureau change point. The section south is worked by Guangzhou Bureau locos while that to the north is worked by Wuchang Bureau locos.
The line north from Zhangjiejie is single as far as Shimenxian. From here northwards it has been doubled. There were no signs of electrification work. Freights are worked again by DF4 / DF4B while passengers are worked by a mix of DF4D and DF11.
At Zhijiang (also shown as Zijingling on Quail) there is a loco depot. This contained DF4 / DF4Bs and DF7Cs as well as what appeared to be at least two dumped SS1s. This depot is understood to have a steam locomotive overhaul facility this being the remaining part of the major steam overhaul facility cryptically referred to as being at Zhi Jilin in a 1993 CRJ. The depot and works now belong to the new Wuchang Bureau. Not unexpectedly overhaul of diesel locos is understood to have become the main activity at the works. (Our guide thought the correct Pinyin spelling for the works was Zhijinling).
Zhicheng Area (Dec 21 - 22)
The Liujiacheng (or SongYi) Local Railway that extends southwards into the hills from Zhicheng was explored. This railway now has two ex-CNR DF4s, 0050 and 0061, and these work the main traffic on the line which appears to be limestone from midway along the line that is hauled in a variety of hopper wagons to a cement works on the outskirts of Zhicheng. The line also has at least four SYs, one of which was in steam, two which appeared to be spare and one that was derelict. The working SY was based at the local station close to the Zhicheng CNR station. It was being used for interchanging traffic with the CNR and for shunting various sidings around Zhicheng. This work included servicing the cement works mentioned above.
South of Zhicheng the local railway is steeply graded - up to 3% - and it passes through good scenery. There is a short tunnel at the summit between Zhicheng and the mid-point. According to railway workers an SY could only haul 4 loaded wagons on the steepest sections. This is another very interesting local line that unfortunately appears to have been found too late.
The Zhicheng Port Railway on the Yangtze River was also visited. Again it was a case of having arrived too late as duties were being performed by newly arrived GK1C 0648. SY 1636 (Ts 89/1) was dead but serviceable and sisters 1301 and 1413 were said to be at Zhijinling for attention (they appeared to say for overhaul but the situation seems to suggest that the "heat-treatment" could be more likely).
Pucheng Area (Dec 24 - 26)
The Pubai Coal Mine system was visited. The green and cream DF4B 9571 was working and three QJs were in steam. A further QJ was in the workshop for attention and two others were stored in the locked compound. One of these is 7291 stored under tarpaulins. Depot staff indicated that all but one of the QJs were going to be sold in 2006 presumably meaning that several more diesels are on order. 7291 was likely to be the last QJ on the system.
Coal traffic was generally light and on Christmas Day there were no trains at all.
At Pucheng Station it was clear that traffic on the Yan'an / Shenmu line has increased and almost all freights to and from the Xi'an area are now double-headed by DF4 / DF4Bs. On the JV several new DF8Bs were seen.
Haishiwan (Dec 27 - 31)
An odd sight at Lanzhou Station before heading to Haishiwan was of a Lanzhou-Xining DMU made up of new single-deck coaches sandwiched between the two double-deck height push-pull units.
Haishiwan has been extensively reported recently so no detail will be given here except to report the arrival of Yaoji's first diesel in the form of Beijing-built DF7G 5163 which traveled up the line under its own power on the morning of December 30.
Luoyang - Beijing (Jan 1)
Luoyang - Zhengzhou
Much as reported before.
Locos seen: DF4B 2411, 6455; DF4D 0499, 0537; DF7 0256, 0257; 6K 020
Zhengzhou - Anyang
Changes on this section include a big influx of SS3Bs that have taken over many of the SS4(G) duties on this section, and big influxes of new DF8Bs for the Xinxiang - Yanzhou line and new SS4(G)s for the Yueshan - Xinxiang line. The volume of coal traffic moving west to east through Xinxiang has greatly increased.
Anyang - Shijiazhuang
As on the Zhengzhou - Anyang section single locos, this time in the form of SS1s, have replaced many of the SS4(G)s on this section. At Handan several of the Handan-Jinan JV railway blue and cream DF4Bs were to be seen.
Shijiazhuang and Shijiazhuang to Beijing
Brand new Zhuzhou-built SS4(G)s 1016 and 1017 both marked for Taiyuan Bureau were noted in Shijiazhuang main yard. Shenyang Bureau DF4C 4427 and DF4B 1073 were in trains going from overhaul and to overhaul respectively.
Luoyang Area (Mar 9 and 12)
Stayed at the Hongquan Hotel in the west of the city.
On the national railways freights west of Luoyang are hauled by a mix of SS6 and 6K electrics with a handful of SS3B(G)s now also putting in an appearance. The SS6 and 6K-hauled freights are mostly double-headed. The SS6s now bear Luoyang depot characters. This raises the questions: Has Sanmenxia depot lost its own allocation and status or have the SS6s been transferred? What now works the freights between Xi'an and Sanmenxia or are the Luoyang locos working right through to Xi'an?
Mianchi and Yinghao (Mar 9 to 12)
Stayed at the Huimeng Hotel in Mianchi.
The Yinghao ng coal mine railway was in operation with 3 locos operating, 2 on the 'mainline' to the offloading bins at Yinghao and one loco on the mine shuttle. Two more locos at the depot were being worked on and looked serviceable. One of the dome covers lying among the debris at the depot has a Chaihe plate on it.
Barring derailments trains were operating quite frequently with up to 6 return trips to the offloading point during daylight.
After a derailment on the one afternoon two loaded trains left the junction yard within 5 or 6 minutes of each other and returned one close behind the other after offloading. The weather on this day had been cold and it was impressive to watch the two long steam plumes as the two empty trains 'sped' up-grade towards the junction yard only two kilometres or less apart!
On the industrial / mine line that extends northwest from Mianchi JS 8125 was seen in steam while JS 8182 was staged in a compound served by a spur off this line.
Two new DF10Ds belonging to Yimeijihua (Yima Coal ??) and numbered 0048 and 0049 (both Dalian 2004) were in Mianchi station yard and were thought to have taken over from steam on the coal mine lines extending from Mianchi.
© 2006 Bruce Evans