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Steam in China - September 2008

by Peter Semmelroch


Some notes on a 3-day visit to Xingyang Brickworks Railway from 13th to 15th of September. (My first visit to this line).

I took a Friday evening flight from Shanghai to Zhengzhou and a taxi from Zhengzhou airport to Xingyang. There is a motorway all the way and the taxi needed just 1 hour to reach Xingyang (250 Yuan). I checked into the hotel opposite Xingyang CNR station (out of use) which was mentioned in some reports at around 11 pm. The hotel is very run-down and could not offer warm water, so next day I found a new and very comfortable hotel, called the JiaSheng Century Hotel, situated on the intersection of Zhengshang Road (a main road leading from Zhengzhou to Xingyang and further west) and Jingcheng Road, easy to find as every taxi diver in Xingyang knows this hotel. The hotel has one advantage: At the reception they have an excellent map of Xingyang and the surrounding area which they can borrow to you and it is very easy to find the railway with the help of this map. (I got it only on Sunday morning though). It shows the whole railway line and you can show a taxi driver exactly where to go. Unfortunately the map is nowhere for sale in Xingyang and I forgot to take a picture of the interesting part. They wanted me to hand it back to them when I checked out on Monday afternoon, as they couldnīt get another one anymore.

The railway was working as described previously, with C2 207 being the active loco. The action starts with the first train of empties leaving at 7 (work in the yard where the loco and one rake of empties - the other one stays at the loading point - is parked overnight starts around 6.15/6.30), the first loaded train returns around 8.15, then there are three more roundtrips in the morning, the last reaching Xingyang at around 11.45. A round trip takes usually between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes. After a lunch break, the action started again around 1 pm and 5 round trips were made in the afternoon (at least this is my guess as the arrival of the fifth would have been in the dark already, I didnīt check out, but I donīt assume they did one more in the dark then). On Sunday (which was a bank holiday in China) they did only one roundtrip in the morning at 7 and suspended work after that, but restarted at 1 pm in the afternoon, while on Monday the schedule was as reported above for Saturday.

The line has some scenic sections with good potential for photography especially around the arch bridge, which can by reached by foot from the yard (20 min) or by Taxi via a nearby road bridge. Everybody was very nice and helpful, and I could ride the train to and from the loading point without problems. Nevertheless the workshop/shed was locked and I didn’t ask for entrance, so no info about that.

Weather was warm and sunny with little to no clouds. On Monday late afternoon I took a taxi back to Zhengzhou airport and an evening flight back to Shanghai.

With a Friday evening flight from Shanghai or Beijing to Zhengzhou and a evening flight back on Sunday even a weekend trip would make sense, as the railway can be reached very easily and fast from Zhengzhou airport, and 2 days are almost enough to cover this short and very lovely small railway.

The reports and maps of Rob Dickinson and Jan Willem van Dorp available on SY-Country were of great help in finding the railway. Thanks!

Peter Semmelroch

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Đ 2008 Peter Semmelroch