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Steam in China, October 2012 and April 2013

by Felix Sun

Mianzhu, Hanwang

I'm now a college student in Chengdu so I could get a lot of opportunities to visit the Hanwang town and I have been there four times and I hope I can bring you some useful information...

Mianzhu

My friends and I went to HanWang on Oct 9th 2012 just to see the only known active standard-gauge steam locomotives. On our way to Hanwang, we saw a SY working in the Mianzhu train station (I think it's SY 1198).
I returned on Oct 28th 2012. On that visit I found the SY 1198 was in steam and I took its picture but the railworkers of the Mianzhu station told me that the SY 1198 wouldn't move that day.

SY 1198 resting at Mianzhu, Oct 28th 2012.
 

My most recent visit was on April 5th 2013 with Dawei Pang who came to Sichuan for Hanwang and Rongshan.
There is only one SY in Mianzhu, the SY 1198. It's still in steam and busy enough. There was no more steam in Mianzhu, I didn't find any other steam in both the railyard and the small depot. I didn't get chance to talk with the SY 1198's driver to know where SY 1656 is.
(Chengdu Chinese guide "Zebedee", (Zhang Guangyu), visited Mianzhu on March 28th and was informed that SY 1656 was sold and broken up a month before. (Information sent to John Raby, Steam_in_China 11185.))

SY 1198 busy working at Mianzhu, April 5th 2013.
 

I should add the location of the SY 1198 in Mianzhu: It belongs to Ju Tong Gong Si (in Chinese 聚通公司) in the north of CNR Mianzhu Station. (You can easily find it in Google Earth). You can get there by taxi or bus route No.1. (The bus stop name is Su Xing Jie Kou, in Chinese 苏兴街口, and you can just tell the driver you want to go to the Mianzhu train staton.) There are Trip Notes and Traffic Plan at the end of this report.

Hanwang

On the October 2012 visit, we arrived Hanwang at 12:00 and were a little disappointed because we didn't see the SY 1194 (the only active steam I knew in Hanwang before this visit.) So we decided to have lunch first and after it we went to the Hanwang station. Soon we got good news; a SY was in steam again, the SY 0418. On my 2012 August visit to Hanwang I had found it cold. I had a talk with the driver of SY 0418, he told me that SY 0418 would not move that day but the SY 1194 would come to Hanwang station soon and there were 5(?) active steam locomotives along the DeTian Railway (The CNR line from Deyang to Hanwang and Mianzhu). I know just four of them (SY 0418, SY 1194, SY 1198 and SY 1656).
Then my friends went to the fertiliser works along the railway where they found SY 1194 was ready to haul some tankers to Hanwang station. The driver told them the locomotive will move in 30 minutes. At 16:10, a CNR freight train arrived Hanwang and SY 1194 came out hauling about 5 wagons to Hanwang station, my friend took his photo when SY 1194 crossed the wide main street. I was waiting at the end of a gradient of 13.5%. The steam exhaust was strong but the weather was too bad, I think someone may take a better shot at this position. Then SY 1194 uncoupled the 5 wagons in Hanwang station and collected another 3 tankers to return to the fertiliser works.

SY 0418 on its siding, in light steam, but what does it do there, Dec 9th 2012?
 

SY 1194 at Hanwang Fertiliser Factory ready to haul tankers to Hanwang station, Oct 9th 2012.
(downloaded from my friend's blog with permission)
 

Heading for Hanwang station, SY 1194 crosses Hanwang's "main street" with its train, Oct 9th 2012.
(downloaded from my friend's blog with permission)
 

SY 1194 in Hanwang station, Oct 9th 2012.
 

SY 1194 pushes 3 tankers back to the factory, Oct 9th 2012.
 

When I arrived at Hanwang on the afternoon of the recent trip, I was really surprised because I didn't see the SY 0418 in the end line of Hanwang station, then I found it was in steam (in the fertiliser works) and the reason why------the SY 1194 had to take a light maintenance and the SY 0418 just had to be on duty.

We had a talk with the driver and he told us that there was a lot of work to do every day and they had to keep the locos running. They thought SY 1194 was in a better status than 0418 and they used the 1194 mainly, the 0418 just worked when the 1194 had to stop. (Notice that the SY 0418, built in 1970, is one of the oldest active SY in China now.) And they told me that they planned to replace the steam by diesel and some drivers were training for diesel driving. Maybe steam will stop working in 2014.

Hanwang Fertiliser Factory, on the left SY 1194 under light maintenance, on the right SY 0418 ready to deputise, April 5th 2013.
 

Hanwang Fertiliser Factory, SY 1194 under light maintenance in the factory yard, April 5th 2013.
 

A rare(?) sight, SY 0418 with a train of tank wagens climbs towards Hanwang station, April 5th 2013.
 

SY 0418 shunting the tank wagons in Hanwang station, April 5th 2013.
 

SY 0418 on the "main street" crossing returning to the factory, April 5th 2013.
 

Trip Notes and Traffic Plan

And here are some trip notes, I hope this could help people who want to go to Hanwang.
Traffic to Mianzhu and Hanwang:
1. Hanwang and Mianzhu are very close to Chengdu, so if you are going to Shibanxi and you have a free day, Hanwang and Mianzhu are maybe a good choice.
2. The only way to Hanwang is taking a bus and there are two bus routes to Hanwang, Deyang to Hanwang and Mianzhu to Hanwang. Deyang built two new bus stations, one is called north bus station and another one called south bus station. The bus route from Deyang to Hanwang starts from the south one, and the bus from Deyang to Mianzhu starts from the north one. The north bus station is beside the Deyang train station and the south bus station is a little far from the urban area
3. The frequency of buses from Mianzhu to Hanwang is really big, so there is always a bus departing about every 15 min. The morning buses from Deyang to Hanwang depart at 8:20 and 10:40.
4. You can get from Chengdu to Deyang by train or bus, but I think the train is more convenient and it's cheaper. The train No. K9392 is the best choice (depart 8:50AM, arrive 9:40 AM).
5. You can get to Mianzhu directly by bus from Chengdu Zhaojuesi bus station, the bus will depart every 30min. When you arrive Mianzhu bus station, you should take the bus route 1 to another bus station (Bus station name is Zhong Xin Guang Chang) to get the bus to Hanwang. But this way to Hanwang usually takes more time than the Chengdu-Deyang-Hanwang way.
6. When you get to Hanwang bus stop, you should take a three-wheel taxi to Hanwang station, you can tell the driver that you want to go to Dong Qi Chang Men Kou (means the gate of the East Turbine Factory, you can directly see the Hanwang train station, note the simple map below).

So here is my traffic plan for Hanwang and Mianzhu:
The K9392 train from Chengdu to Deyang (Hard seat price is 7 yuan), arrive Deyang at 9:40 AM.------Walk to the north bus station (in Chinese:德阳汽车客运北站).----Take bus from Deyang to Mianzhu----Take the bus route 1 to Mianzhu train station, the bus direction should be Wu Li Dun, the bus stop's name is above at the end of the Mianzhu report, 1 yuan (but I don't know whether the SY 1198 is still working).---Take the bus route 1 back to Zhong Xin Guang Chang and take a bus to Hanwang.---Take a three wheeled taxi to Dong Qi Chang to visit SY 1194 and SY 0418.---Take bus from Hanwang to Deyang or Mianzhu, from Mianzhu you can take bus back to Chengdu (34 yuan for high speed or 28 yuan for usual speed).

Map of Hanwang
 

Felix Sun

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