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At the Longhua loco staging area there was a line of 8-10 BJs, presumably staged ex-Chengde locos. There also appeared to be a few members of this class parked on the service tracks together with DF4/4Bs, DF4Cs and DF8Bs.
Very noticeable (to me at least as a South African) was the presence of large amounts of very colourful cosmos in bloom along road verges and at level crossings. This plant is not native to China (nor to South Africa) but in fact comes from central America. It is very common though on the highveld in South Africa and provides some spectacular displays there during the autumn months.
The DF4s are presumably now owned by the Jitong railway indicating that they now favour buying second diesels from CNR - ex-Tongliao and Jiningnan depots.
Observations over the following days showed that around 60% of coal trains were now diesel-worked but that the passenger services for the time being remained steam. Staff indicated that there were now 8 diesels on the system. We saw 5 working with one of the DF4Bs in the workshops and presumably three DFH3s still being commissioned. Staff also indicated that another 4 diesels, understood to also be DFH3s, were due soon.
On Sept 21 the DF4B was not seen and there were some steam workings on coal trains on the western line. The big afternoon train back to Daqing however was double-headed by a DFH3 and SY with the diesel leading.
There was much talk by staff of a steam museum that the mining administration is planning possibly to be opened next year. At the mining administration hotel the location of the proposed museum is shown on the large foyer map. Sadly it does not appear to be rail-connected. However, it does seem that the management is considering having working steam with possibilities for visitors firing and driving. Of particular interest is that they are apparently negotiating with Pingzhuang to swap one or two of their withdrawn SYs for the KD6 and another loco at Pingzhuang - said to be a GJ tank. They are apparently also trying to get a YJ ex-Taiyuan!
SY (working): 1183, 1412, 1683, 1749, 1751, 1767, 1769, 1770, 1772
DFH3: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
DF4B: 7720, 7721
DF5 (new outline): 2005, 2045 (main station and old station).
The rail system serving most of the Kailuan mines is centred on Guye, about 25km NE of Tangshan on the line to Qinhuangdao. Here there is an overhaul works, SE of the CNR station, which had 3 SYs under overhaul at the time of the visit, plus one just finished and in fresh paint and one waiting to go in. The visit was informal and the staff were uncomfortable but it seems the administration has around 50 steam locos - maybe not all working. This total seems reasonable given the number of locos in works. Some of the SYs seen were previously reported at Tangshan coal mine.
The main interchange yard appears to be just SW of Guye station - but it's not a Tiefa or Pingdingshan exchange yard. The rail system connects to the mainline at several places so activity may be quite dispersed.
Most mines are east (south) of the CNR line. Important mines are Linxi, Qianying and Lujiatou but there are several others. At Qianying, which is around 25km directly east of Tangshan, there were 5 SYs and 2 dumped JSs (plus 2 non-powered snow-ploughs!). The 2 JSs, 8128 and 8129 appear to both be from a batch of industrial JSs numbered in the 81xx series.
There is an SY passenger service between Linxi and Qianying mines (about 30 km) via Lujiatou with apparently 4 return workings per day, 2 in the morning and 2 late in the afternoon. A chimney-first SY on a 7-coach pass was seen leaving Qianying at about 08:50. All the locos seen at Qianying faced north.
The mine and rail tracks at Qianying are enclosed by a high wall but the area can be accessed from the northern end of the wall where two tracks, one the line to Lujiatou, emerge. Within the walled area there is a small loco depot with a 2-track shed.
Some of the mines appear to be isolated (as the Tangshan mines are). Majiagou mine is close to Tangshan on the west (north) side of the mainline. This mine apparantly has 3 steam locos but an informal short-notice visit to check was not allowed.
Initial impressions are that the system is not a Tiefa or Pingdingshan. Most of the area is flat and there does not seem to be a clear mainline. However, there could be pleasant scenes with mine headgear and dumps and the passenger service (7-coaches) would be good to photograph. However, road access did not appear to be that good and over the period of the stay in Tangshan heavy pollution made decent photography impossible.
The only diesel seen on the mine lines visited was an old Shijiazhuang-built NJ150/ZN150 0-6-0 at the loco works at Guye. It may have been the works shunter and looked very run-down.
Locos seen: (some on a visit by a friend last year who did an initial recce)
SY: 0021, 0031, 0132, 0355, 0379, 0453, 0907, 1069, 1186, 1212, 1355, 1525, 1537, 1538, 1736, 1759.
JS: 8128, 8129 (both dumped)
Many of the steelworks lines are electrified and an LEW Bo-Bo plus 3 ZG150 Tri-Bos were seen. Plus a plinthed ZG80 Bo-Bo. There are three plinthed locos in total outside the main steelworks loco and wagon works right next to a main public road. The third loco is an XK13 tank loco. What appeared to be a police headquarters as well as the railway headquarters were on the opposite side of the road!
At the steelworks there were many newish C64 gondolas carrying a 'private' logo. The branch may carry ore for other steelworks (Beijing?). From the observations the branch from the steelworks to Shaheyi is not CNR but probably SY worked (15-20 km). This line possibly passes through attractive rolling countryside but there was no time to recce for roads and access. On the way back to Tangshan a road was followed about 20 km west of the branch and this went through very attractive countryside with villages more appealing than many seen elsewhere in China. All the SYs seen faced south.
In the works yard at the steelworks there was a rake of YZ22 passenger coaches. The coaches did not look as if they were in regular use.
The part of the branch extending further north of the steelworks (shown to Liuguanying on Quail) was not checked. Immediately north of the steelworks there are multiple electrified tracks some of which extend up to about 10 or more km from the steelworks. These seem to serve various ore mines. These mines seem mostly to be hills that are being demolished or blown apart - and there are many of them!
The yard at Shaheyi appeared to be CNR and a DF7 was present presumably to handle shunt duties. A CNR DF4-hauled train arrived from the south and it is assumed this had come from Guye. An SS1 also arrived, from the Fengrun-Qinhuangdao line, to collect a load. There were several coal loading spurs leading off the yard as well as some light industry served by sidings.
SY: 0026(plinthed), 0346(dumped), 0395(dumped), 0487(dumped), 0697, 0768, 1033, 1760
ZG150: 118, 351, 352
LEW Bo-Bo: 7215
SY: 1311, 1582, 1669
QJ 1450 features in several of the museum photographs. This loco was obviously a depot pet and may have made a name for itself at the time of the 1976 earthquake.
DF4B: 1496, 2473, 6025
DF7B: 6027, 6054, 6056
DF8B: 0019, 5136, 5160, 5192, 5308, 5342
SS1: 252, 431, 447, 448, 526, 551, 595
(I had a very good and knowledgeable taxi driver for three days and can recommend him. He is Mr Li Zhi Min - tel 2109528. He does not speak any English but quickly grasped what I was after and he knows the broader area well.)
DFH2: 0038, 0049
DF7C: 5250, 5411
DF8B: 5134, 5191, 5310
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