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China Railways Trip Reports

October 1998

Bruce G. Evans

Kunming area

The three mainlines radiating from Kunming were worked as follows:

The electrified mainline towards Guiyang has SS3s and a sprinkling of SS3Bs on through traffic. Important passenger trains are double-headed. DF1s, DF2s and some DF5s are used for trip workings and local pilots. The locos are based at Kunming depot (opposite Kunming East Station). DF1s appeared to be used on passenger workings for the branches near Kunming.

The electrified line towards Nanning has SS7s with the same diesel types in use for secondary duties in the Kunming area.

The presently diesel worked line westwards towards Guangtong and Panzhihua has DF4Bs and pairs of DF1s on freights and single DF1s on passenger trains. Secondary duties in the Kunming area have DF1s, DF2s or DF5s.

Interesting workings noted were a DF2 on a workers passenger train from Xiaoshiba (to the east) to Kunming in the late afternoon (there is a matching eastbound working in the morning) and several double and triple-headers involving mixed groupings of diesels on trip workings e.g. DF2, DF1, DF2 and DF5, DF1, DF2 combinations. A regular DF2 freight duty noted was the haulage of hoppers between the cement works west of Kunming West Station and the quarries at Yangtianchong approximately 20km east of Kunming.

The main yards in Kunming were being shunted mainly by DF1s.

On the 1m gauge line to the south all workings in the Kunming area were in the hands of first-series DFH21s. At the loco area south-west of Kunming North Station the preserved KD55 and SN steam locos were still in the fenced and roofed area.

In the Kunming area the metre gauge lines extend westwards to a small yard just beyond Kunming West Station. The cement works is however not directly connected. To the east the narrow gauge extends as far as Xiaoshiba where the Kunming Locomotive Works is located. This small works mainly overhauls and repairs diesel-hydraulics of DFH2, DFH5 and DFH21 types. A metre gauge KD55, number unknown, was stored on one of the spurs in front of the works.

A new class noted at Kunming depot was the SS7B electric. SS7B 0001 with a Datong 1997 plate was parked with many other SS7s. The main external difference seemed to be in the colour schemes, with the SS7B having more red than the SS7. Another difference apparently is in the axleload - the SS7B has a 25t axleload as against the 23t axleload of the SS7. The present standard Chinese Railways mainline maximum axleload is 23t but it is MoR policy to move to the higher figure.

A passenger train from the new Nanning to Kunming line was noted arriving at Kunming Station late in the afternoon. This service may not yet appear in the Chinese railway timetable.

The erection of electification masts on the line from Kunming towards Guangtong began in earnest during October.

Industrial and local railways in the Kunming area:

Zhongyicun to Yuxi Local Railway: This line and its branches extend south of the lake at Kunming. The only loco seen was a DFH5 at Zhongyicun but it was not possible to make a detailed check.

Kunyan Phosphate Works (or Mine): This establishment is located at the end of a 4 or 5km spur extending westwards into the hills from Zhongyicun Station. The spur is shunted by a Chinese Railways pilot loco (a DF2 was seen) but the works or mine makes use of SY 0389. According to a railway worker SY 0388 is also here but it was not seen.

Kunming Iron and Steelworks: This works is located at Anning about 40km west of Kunmimg at the end of a short branch from Dushupu Station (also the junction with the branch to Zhongyicun). Several SYs were seen and diesels may also be present.

Kunming Phosphate Works: An industrial line extending north-south through the western suburbs of Kunming connects to the national railway system at Kunming West Station. SY 1434 was in use and appeared to make several trips a day between Kunming West and the factories along the line. According to station staff there is a second SY on the line but they could not give the number.

Locos seen:

SY: 0202(staged, Ts-70/3), 0225(staged, Ts-70/5), 0245(Ts-70/7), 

    0389(Ts), 0520, 0695(Ts-73/4), 1434(Ts-86/2), 1539(Ts-87/4). 

All SYs except 0389 and 1434 were at Kunming Steelworks.

Kunming to Panzhihua

Work associated with loop lengthening and other works linked to the electrification project were in progress at a number of stations. No erection of electrification masts had started along this line except close to Kunming.

The new local railway from Guangtong to Dali was opened to freight traffic earlier this year. The junction at Guangtong was seen but no locomotives that were obviously not Chinese Railways stock.

While the Kunming to Panzhihua line is generally scenic parts of the section north of Guangtong are particularly so with impressive horseshoe curves.

East of Guangtong about 70% of freights were DF4B hauled with most of the remainder back-to-back DF1s. Many of the DF4Bs were 1998 built locos. Passenger trains appeared to be all DF1 hauled. North of Guangtong the pattern seemed to be the same but with fewer DF1s on freights. Pilots at Guangtong were DF2.

Panzhihua area

The main station serving the city of Panzhihua is Jinjiang on the mainline. There is no main Chinese Railways loco depot at Panzhihua but there are staging facilities at Jinjiang and at Midi on the branch to Geliping. Pilot locos are a mix of DF2s and DF5s. DF1s and DF4Bs work along the branch which is connected by a triangular junction to the mainline.

The industrial parts of Panzhihua are along the valley served by the branch. There are several yards mainly serving the old and new sections of the Panzhihua steelworks.

Along the branch electrification masts had been planted at a few locations.

The Panzhihua steelworks has a loco fleet of at least 40 units, almost equal numbers of SYs and Ziyang built diesel-hydraulics of a variety of types. The works carries out its own SY overhauls. Several of the SYs seen appeared to be stored out of service.

A network of electrified quarry lines visible in the distance from Panzhihua exists in the hills above Midi Station. This presumably serves some of the main ore deposits for the steelworks. Only standard Chinese-built ZG150 Bo-Bo-Bo electrics (described as class SP or 'Shaopai') were seen operating on this system.

Although there are coal mines in the Panzhihua area these appeared to generally be served by cableways.

Locos seen:

SY: 0169(Ts-69/8), 0172(tender only), 0173(Ts-69/8), 0176(Ts-69/9), 

    0226(Ts-70/5), 0227, 0229(Ts-70/6, staged), 0230(Ts-70/6), 0263(Ts-70/8),

    0399(Ts-71/8, staged), 0482(Ts-72/3), 0553(Ts-72/8, staged), 0621, 

	0623, 0624(73/2), 0693(Ts-73/8, staged), 0828(Ts-74/5),  

	0829(Ts-74/5, staged), 1297(Ts-84/6), 1646(Ts-89/4).

Panzhihua to Chengdu

South of Puxiong most trains were DF4B hauled, although some local freights were noted with DF1s. North of Puxiong greater numbers of DF1s were seen but the newer DF4Bs were still predominant. Pilot and shunt locos were DF2s or DF1s.

Electrification works were in progress along the full length of the route with work most advanced in the north. On some sections and at some yards wiring appeared to be almost complete.

The most interesting section of this mountainous route is that between Xichang and Puxiong. All freights in both directions over this route appeared to have a DF4B at both ends of the train. There are several spirals and horseshoe bends on this section.

The only steam locomotives seen were a pair of SYs at what appeared to be a small lime or cement works on the east side of the mainline south of Jingjiu Station (one south of Xichangnan). SY 1506 was in steam while a sister was dead. The section of the route from Yangang to Chengdu, the most industrialised section of the route, was travelled after dark so a lookout was not kept for industrial operations over this section.

An interesting diesel seen was DF1 9201 in the yard at Yonglang Station. Another DF1 in this unusual number series, DF1 9204, was previously seen on the Heihe Local Railway in the far north. It could not be ascertained whether 9201 was in industrial or Chinese Railways service.

Chengdu area

Trains on the electrified lines north and east of Chengdu are hauled respectively by SS3 and SS3B locos. The Local Railway from Chengdu to Daxian leaves the Chengdu-Chongqing mainline east of Chengdu and is understood to be worked by DF4Bs bought new. Heavy shunt duties in the main yards at Chengdu East were in the hands of DF7Cs while other shunts and local duties were worked by DF1s and DF5s.

Chengdu depot, south of the Chongqing line and just east of the main yards, still undertakes major overhauls of steam locos. The depot was passed on three occasions and a freshly painted JS, a second JS and an SY or JF were seen. Old DF1 1247, with the two-window cab layout, was also seen at the depot.

The Chengdu Steelworks about 25km north of the city was visited. This is a small works linked to the Chinese Railways system via a spur from Qingbaijiang Station (on the Baoji line). The works has 4 SYs and a small TH diesel-hydraulic loco. The works' SYs are overhauled at Chengdu depot.

The Chengdu Seamless Steel Pipe Works in the eastern suburbs of Chengdu, could not be visited, according to our guide's friends because of problems experienced with a previous visit. There were still SYs in operation and some of these could be seen in the yard and at the small depot to the north of the works.

On the line towards Chongqing SY 1218 was found in steam at Jianyang Station. There appeared to be a rail served industry to the south of the station.

An interesting find in the Chengdu area was the Pengzhou-Baishuihe Local Railway about 40km north-west ofChengdu. This is a narrow gauge system which interfaces with the DF1 worked Qingbaijiang-Guanxian Local Railway at Pengzhou. The mainline of the narrow gauge system is laid with heavy section rail and is of relatively high standard. Freight traffic appears to be mainly limestone or similar broken stone. The two freights seen were hauled by Shijiazhuang-built TH 52 class (JMY380) diesel-hydraulics with f Passenger services on the line appeared to be steam hauled, a mixed train formed of three passenger coaches and a bogie gondola (a second was added for the return working), arrived and later departed behind a modified standard 0-8-0. The modifications to the loco included the addition of a four-axle SY style tender, a larger cab and an extension to the front buffer.

In addition to the locos seen working there were another four 0-8-0s and two TH 52s at the depot. Three steam locos were dumped and overgrown with vegetation and two were in the shed, one being worked on and the other in working condition. All the steam locos were of the same modified pattern. What appeared to be the remains of a sixth steam loco were scattered around the depot.

The Ziyang Locomotive Works was visited. This is located east of Chengdu in a small city through which the Chongqing line passes. Its main products include the 9xxx series DF4B, the 5xxx series DF4C as well as an extensive range of GK industrial shunting types of which the GK1 and GK1B are best known. It has also started constructing DF12 heavy shunting locos. This type is essentially a DF4B with a single cab and hood type body.

Locos seen:

SY: 0564, 0600, 1218, 1390, 1511(Ts-86/12). All at steelworks except 1218.

Chengdu to Chonqing

The mainline is worked by Chengdu-based SS3Bs as far as Neijiang where Chongqing-based SS1s take over. Pilot and trip freight locos between Chengdu and Neijiang were generally DF1s but between Neijiang and Yongchuan these duties were performed by Neijiang-based QJs. Shunting at Neijiang however was being performed by DF1s.

QJs were seen at Neijiang (waiting to leave on a freight), at Fenggaupu and at Yongchuan. According to the CITS guide at Chongqing Neijiang presently has an allocation of about 40 QJs. He also said some of the passenger workings on the Yibin line south from Neijiang had gone diesel around July this year.

Beyond Neijiang interesting industrial (coal mining) operations were seen at Guangshunchang and Shuangshiqiao Stations. At the former well kept SYs 1326 and 1661 were seen at sidings north of the station. According to our guide who subsequently visited this location SY 1429 is also here. At Shuangshiqiao an electrified 762mm gauge system exists to the south of the mainline. The tracks seen were strung with catenery and overall the system had quite a 'heavy' appearance. One train was seen, four-wheeled wag

Locos seen:

QJ: 3176, 3235, 3465, 

SY: 1326, 1661.

Chongqing area

The mainline north from Chongqing to Daxian was diesel worked close to Chongqing with Guang'an based DF1s on passenger trains and DF4Bs and DF1s on freights. According to station workers at Beibei about 30km north of Chongqing, steam, also from Guang'an depot, had been used on shunt and pilot duties until only a few months previously.

The mainline at Beibei was fully wired and energisation appeared imminent.

South of Chongqing on the mainline towards Guiyang trains were seen hauled by SS1s and SS3Bs, many of the SS1s being early production locos. The section of line as far as the junction with the Wansheng branch was the only part checked during daylight though. Local workings, including those on the branch, appeared to be DF1.

Most shunt duties in Chongqing were noted as DF5.

The main steelworks in Chongqing could not be visited. We also tried to visit the Chongqing No 2 Steelworks (or possibly the Chongqing Special Steel Factory) at Shapingba in the northern parts of Chongqing but could not obtain permission. An opportunity did present itself to talk to one of the works' loco drivers and he indicated that the works had two SYs, 4 diesels, a YJ and a tank loco, the last two possibly not working.

SY 0883 was seen in steam at what appeared to be a coal yard or small steel works at Xaiba Station between Chongqing and the junction with the Wansheng branch.

On the Wansheng branch there are coal mines at Gukou and at Wansheng. These were served by a fleet of six SYs based at the coal mine yards at Wansheng. An SY travels over Chinese Railways tracks for the 8 km between Wansheng and Gukou to place and collect wagons. According to mine railway staff at Wansheng the loco fleet included YJs 136 and 308 until a few years ago. These workers indicated that the SYs are generally sent to the Chinese Railways depot at Guang'an for overhaul.

In addition to the coal mine activity Wansheng is the interchange connection for a Local Railway completed in the early 1990s that extends another approximately 40km eastwards to Nanchuan. This line climbs spectacularly out of Wansheng and there are viaducts, tunnels and deep valley and mountain backdrops. The present line locos are four Shijiazhuang-built TH2s (DFH5 look alikes in blue or orange colour schemes) these having sadly taken over from JFs between 1995 and 1997. Two JFs, 2324 and 2444, are still Another interesting industrial railway was found north of Chongqing between Jiangbei and Beibei, east of the Jialing River. This approximately 600mm gauge 12km long coal mine line uses somewhat primitive looking 100hp diesel mechanical belt-driven four wheeled locomotives hauling timber-sided four-wheel coal wagons. The line extends from the mine westwards to an exchange plant with a cableway system. The track is laid on cut sandstone sleepers! About seven or eight locomotives operate on the line and train

Locos seen:

JF: 2324(Dl-55), 2416(dumped, Dl-56/7), 2444(Dl-56/11), 2453(dumped, Dl-57/4). 

SY: 0039(reported at Wansheng), 0640, 0883, 1260(Ts-83/11), 1444(Ts-86/3), 1657, 1763.

Guiyang to Kunming

Between Guiyang and Liupanshui, the first loco change point, trains were hauled by a mix of SS1s and SS3Bs. Many of the SS1s were early production locos. Most important passenger trains were hauled by a double-header combination of SS1 and SS3B. Close to Guiyang a DF5 and a DF7C were seen in a yard, most local duties elsewhere being worked by DF1s or DF2s.

At a few points between Guiyang and Liupanshui construction had begun on work associated with the doubling of the line.

The second loco change point was at Xuanwei Station where Kunming-based locos took over most workings. Between Liupanshui and Xuanwei locos were a mix of SS1s and SS3s. A westbound freight was passed in which DFH5 0152 and ZG150 electric 360 were coupled behind the train loco. The DFH5 was thought to be a loco on its way for overhaul at Kunming while the ZG150 was possibly returning to Dongchuan where it is thought there is an electified system serving iron ore mines.

The line between Liupanshui and Kunming is scenically very impressive with high mountains generally terraced from top to bottom.

From Xuanwei to Kunming trains were mainly hauled by SS3s.

General observations

This trip was arranged through Mr Zhang Xin Sheng of CITS Changchun (Fax 0086 431 564 5069) at short notice. His services can be highly recommended as can those of Mr Li Nan of CITS Chongqing (Email Mr Li is a keen photographer and enthusiatically helped us to reach a number of extremely interesting railway locations in the Chongqing area.

Northern China Summary, November - December 1998


Fuxin depot has received its first batch of DF4Bs, reportedly 16 in total. These now work most freights to Shenyang, replacing QJs, but only a few towards Jinzhou and Yebaishou to the south. A number of passenger trains between Fuxin and Jinzhou remain QJ hauled.

On the mine system the simultaneous departure of two SY hauled passenger trains from Minzu station that was occuring last year has fallen away with a scheduling change. The two trains now depart about 10 minutes apart.

From observations at Fuxin, Yebaishou depot now has an allocation of orange passenger DF4Bs.


Several QJs were seen in steam at Dahushan depot but a DF4 was noted on a freight between Dahushan and Xinmin. This may indicate that Zhangwu depot has also received its first DF4s for freight workings.


There has been a big drop off in local QJ activity around Shenyang. Developments contributing to this include the dieselisation of the Fuxin freight workings and the arrival of a fleet of orange DF7Cs for local hauler dutiies. No active QJs were seen at Sujiatun depot, only two QJ light engine workings at Hunhe during a 90 minute spell of observation, no QJs were seen at the old Shenyang station and none were seen between Shenyang and Kaiyuan nor on the Tiefa branch. One QJ hauled freight was however seen


Almost all branch and shunting duties in this area have gone diesel with DFH3s on the branch and a DFH5 pilot at Chaoyangchunan. Only one JS was found working and questions put to railway staff at various places in the area seemed to confirm that this loco was the last remaining in the area.


About 60% of freights up the hill westbound from Dunhua remain QJ and of these about two-thirds had bankers, either QJ or JS. Four DF4Cs work into Dunhua from the west and on some days the pattern of working is such that almost no steam hauled freights go up the hill during the day. On other days almost all freights would be steam.

Two JSs and a single QJ all from Tumen depot are based at Dunhua and these are used for shunt duties and the banking operation.

An interesting observation for those with a detailed interest in Jingpeng line affairs. QJ 6925 from Daban depot in a smart new coat of paint passed through Dunhua westwards in early December. Presumably it had come from overhaul at Mudanjiang works?


On the mainline to Suihua the last steam hauled passenger duty has gone DF4B. Freight remains all QJ but the number of high-deflectored locos has significantly reduced due to replacement by newer QJs cascaded from Nancha and Suihua depots. During the day three double-headed QJ freights work into Bei'an from the south.

Towards Qiqihar most freights remain QJ but one DF4B working was seen, the loco bearing the Qiqihar depot character.

On the Longzhen branch JS activity continues on freights and on the passenger workings that terminate at Longzhen. There has been a timetable change but apart from this the only change noted was that the last 'old' JS has been taken out of service, replaced by additional 8xxx locos that have been transferred in.

Bruce G Evans

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