My first Chinese steam locomotive- SY 1772 is pictured at Daiobingshan before sunrise on the 19th January 2014 prior to working the 06:40 passenger to Dongguantun. We had arrived in Daiobingshan the previous evening following an overnight flight from Germany to Shenyang and then a transfer on the minibuses that would become our home for the next week.
One of the 'museum' locos, not usually in normal traffic is KD6 487. We were very lucky to see the loco in traffic having only expected to see SY traction on the line.
The KD6 is seen outside the lines depot at Daquin waiting to work a management special.
A short while later the KD6 gets its management special moving. As the spoil mound in the background indicates, the real purpose of the Tiefa (Tieling - Faku) railway is to move coal- though these trains are now all worked by diesels.
By lunch snow had begun to fall and was settling nicely by the time we went out to photograph the afternoon passenger turn to Dongguantun. There used to be an extensive passenger operation run by the Tiefa mining railway to all corners of its network- all worked by steam. Today just two daylight trips continue on the line via Faku- fortunately it is one of the more scenic parts of the system.
On arrival back at at Daiobingshan DF4 7754 is seen in the now snowy station with a freight. DF4 and DF5 locos now handle all traffic on the line except the few passenger turns which are worked by steam.
On both mornings the weather dawned promising, but failed to materialise. The fresh snow and excellent steam effects in the cold do at least add something to this shot of 1772 heading the passenger back to Daiobingshan.
This locomotive is something of a well deserved celebrity- it holds the dubious title of being the last steam locomotive built for non-tourist purposes anywhere in the world. It was rolled out of the workshops in Tangshan as late as October 1999!
Unfortunately I had retired back to the minibus by the time one came through with a loaded train!
Here DF4 7755 is seen outside the depot at Daqing.
It is not just steam locomotives which inhabit the depot at Daqing. A much larger part of the workshop now services the diesels that work along the line. DF4 locos 7720 and 7772 are seen receiving some extensive maintenance.
On arrival at Wangqian the SY was put to use shunting the wagons into their various positions under the loader. The wagons themselves are moved through the loader by pulley once on the right line.
We stayed here until the loco left- but which time the light was all but a memory. We would not be getting an early start to our long minibus journey to Fuxin- and we still didn't know if the motorways would be open following the snowfall...
Daiobingshan was a great introduction to steam in China and also provides one of the best chances in the world to travel on a scheduled steam service. How long steam will continue here nobody knows. The railway does take revenue from film contracts which should see some steam retained- however the longevity of the passenger operation must be questionable. I have even seen suggestions that the final passenger train could be withdrawn as soon as road transport is available to replace it.