Thursday, 4 May 2017

Back in Beijing

DF7 3020 is a pleasing site as it heads to the carriage sidings.
SS9 0091 hauls in mixed livery rake
Back in 2014 I made my first visit to the city walls overlooking Beijing Station (you can see that entry here), though I had visited the station itself in the early parts of my epic Trans-Siberian journey in 2012. This is a fantastic location overlooking the throat of the main station in China's capital for 'traditional' [non-high speed] services right across the country.
Three years can see a lot of change in China so I was interested to see what was different since my previous trip.

Pioneer SS9 001 departs from Beijing.
DF7 6511 enters the station to retrieve an empty train.
The most significant and unexpectedly pleasant change actually involved a large amount of paint! In 2014 the traditional green coaches with yellow lining were rapidly disappearing from the CNR network, replaced by newer vehicles wearing several smart, but less photogenic modern liveries. Fast forward back to 2017 and there is a major program to paint coaching stock into the traditional scheme! Around 80% of the trains seen featured smart green coaches, many of them modern double-glazed, air-conditioned examples though a spattering of older coaches including some with coal fired 'samovar' boilers could still be seen- mostly on international trains.

It is still possible to see DF4 hauled trains departing through Beijing Station (though it appears most are now ESC duties). On both of my trips there has been a flurry of activity late morning before the diesels seem to vanish. DF4 5293 departs with a green rake of coaches.

HX3D 0090 arrives with a freshly painted green rake of coaches from Jiamusi
There were some changes to motive power as well. On my previous visit SS9 in their red & white livery locos were very dominant, on this trip electric locos were more balanced with a mix of SS8, SS9, HxD3C and new HxD3D locos working the majority of trains. The HxD3D, built from 2012 were not around on my previous visit and look very smart in their largely red livery.

SS9 006 arrives with a train from Louyang 23.02.2017

As well as the main loco classes many others can be seen in limited numbers at Beijing station. On our visit a highlight was an HxD2 based on the Alsthom 'Prima' platform working a train in from ZhangjiakouNan. Also seen around the station area were seveal DF7 shunting locos, none of which were seen within the station limits on my previous visit. Diesels continue their general decline in Beijing with significantly less DF4 action on this visit. A very nice looking green double unit DF11 had been seen earlier in the week but sadly not when we were in position.
This spot continues to offer great variety and is highly recommended if you have a few hours spare in the Chinese capital.

HXD2 1017 has it's clear origins in the Alsthom  Prima locos. The double unit works in an arrival from ZhanjiakouNan while HXD3 0459 awiats its next duty.

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