|China is the last great steam show on earth! However this enthusiasm is not shared by the Chinese government who view
steam locomotives as a symbol of inefficiency that should be eradicated as part of the country's move into the 21st century.
All steam has now gone from the state-owned Chinese National Railway (CNR) but a number of steam locomotives remain
on industrial railways, where funds are more limited and the introduction of diesel locomotives has a lower priority. How
much longer steam can survive in China is a matter of debate but as the economy continues to grow the pressure for
increasing modernisation seems irresistable.
Although there are now only a few surviving classes of locomotives at work in China the last remaining steam locations
continues to be a magnet to railway photographers from all over the world. At the lineside it is not unusual to meet other
enthusiasts from Europe, Australia, America and Japan - all drawn to this mecca of surviving working steam. The greatest
attraction has gone - the Ji-Tong line with its incredible scenery and double headed QJ's on long freight trains but there are r
locations where steam continues to hold sway and new discoveries continue to be made as China becomes more open to
foreign visitors. At the same time the last few years have seen some major losses - the narrow gauge coal line at Huanan,
the vast open cast pit at Jailanur and the introduction of diesels at Pingdingshan. Despite these lines no longer working they
are featured on this site as a lasting memory of their beauty and magnificence. The mining operations at Sandoling, the
industrial lines at Baiyin and the narrow gauge delight which is Shibanxi remain as do reduced operations at Jixi, Fuxin, Tiefa
and Beitai Steel Works - although for how much longer remains uncertain.
Often steam locations cease with little or no warning. For anyone considering visiting China is is essential to obtain the
latest information from internet news sites such as those run by Dave Fielding or the Steam In China newsgroup. Whilst
independent travel in China is increasingly easy, access into steam locations has become far more restricted in recent times
and often the services of a Chinese guide are required to obtain the necessary permissions. There are a number of
organisations offering tours to the remaining steam operations but re-read my home page for my opinion of this kind of
THE LAST GREAT STEAM SHOW
|Two steam locations sadly confined to the history books but both classes of locomotive can still be found at work in China.
Left - C2 0-8-0 No. 54 leaving Pinglin with empty log wagons on the Weihe Forestry Railway (Heilongjiang Province)
Right - JS 2-8-2 No. 8421 departs with a long train of empty coal wagons at Pingdingshan (Henan Province)
|For more pictures and information on the various steam locations (past and present) please use the buttons below
|Use these buttons to return to the home page or to see pictures of working steam in other parts of the world