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
railway photography!
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)
The photographs in this section of the site were taken during ten trips to China - two as part of a small group and eight during
independent trips.  The photographs are organised by location.  Links with yellow text indicate locations which no longer have
steam operations - those with white text are where steam is believed to be still active although often on a much reduced
scale from the pictures shown.  The colour coded system is also used at the foot of the page to help you to access the other
countries featured on 'Steam Railway Photographs'.
One of the few remaining steam
locations (as of November 2011)
is the Jixi Mining Railway system
located in Heilongjjiang Province

SY 2-8-2 No.1018 slowly inches
forward in the washery at
Beichang as its wagons are
loaded with coal prior to being
taken to the CNR exchange
sidings at Jixi
Anshan Steelworks
Beitai Steelworks
Benxi Steelworks
Dahuichang (ng)
Handan Steelworks
Huanan Coal Railway (ng)
Jalainur ('The Big Pit')
Jixi Mining Railways
Tangshan Coal Mine
Weihe Forestry Railway (ng)
Xingyang Brickworks Railway (ng)
Xuanhau Steelworks
Yuanbaoshan and Pingzhuang
It is still possible to see steam at
work at Tiefa in Liaoning
Province although the scale of
the steam operation has greatly
decreased in recent years.  In
December 2002 all passenger
trains were steam operated and
in this picture SY1770 is seen
leaving Diaobingshan with the
mid-morning train to Waqing
Another still active steam
location is Yuanbaoshan in
Inner Mongolia.  At least two JS
class locomotives remain in use
although a number of diesels
are ready to take over in the
very near future.  In March
2002 the morning passenger
train to Anqinggou is in the
hands of JS6246
Home Page
Java - Sweet Dreams
Cuba - Steam In Paradise
Adventures In Foreign Lands - Personal trip reports - 1999 - 2008
Zimbabwe - Garrett Heaven
Germany - Narrow Gauge
Poland - Coal and Capitalism
Reports suggest that the narrow
gauge railway at Huanan
(Heilongjiang Province) was
finally  closed on 4 April 2011
and that all coal is now moved by
trucks.  In latter days the
condition of the locomotives had
deteriorated but the line
remained a mecca for steam
enthusiasts to the very end,
despite frequent waits of four or
five hours between trains.  In
December 2004 the diminutive
C2 0-8-0 No.004 stands in the
snow covered yard at Huanan
One of my favourite lines was the
Meihekou Coal Railway in Jilin
Province.  This 20km long line
connected a number of collieries
with a transfer line to the CNR at
Heishantou.  The line featured
both passenger and coal train
workings and always seemed to
be busy with trains moving up and
down the line at frequent
intervals.  Alas by April of 2011 all
steam was gone and diesels were
in charge of all trains
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