This delightful little narrow gauge line was located about 25km west of Zhengzhou in Henan Province.   Its sole purpose was
to bring clay from a loading point to the west of the town to the brickworks - a journey of some 5km or so.  The line was
worked by one of two C2 class 0-8-0 locomotives which took one set of 26 wagons from the loading point to the brickworks
and back whilst the second set of wagons was being loaded.  There were usually five or six round trips but daily operations
very much depended on the weather.  All line work could be suspended for several days during or following wet weather and
for this reason alone making a trip to the line was always something of a gamble.

The easiest way to reach the line was by taxi from Zhengzhou and simply ask the driver to take you to Xingyang railway
station which was very close to the line - although it was also possible (and certainly cheaper) to reach Xingyang by bus from
the western bus station.  Presumably it was also possible to catch a train from Zhengzhou but I don' know of anyone who ever
used this method.  For those wishing to stay overnight there was a perfectly adequate hotel - the Binguan Zhuan Yong -
opposite the railway station charging around 100 yuan per night.  Despite comments elsewhere I found the heating and hot
water to be in full working order and enjoyed my stay.  The railway was less than ten minutes walk away from the hotel which
was a further recommendation.

My own visit was made on 25-26th December 2005.  On a gloriously sunny Christmas Day I took an early morning taxi from
Zhengzhou and having dumped my bags at the hotel made my way to the brickworks.  On arrival it appeared totally deserted.  
I quickly located the railway but there appeared to be no action and the engine shed was securely locked.  I was just resigning
myself to a boring day in Xingyang when an elderly Chinese gentleman appeared and began a most realistic impression of a
steam locomotive at work!  Encouraged by my nods and smiles he pointed vigorously down the track and repeated his
charade.  With expressions of thanks and gratitude I set off along the tracks and within a short period of time I could hear the
sound of an approaching train.  The day was taking on an altogether rosier hue ...............
There were two or three
off-loading points on the system.
On this occasion C2 class No.207
has brought its train of 26
wagons to the furthest
off-loading point and awaits the
manual tipping of the wagons.  
What a fantastic Christmas
present not only to find the line
in operation but for the weather
to be so fine.
A close-up of No.207 which
clearly illustrates the tiny driving
wheels that are a characteristic
of this class of engine. I have been
fortunate enough to see this class
of engine at work hauling wagons
containing timber at Weihe, coal
at Huanan and limestone at
Dahuishang as well as clay at
Once the wagons were empty the
whole train reversed a short way
back along the line before setting
forward again and running into
the main brickworks area where
the locomotive took water. Much
of the line was in cuttings which
limited photography and so good
locations such as this were
difficult to find.
C2 class No.207 standing on the
servicing point in the
brickworks.  All the workers I
met were extremely friendly
including the footplate crew
who were happy for me to ride
the engine back down the line
and to drop me off at my chosen
photographic location ready for
the next working.  This had the
twin advantages of saving me a
walk and also of the crew
knowing where I would be for
the 'mastershot'
And this was certainly the
'master location'. At this point
the line crossed a large 5-arch
viaduct with considerable
photographic potential!  On this
particular day the lake was
frozen and so it was not possible
to obtain a good reflection shot.  
Rob Dickinson's shots
taken at this spot shows the real
possibilities of this location  
No.207 shunts its rake of
wagons at the servicing point in
Xingyang Brickworks.  There
were three offloading points for
the clay - two to the west of the
servicing point and one further
to the easy
At the most westerly unloading
point there was no run around
loop.  To avoid having to take
the empty wagons into the main
brickworks area before returning
to the loading point, the forces
of gravity were employed.  The
locomotive was uncoupled and
set back on a slight gradient.  It
then moved forward onto the
siding and the points were
quickly switched to allow the
wagons to roll along the main
With the engine safely out of the
way, the crew watch as the
wagons roll past in the
background before attaching the
locomotive to the rear of the
train and setting off back to the
loading point.
No.207 brings the fourth
working of the day over the
viaduct.  In mid-winter the
daylight hours were relatively
short and with the shadows
lengthening and photographic
positions becoming more
difficult I decided to try to get a
ride over the line on the
locomotive.  The crew were
totally obliging and I finished a
memorable Christmas Day on
the footplate ......... quite a
All good things must come to an end and so it proved on
the following morning.  The weather had changed and
the overnight fog was being slowly replaced by gathering
snow clouds.  The previous day's golden ball of sunshine
had been replaced by a watery disc and it was fairly clear
that the day was rapidly going downhill.  I managed one
shot of the morning train climbing up the bank away
from the viaduct (cursed myself for not having done the
shot the previous day), exchanged greetings with a pair
of Japanese gricers who had arrived overnight and then
retraced my steps back to Zhengzhou and onwards to
Huludao.  I subsequently discovered that the line had
closed on the following day and remained thus until after
the New Year.  I considered myself more than a touch

And all good things really did come to a final halt in
September 2011 with news that brickworks, which was
a state-owned enterprise, had been sold to a housing
and land investment company. The working sites used
for the brickworks and railway will be replaced by
housing and flat construction. The two locos have been
put into the workshop and locked away. The workers
there have already been sent home and had long

I consider myself fortunate to have seen the line at work
when so many visited only to find it closed on a
temporary basis.  It will always live on in my memory
and through these and other pictures in my possession.
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