ET7 Vital Statistics

ET7 Class 0-8-0s

et7_90-07-14ET7 5331 took a break from its duties at Baotou Steelworks in January 1990. Towards the end of their lives, several of Baotou's ET7s displaced XK13 0-6-0Ts from their duties on some of the site's more sharply curved trackage. To ease their passage the rear coupling rods were removed, as can be seen clearly in this picture.

The ET7 class was one of two types of industrial tank engines supplied to China by Polish builders in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Curiously, for a class in use until the mid 1990s, little mention is made of them in the Chinese books in the writer's possession. Fortunately, Polish sources are more forthcoming. The Fablok works (Chrzanów) built over 400 0-8-0 industrial tank locos to a standard design between 1950 and 1963. The class known variously as TKp, TD2 or "Śląsk" (Silesia) was based on a German design built at the factory between 1940 and 1941. Most went to Polish industry but 90 (one old source quotes 102) were sold to China in 1960 and 1961. Building dates of 1959 to 1961 observed on the Chinese locos are consistent with this. The Chinese locos differed slightly from the standard in having enclosed cabs, knuckle couplers and other minor modifications. More information can be found on Tomasz Galka's informative "Standard Gauge Locomotives in Poland" site: which gives a detailed description of the TKp class and yielded much of the information above.

et7_88-36-06ET7 5335 was one of a number to be rebuilt as tender engines. As well as having their side tanks removed, the locos received new cabs. In this case, the loco has been paired with a slope backed tender of the type normally used with PL2 class 2-6-2s.

It is thought that the ET7 class went straight into industrial service in China. Most of those reported by western enthusiasts have been employed in the steel industry. A number were rebuilt into tender engines, while others remained as tank locos all their lives. Many of the class remained in service until the 1980s and a few lasted until the mid 1990s. The last locations where working ET7s were reported were Shanghai No 1 Steelworks, where three rebuilt tender engines were seen in use in 1993, and Baotou Steelworks, where the last report of a working tank loco was in July 1994. Remarkably, three locos were reported stored in good condition at Baotou as late as April 2004. One loco, ET7 5333, was later plinthed at the steelworks, although not in a public area, and two more, ET7 5328 and 5332, were reported as dumped elsewhere on the site in late 2008.

The ET7s were not numbered according to the national system but are thought to have carried numbers based on their builder's number. This appears to align with Polish industrial practice and the locos were probably delivered with these numbers. One engine, ET7 5328 is confirmed to have been Chrzanów No 5328 of 1959. However, ET7 5331 carried a plate identifying it as No 5474 of 1960 and ET7 5332 was No 5849 of 1961. It is very likely that some locos were renumbered by their Chinese owners to produce contiguous number series. The Chinese steel industry was notorious for this unhelpful practice. Locos at Shanghai No 1 steelworks were renumbered in a series from 401 upwards while those at Beijing's Capital Iron & Steel were 501 upwards.