FD Class 2-10-2s
By the late 1950s, China's railways were in urgent need of new motive power. Lines damaged during the long period of Japanese occupation and war had been repaired and new lines were under construction. China's own locomotive builders were busy producing JF and JS class 2-8-2s and SL6 and RM class pacifics but they couldn't match the demand for more motive power. Salvation came in the shape of 1054 1930s built Soviet FD (Felix Dzerzhinsky) class 2-10-2s rendered surplus by dieselisation and electrification in the USSR. The FDs were imported in 1958 and regauged from 5' to standard gauge at Changchun. How they got from the border at Manzhouli to Changchun isn't clear.
￼FD 1979 is on display in the Beijing Railway Museum in a non-authentic brown livery. In service, FDs were painted the standard black with red wheels and white tyres.
Chinese sources report that they were allocated to railway administrations in north and north east China but most of those reported by enthusiasts were in the south, south west or west. The class dominated main line freight operations in the south until the early 1980s when newly built QJ class 2-10-2s took over. The last report of an FD in traffic was in October 1985.
FD20-2714 is one of a number of FDs preserved in the former Soviet states. It is seen here on a charter freight climbing away from Dnestr River in southern Ukraine in 1996.
Although the FD was a big locomotive physically, it was a relatively old and not particularly powerful design, closer in power output to a JS than a QJ. Indications are that they weren't too popular with loco crews either.
The class was originally known in China as YH (YouHao = friendly) but during the cultural revolution became FX (FanXiu = anti revisionist) before reverting to plain FD with no Chinese name in 1971. Just to confuse matters, the QJ class was known as FD for a few years during the cultural revolution when it was renamed FanDi (anti imperialist).
At least two are preserved in China, FD 1227 at Shenyang Railway Museum and FD 1979 at Beijing Railway Museum. A third loco, FD 1653, was put aside for the proposed Inner Mongolian Railway Museum at Baotou but hasn't been reported since 2001. Several FD are also preserved in the former Soviet Union.