Jixi-Chengzihe Mining Railway

Jixi sits on one of China's major coalfields and there were no less than five steam worked railway systems in the area. Chengzihe was almost certainly the busiest of the Jixi mine railways with plenty of steam action and some of the best industrial backdrops in China. One of the photographic highlights was the morning shift change at Dongchang when the line's SYs gathered in the yard around 8 o'clock. Electrification work started in 2010.

64 pictures

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Jixi-Didao Mining Railway

The Didao system is a compact coal mining operation located north-west of Jixi city and is centred on the washery at Didao Hebei. Much of the action was tender first but it was possible to find chimney first workings and impressive industrial backdrops. Didao dieselised in Autumn 2010.

36 pictures

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Fula'erji Industrial Railways

Fula’erji is an industrial town on the Nenjiang (Nen River) about 30 km south-west of Qiqiha’er and is home to a number of large industrial plants, several of which have their own rail systems. This gallery contains pictures of the smart JS class locos working at the No.2 Power Station and the scruffy SY class at the Heilongjiang Chemical Plant.

9 pictures

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Huanan Forestry Railway

Unusually for a forestry railway, this narrow gauge line in north-eastern Heilongjiang handled very little timber. The reason for its continued existence was coal mined at a remote spot in the hills. It was a fabulous line that ran through a variety of landscapes including a hill section where loaded trains were banked. Frequent closures and chronically unreliable engines towards the end meant it wasn’t an easy line to photograph but it was one of the most rewarding. Closure finally came in April 2011.

46 pictures

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Hegang Mining Railway

Hegang is another town that's been a major mining centre for many years and is now in decline. Like Fuxin, much of the system is electrified but a significant proportion of traffic is hauled by SY class 2-8-2s. These pictures were taken on a short visit to the depot at Hegang in 2005 and a longer stay in March 2007, just before steam gave way to diesels.

7 pictures

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Jixi-Donghai Mining Railway

Donghai is the smallest of the JIxi systems serving a single mine, Donghaikuang, east of Jixi. It does have a long connecting line to CNR but chimney first trains were downhill. The line dieselised in 2010.

8 pictures

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Jixi-Hengshan Mining Railway

Hengshan was the second busiest of the Jixi systems and featured a steeply graded "main line" between Xinhengshan and Zhongxin as well as a long rural line to Zhangxin. It was also the first system to get diesels.

12 pictures

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Jixi-Lishu Mining Railway

Of the five steam worked systems in the Jixi area, Lishu was probably the most scenic and almost certainly the least productive. Lishu's mines are located in beautiful hilly country well away from the city so when the SYs did venture out, there were some excellent photo opportunities. Qikeng mine closed in 2008 and the line dieselised in 2010.

15 pictures

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Weihe Forestry Railway

A vast network of 2'6" gauge lines was built to exploit the forestry resources of Manchuria but in recent years most have closed as logging operations have been scaled down. The Weihe Forestry Railway was the last to use steam traction and finally closed in March 2003. These photos were taken a couple of weeks earlier when the railway was still very busy.

10 pictures

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