The second largest of the five systems was at Hengshan which is to the south of Jixi.  This system serves six mines and
remained steam operated until about the end of 2011 when the system was fully dieselised.  In 2005 I spent two days on the
Hengshan system - the first in snow storms and the following day in clear blue skies and sunshine.  The most interesting section
of the line was from Xi Hengshan to Zhongxin where the line climbed a steep gradient providing an interesting challenge for
the SY's hauling empty wagons up to the four mines on this part of the system.  The work was in the hands of six SY's
allocated to this section of the Jixi system.
Photographic conditions on my first
day at Hengshan can best be
described as challenging!  Snow
was falling although from time to
time the disc of the sun could be
seen in the sky and a layer of fog
hung over the yard at Xi
Hengshan.  SY1340 and another
unidentified SY stand waiting in the
SY0746 was another of the
locomotives allocated to Hengshan
and is seen here standing in front of
the rather brightly decorated
control building
Despite the weather it was
impossible not to want to take
photographs when SY1340 set off
from Hengshan with a long train of
empty wagons bound for the mines
at Zhongxin and beyond
A short while later a second train of
empty wagons left Hengshan for
Zhongxin - this time hauled by
To my delight the weather on the
following day showed considerable
signs of improvement so I took the
bus from my hotel back to Hengshan
for a second bite at the cherry.

SY0746 was shunting around in the
yard and so it looked possible that a
train would ascent the bank to
Zhongxin at some point in the not
too distant future
I set out on foot from Hengshan
with no real idea of how soon the
train would come.  In the event I
hadn't reached the bank when
SY1340 caught up with me, with
its train of empty wagons heading
for Zhongxin.  The early morning
light was enough to illuminate the
locomotive but the exhaust
shadowed the wagons
I continued walking in the hope
that there might be a subsequent
train climbing the bank and having
arrived at a suitable location all I
could do was wait and hope.  My
faith was rewarded about an hour
later as SY1369 headed up the
After spending some further time
freezing my bits off on the bank I
returned to Xi Hengshan and
shortly after my arrival SY1369
returned tender first from Zhongxin
with a train of loaded wagons while
SY1095 waited in the yard
Another view of SY1095 as it stands
in the yard at Hengshan
Whilst in the yard at Hengshan it
was apparent that another train
was about to head up the bank so I
caught a taxi to ensure I was ready
and waiting when SY1340 made its
appearance with a shorter train of
Rear three-quarter view of SY1340
as it storms its way up the gradient
towards Zhongxin
Returning for a final time to
Hengshan I found SY1095 moving
around the yard and a further
train of empty wagons standing
ready.  At this point I was joined by
a German enthusiast who despite
having a guide and a car with
driver seemed to have little idea of
what was happening.  Eventually it
was clear that a further train was
about to climb the bank - at which
point the German headed for his
car and refused me a lift!  By the
time I had secured a taxi it was
too late and I failed to reach the
bank for a third shot.  I can only
speculate  that he shared the same
surname as the German footballer
who scored against England in
Euro 96.  You can do the research!
A third, and smaller system, was found north-west of Jixi at Didao.  Again this was easy to reach by bus from the main town
and in 2008 it was possible to make a visit prior to the dieselisation of this system.  The weather was fairly dreadful and I
hesitated about including pictures but since steam at this location is now but a memory it seemed appropriate to include
them as a matter of historical record.  As far as I am aware there were five rail served mines on this system together with a
power station and a washery served by a total of five SY class locomotives
During a rare glimpse of sunshine
on what was otherwise a fairly dire
day in weather terms, SY0950
passes through the washery with a
rake of low sided wagons intended
to carry spoil to the tip.
A local watches as SY1205 arriving in
Didao with a long train of empty
wagons from the CNR sidings
SY0950 standing at the head of a
train of low sided wagons at the
western end of the washery at
SY1340 stands at the head of a long
train of high sided coal wagons at
the Didao washery.  SY1340 was one
of the engines which I had previously
seen on the Hengshan system during
my 2005 visit.
Coal waste was tipped onto a large
mound to the west of Didao.  To
reach the tipping point the train
ascended a zigzag, both pulling and
propelling the wagons to the top of
the slope.  SY0950 begins the ascent
to the tipping point
SY0950 has reached the top of the
climb and is preparing to set back
and send the waste down the
sloping side of the tip.
SY1058 was another locomotive
previously seen on the Chengzihe
system.  Here it shunts a train of
loaded coal wagons with the
washery and power station
chimney in the background
Yet another SY making an
appearance at the washery - this
time it was SY0407 that provided
the photographic opportunity
To my surprise I actually saw six
different SY's at work during the
day - the last of the six being
SY1018 which was normally found
on the small Donghaikuang system
at Jixi
A final shot at Didao as SY1205
trundles a short train of high sided
coal wagons past the washery
I didn't get a chance to visit the other two steam locations at Donghaikuang and Lishu but overall I found my two trips to Jixi
to be extremely rewarding and most enjoyable.  The staff at the Ji Xi Fan Dian were extremely helpful and were able to
explain which buses would take me where.  After my immersion in the settling ponds at Beichang Washery, I returned to the
hotel and stripped off my filthy, soaking wet jeans and under trousers in the shower.  The shower cubicle was a mess and the
clothing in such a state that I threw them into the rubbish bin.  Not only was my shower spotlessly clean by the time I
returned later that day but my jeans and undertrousers reappeared the following afternoon freshly laundered and ironed.  It
was experiences like this that enriched my trips to China and it was perhaps fitting that the final steam photograph that I
took in China should be at Jixi.  Sweet memories!
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