This system is about 30km to the south of Yuanbaoshan and is on the CNR line from Chifeng to Yebaishou.  It can also be
easily reached by means of a bus ride from Yuanbaoshan - probably the easiest way between these two surviving steam
locations.   Pingzhuang has a large open cast mine as well as a number of deep mines.  Traffic to and from the 'big pit' is mainly
handled by a large number of steeple-cab electric locomotives all though some track maintenance trains are steam hauled. All
traffic to and from the deep mines however is steam hauled.  Most of the locomotives are SY's although there are some JS's.  
Pingzhuang is the one of the few places where I have encountered an SY with full smoke deflectors and bonnet - it wasn't until
I went to record details of the photograph that I realised that it wasn't in fact the JS class locomotive that I had at first taken
it to be.  Most of the action seems to happen around the washery area which is also where both the steam and diesel depots
are located.  The presence of the local brewery brings a most welcome fragrance to the local air and the beer in the nearby
cafes is incredibly cheap, even by Chinese standards!
Travelling alone without a guide, without
speaking Chinese and without an interpreter
can bring its own problems!  On arrival in the
city of Pingzhuang I sought out the local taxi
drivers and having shown them my little sign
which says - in Chinese characters - that I
don't speak Chinese I then showed them a
picture which I had downloaded from the
internet showing a steam locomotive at
work on the mine railway.  One of the drivers
seemed confident that he knew where the
location was and so we set off across town.  
On arrival it was soon obvious that this
wasn't the place in my picture and there
seemed little sign that the railway lines had
been recently used.  We set off again and
using my picture the driver took advice from
various locals and for about an hour we drove
around until finally we arrived at a level
crossing which was the one in my picture and
the one which is close to the servicing point.
Despite the fact that we had driven for over
an hour my driver refused to accept more
than the 5 yuan which was the standard fare
for travel within the city.
Pingzhuang surprise - at first I
thought that this was a JS class
engine working at the colliery but
closer inspection revealed it to be
SY1083 with full deflectors and
In contrast to the busy activity at
Yuanbaoshan there was far less
happening at Pingzhuang during my
visit.  However there were some
trains on the move including
SY1052 on a short train of loaded
wagons passing the washery
Despite the lack of trains there
were quite a few locomotives to be
seen around and about including
SY0400 which was one of seven
engines seen during my six hour
visit.  The contrast between
SY0400 and SY1083 standing in
the background (and above) is
almost remarkable.
When this locomotive appeared at
the head of a train of low sided
wagons containing colliery spoil
my first thought was that it was
SY1083 but as it came closer it was
clear that it was JS5702, one of
two JS class engines I saw during
the day.
I had no idea what duties each of
the engines was assigned to but
SY1052 appeared to be used to trip
loads back and forwards to the
washery and made several
appearances on different trains as
the day progressed.
SY1052 again - this time bringing a
fairly substantial train of loaded
coal wagons away from the
washery.  The warm temperatures
meant that there was surprisingly
little in the way of exhaust.
Having spent some time watching
the lines to and from the deep
mines, I wandered over to the
electrified lines around the open
cast pit and after a while JS1001
appeared light engine.  This was one
of eleven known non-standard
numbered JS class locomotives.  Just
over 1200 engines of this class were
built between 1957 and 1988 and
most were numbered from
JS5001 - JS6558 and JS8001 - JS8423
Also on the electrified section was
SY0916 - seen here with JS1001 in
the background.
Appearing to have recently been
overhauled, SY0210 stands by the
locomotive depot in supershine
condition.  A number of
locomotives were being stored in a
compound next to the depot but
these were not in in a position
where they could be easily
A final shot of SY1052 as it stands on
the servicing point at  Pingzhuang.  
Although not the most active system
it was certainly not without interest
and the system is still steam
operated (as of November 2012)
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