On Wednesday, 28 July 1976 the Chinese city of Tangshan was devastated by an earthquake measuring upto 8.2 on the
Richter Scale.  Tangshan was thought to be in a region with a relatively low risk of earthquakes and so few buildings had been
constructed to withstand such an event.  As a result hundreds of thousands of buildings were destroyed and at least 250,000
people died as a result of the quake and the subsequent aftershocks.

Despite the political instability which was affecting China at that time the work of rebuilding began  almost immediately and
the city was completely rebuilt.  When I visited the city in late 2003 it was once again home to nearly three million people.  
Other than memorials to the victims there was little evidence of this tragic event except for the obvious newness of the
infrastructure of the city.  I travelled to Tangshan by train from Beijing and en-route met a Chinese student who was anxious
to engage in conversation.  On arrival in the city we both needed overnight accommodation and so we went to a nearby hotel
which but for the intervention of my new friend would have refused me a room as a non Chinese national.   The following
morning he also accompanied my guide and I to the Tangshan coal mine as he had never seen a steam locomotive!  
When I first spotted this engine in the
yards at Tangshan, I thought it was a
JS class engine.  Closer inspection
however revealed it to be SY0964 but
with a skyline casing around the
chimney and a decorated smokebox.  
This gave it a profile similar to SY1083
which I saw at Pingzhuang in 2002
although SY0964 had by this stage
had its smoke deflectors removed.
The other active engine on the day of
my visit was the more conventional
looking SY0793 seen moving off shed.  
In the background can be seen the
rear of the short passenger set which
had been steam hauled until shortly
before my visit but which by
December 2003 was diesel hauled.
Although there were only two
locomotives in steam there seemed to
be plenty for them to do - although to
be honest I was not exactly sure of
the layout at Tangshan.  SY0964
arriving with a loaded train of coal
SY0793 is not exactly challenged by
the task of moving a single empty
wagon but nevertheless this short
movement makes a pleasant sight as it
passes the loco depot
SY0964 brings a short train of low
sided spoil wagons into the
headshunt at Tangshan prior to
reversing them back into the colliery
and washery yard.  The decorated
smokebox reads 'Build For A Modern
China' (I am reliably informed)
The pithead winding gear can be
clearly seen in the background as
SY0793 stands in the colliery yard
at Tangshan.   Presumably all of
these buildings post-date the
devestating earthquake of 1976
The brightly painted yellow
building on the left of the picture is
the main control for the colliery
and surrounding lines and staff
were happy for me to investigate
between locomotive movements.  

My Chinese is not up to translation
of the signs above the various pit
roads - maybe someone could help
SY0793 spent a considerable time
at the head of a longish train of
wagons as they were loaded at the
washery.  It was always difficult to
know if the train was simply
moving forward or was about to
set off with its train to the CHR
exchange sidings
With wagons finally loaded
SY0793 brings the train out of the
washery and away to the CNR
SY0964 on shed at Tangshan.  
Another engine SY1679 was also on
shed but out of steam with a fourth
possible engine not apparent but
reported to be at Tangshan
A conveniently placed pile of
sleepers provided enough height to
give a fine viewpoint as SY0793
returned to the yard area with a
train of spoil wagons
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