Tiefa, a exensive mining area some 100km northwest of Shenjang, has an extensive network of industrial lines connecting various mines and power stations. Back in 2003, it had about a dozen SY in service almost around the clock. At a mine of Dalong, an udentified SY passed with a loaded coal train towards Daquing. Jan. 06, 2003.

The loco stabling point at Daquing, three SY are serviced. SY 1767 had a slogan on the smokebox wishing the Tiefa Coal Group an "even better tomorrow". Jan.05, 2003.

SY 0665 was in a less glamouros condition. Jan.05, 2003.

Diaobingshan station with its well known footbridge. The place was also famous for its SY-hauled passengers, that made connection here twice a day before radiating to the various branches of the industrial system. Being busy withy exposing SYs in the early morning, it wasn't until someone tipped me on the shoulders, that I realised two poice officers behind me. The rest is quickly told: After watching the SY's from the Diaobingshan police station for the rest of the morning, I eventually was escorted to the Tiefa Coal Group headquaters. But the corporate limousine broke down underway, so we dissipated another hour or two. Eventually, after getting there and having complied with the bureaucrats and purchasing the required permit, I was able to take this shot. By now it got mid afternoon! Jan.06, 2003.

A simple loco treatment facility including coal crane was right at Diaobingshan station. Jan.06, 2003.

The constant hustle and bustle of steam engines on the Tiefa system alone was fascinating. It resembled the glory days of steam, when literally thousands of steam engines were in service all over the coutry - commonplace in China until the middle of the nineties!  Daquing, Jan.05, 2003.

Fuel for steam engines is cheap in a coutry with abundant coal deposits, especially in an region like Tieling - Diaobingshan that practically lies on it. Operation costs for a steam engine were only about half of a diesel - a  reason that the management of Tiefa Coal Group decided to stick to its SY's for the time being. That said, however, it is just a normal pattern in China that such decisioins are sooner or later invalidated by some decree from Beijing. The economic development and modernisation of the country leaves little room for sentimentality.. Diaobingshan Jan. 05, 2003.


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