This video shows steam trains serving the coal mines and washery at Pingzhuang in Inner Mongolia in August 2011. There is a brief look at the EL2 electric locomotives which feature in a separate video on this channel.
The film shows a selection of the movements described below.
Walking towards the nearby washery, the first loco we found was SY 1441 on a long train of loaded CR wagons. Nearer the washery, SY 0400 was shunting wagons and SY 1052 was at the servicing point. We had a look at the opencast mine. All working on the far side of the mine had been abandoned and landslips had destroyed sections of the terracing. But plenty of coal was being brought out with EL2 electrics heading trains of 9 side tipping wagons with a control wagon at the rear. At the unloading point for the washery, whilst a train was being unloaded on the track next to the washery, the two adjacent loops were both occupied by trains waiting for unloading. SY 1025, north facing, was in the yard below the track used by emptied departing opencast coal trains. It left with a train of overhauled side tipper wagons, which were bound for the deep mines side where it was later seen light engine reversing at the brewery level crossing before heading north.
At 14:50 SY 1441 arrived from the south with empty wagons from CR, after which SY 1052 set off light engine towards the south. SY 0400 and SY 1079 were at the servicing point but soon left, which was the start of 60 minutes of near continuous action. Firstly, SY 0400, light engine, departed northwards towards the deep mines and SY 1079 started shunting empty CR wagons at the north end of the washery, whilst north facing SY 1025 arrived from the north light engine. A second north facing loco, SY 1487, was shunting side tipper wagons to be loaded with washed coal. One of the crew had his bicycle perched above the front buffer beam.
After much toing and froing, SY 1079 finally assembled a train of 11 empty CR wagons and positioned them for loading coal from the washery. During this time SY 1487's 8 tipper wagons were loaded, but only for a very short journey. They were hauled forward then reversed back, halting before moving forward again onto a dead end siding above a coal yard. Here most of the coal was unloaded for further transport by road. Whilst this was happening, SY 1052 returned from the south with a train of empty CR wagons. After leaving its siding, SY 1487 backed its tipper wagons towards the servicing point, probably to top up the coal supply there.
SY 1052 and SY 0400 were at the Zhuangmei washery servicing point but everything was quiet so we went for another look at the opencast side of the washery. SY 1487 was shunting side tipping wagons of what we assumed was waste, as it disappeared towards the north, possibly to a tip. There were two EL2 hauled trains at the washery unloading point.
The first mine we looked at was the one with the concrete panda after the level crossing on the approach to the mine, called Gushan Yijing (or in English Gushan Mine 1, although it is the second mine you come to, confusing or what?). Almost as we arrived, SY 1441 was departing from the mine towards the washery with a train of loaded tipping wagons. After a "grab" shot, it was back in the cars and a hasty drive to the mine between us and the washery.
We were in time for the arrival of SY 1441 and train here at Erjing (Mine 2). Because there is a washery here, and I think Mine 1 and maybe Mine 3 do not have there own washeries, unwashed coal is brought here for washing and loading into CR wagons. So SY 1441 ran round its train, from which it split 7 wagons and shunted for unloading. On completion of the unloading, the 7 wagons were left in the "platform" loop. These wagons had contained quite fine coal, presumably collected from Erjing, but the remaining 8 contained quite good sized lumps. SY 1441 was shunting the unloading of these wagons, when SY 1079 passed through from a mine further up the branch with 8 CR wagons of coal.
With thanks to Dave Fielding and the SY country web site for trip details.