China Blog 2009

Fuzhouwan & Wudao Salt Railways

16 July 2009

There are only 3 return buses a day from Pulandian to Fuzhouwan. More frequent buses run from Wafangdian. The first bus is at 8 am and takes about 45 minutes. The bus passes the salt factory and this is where you should get off. We stayed on to the bus terminus to check buses to Wudao but this gains nothing. The private taxis to Xietun and Wudao go from the junction to the right just before the salt factory and the China Rail Fuzhowan station and the salt unloading/loading yard are also on this road.

Fuzhouwan salt factory has a complex of lines including a flat crossing all with public access. You can walk between the factory and the loading yard along the track. Most of the action was between the factory and the yard and the friendly crew of unnumbered loco 3 sat in the yard for a while (11:00 - 12:30) and invited us into the cab. Fresh white salt was being unloaded here although it may have been reprocessed in the factory for we saw no sign of salt coming in from the fields and ample evidence that old salt was being taken back to the factory to be cleaned.

The loco on the right is No. 3. I have no idea what the loco on the left is. No. 3 had been shunting and was loading old salt for cleaning. The other loco brought in clean salt for storage prior to shipment out by China Rail.

The freight-only China Rail lines were being operated by a ND5 loco (built by GE?). These locos still see plenty of use on freight (and the occasional passenger) from Dalian to somewhere prior to Shenyang.

We saw 3 salt railway locos in use out of the 5 working locos. Another 4 are out of use. They were described as 'locally built'. This is the 3rd loco bringing in a train of tanks. The factory uses brine to reprocess the old salt so these may have been full of brine.

The system offers a good chance to get more than one loco in a shot. Here is the tanker train going away.

The friendly crew we met at the beginning seemed to work a longer shift than the other two locos. This was a final shot before our 4:30 bus back to Pulandian.

Wudao

We took a private taxi to Wudao which turns out to be a yard in the middle of nowhere with a salt line entering from both the north and the south. With no trains from either line there, not knowing when one would arrive and from what end and not having much chance of getting back to civilization if we let our taxi go, this is really a 'too difficult/why bother?' location for the average gricer. If you had your own car, you could go out to the north to maybe find a train on the line to No. 8 saltfield. As far as I know, following the line to No. 7 saltfield (south and then west) is not possible. With only limited time, money and (more importantly) patience to throw at it, I took this shot to show I had been there and returned to Fuzhouwan for some reasonable action as described above. This shot cost around £5 to achieve based on the return taxi fare of RMB60.

John Raby
Pulandian