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Shenzhen is a very large city in southern Guangdong province which borders Hong Kong. The Railway line here connects Hong Kong's KCR (now MTR) East Rail line to the CNR network. Through trains are provided by the KCR (Ktt or Kowloon Through Train) and the Guangshen Railway company, a semi-privatised railway company which uses China Rail rolling stock, chiefly DF11 and SS8 locomotives with 25K and Korean built 25C stock. The KCR operates limited freight services (now ceased).

16 May 2001

After 16 months suffering from Chinese Railway withdrawal symptoms, I finally found time while in Hong Kong to step into the mainland. I only had a day to get it out of my system, something I still haven't overcome 12 years later! I had contemplated heading up to Guangzhou or somewhere in between, but decided to stay around the city of Shenzhen. First destination in Shenzhen was to the so called 'Rainbow Bridge', which Robin Gibbons had provided directions for prior to going. This is a road bridge with a bend in the middle featuring large iron arched girders on each straight section. It crosses over the Shenzhen freight and passenger rail yards, situated approximately three and a half kilometers north of Shenzhen Railway station. You can find the exact location on Google Earth at co-ordinates 2233'59.13" N 11406'38.46"E . Footpaths are on both sides providing a perfect viewing area. The road traffic does get busy at times however, so one should exercise extreme caution when darting across the road with a bunch of camera gear!

Traffic levels at this location are very high and I was able to enjoy a variety of locomotives hauling an equally impressive variety of passenger coaches, with everything from gleaming double decker coaches to a mish-mash of passenger cars with six different liveries! Locomotive hauled passenger trains are DF4B, DF4D, DF9, DF11 and SS8 electrics.

Both of the high speed e.m.u. sets were seen twice, the Swedish built X-2000 tilt train and the DJJ 'Blue Arrow', both operated by the Guangshen Railway company. The X2000 runs from Hong Kong to Guangzhou East. (It ran this route until 2007 and was then transferred to Sichuan province briefly. It ran very briefly there before being returned to Sweden following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake). The Blue Arrow ran from Shenzhen to Guangzhou. These did not enter Hong Kong as the pantograph system was not certified to run on the KCR's lines. The KCR's Ktt train was also seen twice. This train is run in push-pull form by a pair Swiss of Re460's.

Freight traffic was minimal. A green DF4B #7598 made two trips into the freight yard, the first time with a container train and the second time with a workers train comprising of two YZ22 class coaches. There was also a very early DF5 which entered the yard with a short train and disappeared shortly after. The only other freight train was a KCR G26 locomotive (#60) which left for Hong Kong with the infamous pig train about an hour after my arrival. The train consisted of a dozen J11 class livestock cars, this being the only time I've seen livestock cars. The G16's make it across the border also, but none were seen today.

There are two yard pilots at Shenzhen, both new DF5D's #0003 & 0004. I saw a string of these at Guangzhou East the previous year in brand new condition. They're not overly common locomotives, but seem to be quite popular in Guangdong province. 0004 spent most of its time with the freight while 0003 was mainly on passenger duties. There was a few interesting pieces of rolling stock in the yard including a DJ track inspection car and a P60 box car, built in the 1960's and now very rare.

After spending some time at the bridge I headed back to the border by walking next to the line and getting a few more nice photos where I could find a gap inbetween buildings. There is a very nice area to get photos from a park area. The line here is elevated and it is possible to get nice parkland shots with imposing skyscrapers in the background. One of these shots was a DF9 that put up a very nice smoke show heading out of Shenzhen. The DF9's are particularly special locomotives as there were only 2 built (Sadly they were both scrapped recently) and luckily I was able to photograph both units on this day.

Below is a total list of locomotives seen on trains in the space of 5 hours, many of which were seen multiple times in that period.

DF4B 2164, 2165, 2170, 2308, 2310 (all orange) & 7598 (green)
DF4D 0568 & 574
DF5 1134
DF5D 0003 & 0004
DF9 0001 & 0002
DF11 0012, 0016 & 0017
G26 60 (KCR)
SS8 0063, 0067, 0153 & 0193
DJJ1 001


Obviously this short day trip was quite limited in scope, which was how I had intended it to be - at the busiest part of the line in order to photograph as many trains as possible. It's not a photogenic area, unless you like metropolitan style scenery, but there are a lot of types of engines there and the frequency makes it an attractive alternative to train spotting in Hong Kong where you would be lucky to get a China Rail train or freight through every 3 or 4 hours. Here you can see real Chinese mainline action at 5 minute intervals, plus there's always something going on in the yards. This place has drastically changed since my latest trip in January with the passenger cars now stored to the south east of the yard with 5 tracks under cover. Disappointingly the variety has also dropped off with the arrival of the CRH1's taking up much of the passenger work. Intercity trains appear to be only DF11 and SS8's also.

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