History of C2 worked railways

The Railway at Dahuichang

Overview of the Quarry and Factory History

The Dahuichang Limestone Railway was a short, double-track line which linked a quarry to a cement and brick factory. Being only 1.5km (1 mile) long, it is surprising that a railway was used instead of a conveyor belt, but this may be indicative of the technology available in China when the line was built.
The limestone quarry at Dahuichang was built in 1953, and the railway opened about 1954. This was comparatively early; pre-dating the ‘Great Leap Forward’ period which saw a huge expansion of industries and narrow-gauge railways. Initially the limestone was used in the blast furnaces of the Shijingshan Steelworks, and a few undated drawings seen at Dahuichang were titled Shijingshan Iron & Steel Company Limestone Mine 石景山钢铁公司石灰石矿.
However, the finer limestone particles were unsuitable for steelmaking, so in 1956 a plant was built at Dahuichang to produce lime for cement manufacture. By 1961, the company name was Beijing City Limestone Plant 北京市灰石厂.
In the late 1960s, a brick factory was added; this combined limestone, lime and water into bricks which were baked in the carbon-dioxide-rich exhaust gases from the lime kilns. The resulting pale coloured bricks were used for important buildings including some of the embassies in Beijing. This technique reduces the CO2 emissions of a cement factory while producing a valuable by-product, and has recently been considered for wider use to reduce the environmental impact of cement manufacture.
By the 1980s, the factory name was Beijing Construction Material Chemical Plant 北京建材化工厂. It was still part of the same organisation as Shijingshan steelworks, by now part of the Beijing Shougang Group.
From 1989, concerns were raised about the environmental impact of the quarry and industry. Shockwaves from blasting were damaging nearby ancient temples, while dust and fumes were causing serious air pollution in the region. In 1991 limitations were placed on the blasting operations which became gradually stricter through the decade. This forced a significant reduction in the output from the quarry and the plants. The total staff employed at Dahuichang fell from 2500 to 700 and the railway traffic probably fell by a similar percentage. By 1997, the railway was reduced to operating a single shift in the afternoon. The economics of this level of production were poor, and the whole operation closed in 2005 as part of efforts to clean up Beijing’s atmosphere prior to the 2008 Olympics.
After closure, some items were quickly scrapped or sold, including the wagons, tipplers, and locomotives 1 and 4 (we bought 4). However, the remaining equipment was simply abandoned, with most of the factory and railway buildings remaining in existence in 2019. Many of the rails are still in place although overgrown, and remarkably locomotives 2 and 3 remain intact in a securely locked loco shed. However, the latest Google maps appear to show new developments at the quarry end of the line and this may all disappear under the march of progress fairly soon.
You can look at the current situation for yourself: the location of the loco shed is https://goo.gl/maps/MZZeXLwrMmsc9Uvy5.

Operations and Track Plan

(to be completed)
 
Other Chinese Narrowgauge Railways