■ 08:24 (UTC+08:00), 24 JUL 2019 | TRAIN D2222 BETWEEN DEQING AND NANJING SOUTH
Next Station: China is my rail documentary, with the camera rolling as of 2017, to all stations in China. It being the third-largest country by some counts, finishing this project will take a heck of a long time. Some places are far and remote (and not easy to get into — the likes of Xinjiang and Tibet are examples), others involve ferries (Hainan island), and still others require travel at a certain time of year only (northeastern China gets hellishly cold in the winter!).
You’re seeing me at the extremely picturesque station of Qiandaohu, literally Lake of a Thousand Islands, on a new Hangzhou-Mt Huangshan HSR opened right on Christmas Day 2018. (What a fantastic gift to those lucky locals.)
Also, just last day, I was invited to take a look at the “innards” of the Station 380, Deqing West — the bits most of us don’t get to see. They really redid everything, outside and inside, and I think it’s the inside that is really crucial. It’s where rail crew work, sometimes ’round the clock. If you don’t get these places nice and tidy, it’ll be more a drag to these people, and no-one wants that to happen. New and improved technology upgrades mean they’ll keep the rails running and problem-free and that in an even better way than before. They’ve also removed a massive spammy ad billboard at the station entrance and I think it’s much better restoring the station to its Chinese Republican era origins (especially design-wise) — than to let a crazy spammy ad board haunt otherwise uninterested passengers.
As I might guess, my total number of “stations been to” list could be already nearing the same number as those in charge of station services nationwide at China Railway (National). I won’t be surprised if that was so, or if I ended up even geekier, having visited some more. In 2017, I was invited to do a talk about external publicity to the entire rail PR team in New Media. Probably I’ll soon hit station 500, or even 1,000, and have enough “oomph” to do the same, but a Best Practices presentation, to passenger station services staff across the network. After all, some stations do it better than others… such as…
- The upward escalators at Ji’nan East for Train Connections — awfully handy
- Zouping station’s incredibly spacious Departures Hall and the footbridge to Platform 2
- The “one-hall-fits-all-destinations” Departures Hall at Shangrao interchange
- Wuhan station’s awesome design and split concourses at Departures level
- The Express Entrances at Beijing South and Tianjin stations
- The super-cool underpasses at Tanggu station, good even in infernally hot summer days
- The how-did-they-do-this!? Departure Hall at Yujiapu, now Binhai
- Growing with the times: how Wuqing grew as more passengers frequented the station
One of these days I’ll finish all 2,300+… ■ ■ ■