The Wanquan River Bridge Hook: Opened to Traffic But Horrendously Designed

The Wanquan River Bridge Hook: Opened to Traffic But Horrendously Designed

If you were travelling clockwise on the 4th Ring Road and wanted to head north (coming in from the west) at Wanquan River Bridge (Wanquanhe Qiao), previously you had to use the slip road and wait for maybe two or three sets of traffic lights. They were timed so badly, you could have started with some kind of artwork masterpiece just by using moving your gearstick around as if it was a paintbrush! (I refer, of course, to those of us with proper cars, not those artificialised automated gear change systems.)

The good news is that the city authorities finally installed a separate “hook” bridge avoiding traffic queues — and that bridge opened to traffic today. It was still artistic as in it had plenty of curves, but now your wheels, not gearstick, would move like a paintbrush. The very bad news was that it was truly poorly designed. Of course to remove the “hook” bridge would be suicidal, but still, City Hall better think hard about how projects are to be completed with grace!

Transport Links to New Beijing Airport: F*cking Amaze (Beep!)

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in Beijing, Beijing + Tianjin + Hebei | No Comments
Transport Links to New Beijing Airport: F*cking Amaze (Beep!)

No other “clean” expression in the English language today is enough to describe the utter amazement and my sense of being completely overwhelmed at how Beijing is doing its transport links to the new Daxing International Airport (which is what everyone’s calling it, in spite of the new airport not yet having an official name)…

It looks like nothing is sacred to planners who want to make this the world’s most important airport, ever. We’re looking at pics… which in essence shows, to the far end, a new High Speed Rail line being built (Beijing – Xiongan) as well as a motorway with a new airport express Beijing Subway line being sandwiched in the middle layer. You really can’t make this stuff up.

A Year of Next Station: China…

Posted by on Apr 18, 2018 in China, Media Appearances, Trains | No Comments
A Year of Next Station: China…

This time a year ago, I left on Train G1 to Nanjing South and Hefei South. A year later, I’m in front of a microphone — not on a train — though at times both have happened at the same time…

The people at Radio Beijing timed the live show to happen exactly a year after the documentary started. We’re far from done… But it has shown me China beyond any dimension imaginable.

Pretty much wherever I’ve set up my camera and microphone — wired or wireless — I’ve been an item of curiosity. I’ve been identified by a member of the public once — at Wuxi Railway Station — but otherwise they’re rather low-key. There’s a reason I keep it like that — to uncover the station as-is, without anything extra (without any extras, in fact).

Braving the Winds for Rail English to the Public

Posted by on Oct 28, 2017 in Beijing, Public Speaking, Trains | No Comments
Braving the Winds for Rail English to the Public

The 2017 Beijing Foreign Language Festival was held in some of the weirdest weather ever. You’ll note that the huge billboard to my back was probably dented and pierced by some out-of-control toddler. That’s right, as we had to ensure nobody got hurt by equally maddening and out-of-control gusts — real, big-time heavy winds!

As a result we only had so many of us super-intrepid people braving the wind, but in full force they did come. For once, I was set free onstage by myself to talk about trains. Interestingly enough, we had the Beijing Subway do their bilingual shtick first before I went onstage and took people on an imagined bilingual trip from Chaoyang Park out via the tube network to Beijing South, then onward to Shanghai.

With High Speed Rail being the way to get around now, we’re swearing by the trains more these days than at it…

One Last Hard Look at Pingguoyuan Subway Station, Beijing

One Last Hard Look at Pingguoyuan Subway Station, Beijing

Pingguoyuan terminus on Line 1 is still here as of this writing, but not for long. It’s going away to get redone into a three-line hub, where it’ll co-host Lines 6 and the Mentougou Maglev. That’s going to be good when it happens in future, but for now it’ll mean we’ll have services cut back a stop, to Gucheng. Pingguoyuan will go dark as it’s being remodelled and, hopefully, expanded big time from the 1970s invention it is right now.

So it’s one more ride for the moment to Pingguoyuan, the only station on Line 1 not on Chang’an Avenue. As a result, it tilts probably 50°-60° to the northwest, making its mark felt clearly on the Subway map.

Being built in the 1970s, it was built at a time when Peking feared invasion from Moscow or DC more than the millions in the city that’d be one day taking this platform by surprise, so everything’s very spartan and not as big as you’d think.

China: Home of the World’s Fastest Train — Once Again

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in Beijing, China, Media Appearances, Shanghai, Trains | No Comments
China: Home of the World’s Fastest Train — Once Again

On 01 August 2008, China did what no other country on Planet Earth did — operate trains at 350 km/h (217 mph). On 23 July 2011, the horrendous Wenzhou crash happened, killing 40. The then-head of the mainland Chinese railway authorities, Sheng Guangzu, had little recourse but to ask the prime minister to lower speeds to 300 km/h (186 mph).

Sheng retired in late 2016. However, it was under his administration that work started in earnest on an “all-Chinese” trainset, the CR Revival Express (a train which was also made inherently safer and better at higher speeds).

That very same screamer sped out of Beijing South in the morning hours of 21 September 2017, with yours truly onboard Train G1. Top speed reached 350 km/h (217 mph). Once again, China had the world’s fastest train.

Live on Radio Beijing: Of Trains and Stations!

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Beijing 2022, Media Appearances, Trains | No Comments
Live on Radio Beijing: Of Trains and Stations!

It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve stepped back into that live studio at Radio Beijing (as in the English-language services)… The show was Touch Beijing, a live show mostly in English, but with a fair bit of spoken Mandarin Chinese as well. I came in around 25 minutes past the hour (17:25 or so), for my 20-ish minutes of fame (or so). The rail documentary I was doing, Next Station: China, took, of course, centre stage.

Up to this point, I had “sped up” going to stations — I literally just returned yesterday from Shidu Railway Station, Station 51 right by the mountains in southwestern Beijing. The past 50 journeys have seen me around much of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, He’nan, and Shandong, but also as far south as Hu’nan! Were there a few of my favourites already? Absolutely. Old Regular Rail stations made up for the bulk of unexpected discoveries.

Get Out Into the World: Jijiaying, Miyun

Get Out Into the World: Jijiaying, Miyun

“Get out into the world. (F*ck yeah you good thing.)” My new cuss-included iPhone weather app liked the weather in this part of remote northeastern rural Beijing. We went to Jijiaying, Miyun, one of the slightly more remote and less advantaged parts of the Beijing suburbs — to bring our English lessons there and to show that we cared.

First off, we had the bit where Alison Zhou, who co-hosted not just the radio shows at Radio Beijing in 2013 with me, but plenty of these pro bono English public talks as well, did a lesson on English and the Winter Olympics along with me…. Then onto the main event: shooting some kind of publicity video, pretty much to get everyone excited about learning English for 2022. Everyone got their 15 attoseconds of fame.

I can tell you that even if this was early-to-mid-May, it felt scorching hot. No wonder at all, in actual fact: I remember 2001 temperatures this time of year (early May) to be probably 30+ Celsius. At least 31°C. I read that on one of those digitised displays (whether it got correctly calibrated would be another issue, but still the writing is on the wall).

The Love-Hate Relationship with Beijing

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Beijing, David Feng Views | No Comments
The Love-Hate Relationship with Beijing

Let me be honest with you all: I find an equal amount of grave, dismal, even abysmal faults in China, as I find it to be one of the best countries in the world. It’s natural: I was born here, and until I was 18, I used to be a Chinese citizen. I still live here — with all of my family.

I am hardly alone in this, as I’ve learnt. Most people — expats included! — have this conflicting love and hate of China and of Beijing. But I am not willing to be sold out to either extremes. I’m a poor Swiss citizen if we’re to be seen as “the best of” viewpoint neutrality. So what I do instead is to reinterpret neutrality as a “smorgasbord of views”.

I’ll continue to have a love-hate relationship with the city — and the Middle Kingdom as a whole — as it’s a real, living, breathing experience — and because we all care about this place. Dearly.

Beijing: Swissness Only for the Stomach

Beijing: Swissness Only for the Stomach

In London, for as much as work as I did finding Swissness at Sainsbury’s, M & S, and Waitrose (I deliberately shun Tesco as much as I can, and I never do Aldi, Lidl, or the like), I found only limited Swissness when it came to dairy products. I was a regular Onken yoghurt consumer, but as it had German roots, I wanted to look for something “more authentically Swiss”. And the only Swiss yoghurt you got were at Whole Foods, from a local dairy in Bischofszell (or thereabouts), Canton of St Gallen. You could easily forget what Waitrose passed off as its Number 1 choice for chocolate — I as a Swiss feel quite insulted that we weren’t picked (but the choice was made pre-Brexit, so they could always reconsider!).

For Beijing, by no means are they cheap (apart from the occasional sale), but if it’s something that won’t kill you, I’m going for it at all costs.

Load More