Tracking China is the website I’ve online now to help people get around China by rail (HSR, regular rail, and city metro and trams) and is here because I got lost in the Beijing Subway once!
At the immensely complicated-in-name Huixinxijie Beikou station, I wanted to grab a bottle of iced tea, so I thought I could get out from any exit. That was quite an “any exit”! Exit C proved to be the wrong choice. I had to reroute via a residential complex and a footbridge before getting anywhere close to the supermarket. Thus, a site that hitherto wanted to be a mere city encyclopaedia, saw its raison d’être and it soon took on a life of its own.
In 2008, China’s HSR network started taking shape, starting with a 120 km (75 mile) route from Beijing to Tianjin. Seeing that rail at speeds at 300 km/h (186 mph) and faster started taking me outside the Chinese capital, I decided to expand my rail footprint and started additionally chronicling the Shanghai Metro. By the early 2010s, I started wondering how I could expand the project, and so in 2012, the previous Beijingology, Tianjinology, Shanghaiology, Civitology, MobileMetro.mobi, and Dear Passengers sites were merged into the new Tracking China site. Much of the “raw data” on these sites remain intact through to the present day, although given how fast China’s rail and metro systems are built, they do need a thorough content refresh every so often!
The Tracking China website is here to provide you with late-breaking developments in the country’s rail and metro systems. It’s here also to ensure you are provided accurate information about stations across the country. The site uses first-hand information wherever possible, including those done by a quick site survey with station crew, so that riders are given information they can use — that won’t, hopefully, mislead them! Tracking China also authors bilingual content viewed by millions on the Chinese Internet, and is also part of the larger Street Level China site network, to provide content to more international visitors and expats across China.
Both Tracking China and its authored contents, and its previous constituent sites have been widely featured across local, national, and international media, including CNN, AdAge, the Chinese national railway paper People’s Railway Daily and its associated website at peoplerail.com, the national Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, the Beijing Daily, and others.
Finally, the site is here to promote the use of proper English, and is used as a “benchmark” and “first-use” site for a new and improved version of railway passenger service English in China. The terminology used on the site will match with every aspect of the new recommended bilingual standards, so you’re on the move faster without being lost in confusing signage. Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy the site!