Train Travelogue – 2010

Life is all about check-ins. That’s maybe the best way to describe David Feng. Mayor of 37 places on [foursquare], David’s “possessions” include 20 Beijing Subway stops, stations around Beijing (such as Beijing and Beijing South), and places in Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, and Tanggu. Not easy? Well, he’s always on a train to new places.
Southern Weekly (28 April 2010; Mandarin Chinese feature, Always on the Go on the Web: Social Life in the Mobile Web Era)

DAVID FENG’S 2010 TRAIN TRAVELOGUE

  • National or territorial/regional rail networks: China Mainland (Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin), Taiwan (Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taipei, Taoyuan)
  • Metro/tram networks: China Mainland (Beijing Subway, Guangzhou Metro, Shanghai Metro, Shenzhen Metro, Tianjin Metro), Taiwan (Taipei MRT, Kaohsiung MRT)
  • National/territorial/regional rail mileage this year: 13832.33 km (approx 8595 miles)

In 2010, David Feng took his first across larger distances, embarking in the autumn on a trip to Qingdao. Along with a rental car, he travelled in one day to the five stations of Jiaozhou, Gaomi, Lancun, Jimo, and Chengyang, taking pictures of the stations as he saw them. He also used social media to mark his whereabouts and upload pictures.

He also took his train trips further, embarking on a few trips with other local rail fans to Bazhou. In March, he also visited Shijiazhuang.

His trip in early September 2010 from Guangzhou North to Guangzhou South station saw him completely wowed by the designs of both stations, especially the latter. It was his first trip on the Wuhan-Guangzhou HSR, now part of the Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong HSR. It was the best possible way to begin TEDxCanton, which he emceed successfully.

David also travelled that same month to Shenzhen, literally just a hop away from Hong Kong. He also took a look at the rather ageing, tired, and “boxy” Guangzhou Railway Station, a station which would be packed with travellers just before every Spring Festival.

His favourite hideout in all these journeys? Chadaocheng, just next to Badaling. In stark contrast to the Great Wall, which boasted rather exorbitant entrance fees, Chadaocheng was free for him to stroll around at his pleasure. It looked to be a much more charming old town.

David also took a quick train trip out to Hangzhou, during the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, and he also visited the very impressive China Railways pavilion, part of the same expo. (The trip out to Hangzhou would one of the last slower, D-train services, before the inauguration of 350 km/h / 217 mph HSR services to Hangzhou later that year.) At the expo, David also left a message to Chinese national railways in standard traditional Chinese, reflective of his refusal to “fly further” between China’s two biggest cities: Open up the Beijing-Shanghai HSR soon!

But it was probably his trip on Taiwan High Speed Rail that was one of the more memorable visits of the year. Taking an early morning semi-direct service from Taipei to Kaohsiung Zuoying, David returned with a quick stop in Tainan, where it was rather “tropical” to see a railway station surrounded by a station square with palm trees! He returned back to Taipei using a regular, stopping service.

In a quick drive-through of the island by car, he also took a drive through Central Taichung, passing the old station, which has since fallen out of use.

Whilst visiting Taiwan, he also stepped inside Taipei Main Station, as well as Taoyuan, the station closest to Taoyuan Airport. He did not, however, travel by “classic” (TRA) rail services whilst on the island.

His Subway and Metro trips continued throughout the year as well. The bulk of the action happened in late December 2010, when Beijing’s Line 15, as well as the Changping, Daxing, Fangshan, and Yizhuang Lines, all opened to the public. Even before this, he was publicly blogging about the whereabouts of each station — almost 50 of them in one go!

He also gave the Shenzhen Metro his first-ever visit, and continued to discover Shanghai through the new and vastly expanded metro network. He also continued his trips on the Tianjin Metro.

Whilst on Taiwan, he travelled through much of the networks in Taipei and Kaoshiung, two of the largest cities on the island. David took Taipei’s “red line” as far north as Beitou and New Beitou (Xinbeitou), and also completed a trip on the system’s oldest line, the “brown line”. He spent a lot of time on the “blue line”, however, as his hotel was close to this line. In Kaohsiung, David travelled on both the “red line” and the “orange line”, and also had a chance to marvel at the very impressive Formosa Boulevard interchange between the two stations, including the station’s Dome of Light. He travelled on both above-ground and underground lines, and also picked up transport cards from both cities.