Train Travelogue – 2011

At 15:00 on 30 June, the first trains on the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway will leave Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao stations. David Feng, a Beijing-born Swiss citizen, was the first foreign national to purchase a Beijing-Shanghai HSR ticket. […] David broadcasted live his journey via Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.
Chinese media (04 July 2011; Mandarin Chinese feature, Summary of world media upon the opening of the Beijing-Shanghai HSR)

DAVID FENG’S 2011 TRAIN TRAVELOGUE

  • National or territorial/regional rail networks: China Mainland (Beidaihe, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Harbin, Ji’nan, Langfang, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shijiazhuang, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan, Zhuhai), Hong Kong (by cross-border train)
  • Metro/tram networks: China Mainland (Beijing Subway, Chengdu Metro, Guangzhou Metro, Shanghai Metro, Shenzhen Metro, Tianjin Metro), Hong Kong (MTR)
  • National/territorial/regional rail mileage this year: 25,682 km (approx 15,958 miles)

Two of the most important things to David Feng in 2011 was getting married to his love, Tracy, and to be onboard the very first Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway train.

Media attention to this historic trip was unprecedented, with reports both online and “in real life”, both at the ticket office, and onboard. David and Tracy left the train at Ji’nan, and David himself completed the entire trip on HSR from Beijing to Shanghai in November, onboard services G1 and G4, amongst the fastest train services in the world.

The unfortunate train crash in Wenzhou, and the irresponsible response of the railways spokesperson, made David think twice before boarding the next high speed service. However, by early autumn, HSR was back in the black as David saw it, with his newly-formed family completing a high speed marathon from Zhuhai (on the border with Macau) via Wuhan to Nanjing and Suzhou, then back to Beijing. The trip would be continued by further onward connections to Harbin, northeastern China.

Earlier in the year, David started on his first-ever Green Train trip, with rolling stock dating back to the 1950s. Where he had expected to find a tired rail workhorse almost ripped to shreds, he instead found an extremely well-maintained train carriage with proper tables and seats. He also joined several train enthusiasts on a trip to Yanshan and the environs.

In March 2011, David travelled with Tracy to Hong Kong by air, then from Hong Kong to Guangzhou by cross-border MTR intercity services. The trip would continue from Guangzhou South station through to Wuhan for a night sleeper service back to Beijing. Also during this time, David continued his trips to Tianjin and Shijiazhuang.

Late in 2011, David went on late-night journeys to Tanggu, then a year-end journey via Tangshan stations. The outbound trip ended at Tangshan’s north station; the return trip at Tangshan’s more southernly “main” station. Through his steadfast support of China Railways, it was able to overcome the worst of the times immediately following the Wenzhou collision.

Throughout the year, David continued travelling by metro systems in cities, notably a first in Chengdu, on the new Line 11 in Shanghai, as well as the late 2011 extensions to the Beijing system, including extending Line 8 north of the Olympic Green, and new Line 15 services to Central Shunyi.

Outside of urban metro networks, David has visited some of the most important HSR hubs in China. These included Beijing South, Shanghai Hongqiao, Guangzhou South, and Wuhan. He also visited Ji’nan West and Nanjing South stations.