Train Travelogue – 2012

David Feng is an avid traveler, especially on trains. David has taken to the rails since he was a kid. […] He has rode on “standing room only” trains, attempted naps both in hard sleeper and lie-flat Business Class deluxe seats, and has been fed well by the dining cars on train and restaurants in stations.
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DAVID FENG’S 2012 TRAIN TRAVELOGUE

  • National or territorial/regional rail networks: Belgium (Brussels), China Mainland (Baoding, Beijing, Cangzhou, Changsha, Handan, Hangzhou, Hefei, Ji’nan, Langfang, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Wuxi, Xi’an, Xuzhou, Zhenjiang), France (Paris, Strasbourg), Liechtenstein (Vaduz), Luxembourg (Luxembourg), The Netherlands (Amsterdam), Switzerland (Basel, Bellinzona, Genève, Lausanne, Locarno, Luzern, Winterthur, Zürich)
  • Metro/tram networks: Belgium (Brussels Metro), China Mainland (Beijing Subway, Guangzhou Metro, Hangzhou Metro, Nanjing Metro, Shanghai Metro, Tianjin Metro), France (Paris Metro, Strasbourg trams), The Netherlands (Amsterdam), Switzerland (Lausanne Metro, Zürich trams)
  • National/territorial/regional rail mileage this year: approx 34,026 km (approx 21,143 miles)

Two 2012 marked the 5th year Chinese high speed services were introduced. As a sign of support to the railways, badly bruised by the Wenzhou disaster in the previous year, David made it a point to travel by HSR on the first and last day of the year, on Chinese New Year, and on the 5th anniversary of CRH services — 18 April 2012.

The trip that was begun on 18 April 2012 would take him to Eastern China as far east as Ningbo, and Southern China as far south as the border with Hong Kong (Futian Checkpoint). It would take just about a week to complete, gaining him thousands of miles of new rail mileage, and opening his eyes to a China doing incredibly well with HSR services being added across the nation.

This was a great way to start a year of travel across the whole country by rail.

In April, David’s weeklong journey started off from Beijing South, and continued all the way via Nanjing to Wuxi East. For the first time, David was shown around the station by members of staff, where he discovered a station that was truly built with efficiency and short transfer times in mind. Still on the same day, he continued past Shanghai and Hangzhou to Ningbo.

The journey would continue over the next days to Wuhan via Wuxi (Central Station), then from Wuhan via Changsha and Guangzhou to Shenzhen. Changsha itself would be a destination within days, followed by another brief stopover via Wuhan to Handan. Finally, the last station of call would be Beijing.

In summer 2012, David and wife Tracy would return to Switzerland for a trip by train across Europe. These included trips wholly within Switzerland, a EuroCity service out via Strasbourg and Luxembourg to Brussels, a Thalys service to Amsterdam, followed by a TGV train to Paris, and more local services to Luxembourg, then Strasbourg. A visit was then paid to Freiburg im Breisgau station before a few more trips would be completed in Switzerland (including one by train to nearby Liechtenstein), followed by the flight back to Beijing.

In China, David was invited, in spring, to a behind-the-scenes look at what was the CSR works in Qingdao, where HSR trainsets were made. In autumn, he would once again be invited to a rail enthusiast discovery journey — this time hosted by Xi’an Rail, on a trip where he’d discover what really happened behind the scenes of the Baoji-Chengdu Railway, a unique line navigating the mountains, treating its riders to breathtaking scenery. He finished the year on its very last day travelling from Hefei to Beijing.

This year would mark David’s first subway trips in Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as Brussels and Amsterdam. He would also return for trips on the Paris Metro; his first trip on that system would date back to 1996. Closer to home, David would have his first-ever trip on the Hangzhou Metro, as well as Tianjin Line 2 (East) and Line 3, and new Beijing Lines, including Line 6, and more of Lines 8, 9, and 10. The opening of Line 6, in particular, meant his home would now be served by two lines.