It’s obvious that Dr Feng understands China’s railway system fully. His ideas on improvements as offered are very much in line with our guidelines at the railways.”
Xinhua (28 March 2014; Mandarin Chinese feature, citing members of staff at Nanning Railway Station)
DAVID FENG’S 2015 TRAIN TRAVELOGUE
- National or territorial/regional rail networks: China Mainland (Beijing, Harbin, Shanghai, Tianjin, Xuzhou, Wuxi), Italy (Milan), Switzerland (Lugano), United Kingdom (Amersham, Ashford, Aylesbury, Banbury, Bedford, Bentley, Bicester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Dartford, Doncaster, Grays, High Wycombe, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Purfleet, Reading, Stratford-upon-Avon, Watford)
- Metro/tram networks: China (Beijing Subway), Italy (Milan Metro), United Kingdom (London Underground + DLR and Tramlink, Manchester trams)
- National/territorial/regional rail mileage this year: Sorry, still being calculated
In May 2015, David was totally “set free” in the UK with an Annual Gold Card. With First Class his preferred class of travel (as he was so huge in dimensions!), he fully made use of all the benefits that came with that exclusive card — including unlimited travel in London Travelcard Fare Zones 1-5 — and took his trips to many more destinations across Great Britain.
New destinations were added to the map like never before. These included Ashford, Aylesbury, Banbury, Bedford, Bicester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Dartford, Doncaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Reading, and Stratford-upon-Avon, appeared in David’s travelogue throughout the year.
David managed to travel on a majority of train operating companies in Great Britain, thanks to extended travel opportunities on the Annual Gold Card. He was also one of the first riders to travel on TfL Rail services, which will in future become Crossrail, renamed in 2016 to the Elizabeth line. He incorporated a few trips to nearby train stations even when he was driving across Britain (which, even with a UK licence, didn’t happen often!). In this year, he also got his first Permit to Travel (not often obtainable!).
David also took an increasing number of high speed services, including Virgin Trains (both West and East Coast) and Southeastern High Speed. A minor train issue meant he was actually able to enter or exit from all four high speed stations on the line — St Pancras International, Stratford International, and Ashford International — in addition to calling at Ebbsfleet International as an extra station. Virgin Trains East Coast also got him from destinations as northernly as Doncaster — a southbound service to London Kings Cross.
Later in the autumn, David went to Manchester and Liverpool, thus hitting his most northernly point by train for that year within England. He would complete more journeys by train in the UK for 2016, as his Annual Gold Card would still be valid for 5½ months into the new year.
He would also be in Switzerland and Italy, travelling between Lugano and Milan. In late 2015, he returned to Beijing for the first time in 16 months for a short break, and continued his journey on Chinese high speed services.
In September 2015, David travelled on the entirety of every London Underground line. This included the DLR, Overground, Tramlink, TfL Rail, and even the Emirates Air Line. He’d also make his first trips on Beijing Subway Lines 7 and 14 (East), and Shanghai Metro Line 12.