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Passengers flock to experience first trip

  • Author:Nancy
  • Source:China Daily
  • Release on:2019-12-31

   Passengers flock to experience first trip

Excitement is what most people familiar with a century-old rail line would feel when the trains complete a transition from the 35 kilometers per hour of the early days to the current 350 km/h.

"I am so excited, I have to try it on its first trip," 67-year-old Yu Ruiqin told reporters.

On Monday morning, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway opened, the world's first on which automated trains can reach speeds of 350 kilometers per hour. It's a new version of the same rail line built from 1905 to 1909.

To experience the speed, Yu, who grew up in Zhangjiakou and now lives in Beijing, bought a ticket for the day's first train, which departed at 8:40 am from the capital's Beijing North Railway Station going to Zhangjiakou in neighboring Hebei province.

She was too excited to wait at home and arrived at the station about two hours before the departure.

"It used to take me about 4 hours to take a one-way trip from Zhangjiakou to Beijing," she said, adding that her family moved to Beijing in 2000.

Yu said how grateful she is for China's great rail development because the trip now takes less than an hour.

"How big the improvement is!" Yu said, holding in one hand a new ticket for the high-speed train and in the other an old ticket she used in 2007 for the same trip.

Passengers like Yu filled the trains on Monday.

The old Beijing-Zhangjiakou rail line was China's first rail artery fully designed and built by Chinese. Zhan Tianyou, its chief engineer, overcame a series of difficulties in building it, the best-known of which is a Y-shaped switchback rail he designed near Qinglongqiao Station to reduce the line's slope and length of a tunnel through mountains, according to the Zhan Tianyou Memorial Museum in Beijing.

Zhan's rail line opened in 1909, greatly boosting the nation's confidence and setting off a wave of railway building across the country, according to the museum.

"He spent four years on the railway, insisting on finishing it without foreign assistance," said Zhan Yong, 48, great grandson of Zhan Tianyou, who also rode the high-speed train on Monday.

"I am very excited and even kind of emotional, because the railway is not only a glorious part of my family's history, but most importantly a great achievement for our country," Zhan Yong said.

Zhangjiakou, located about 160 km northwest of Beijing, played a key role in military and economic areas during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which is why the late Qing government decided to build the old Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway.