High-speed rail drives Fuzhou City to happpy future. (Photo: China Plus)
China's railways have witnessed significant development over the decades, influencing all aspects of society.
Rail workers and passengers in Fuzhou, the capital city of China's Fujian province, indicate that high-speed rail has become a symbol of 'Made-in-China' and going-global products.
50-year-old Li Shuangxi's first train ride was in the 1990s, when he left his hometown, a small village 30 kilometres away from Fuzhou, the capital city of China's Fujian province.
"At that time, I went to Guangdong province for work. It took me more than a dozen hours travelling by train. People were crowded on the aisles, sometimes I could hardly move a step. At that time you couldn't order tickets online, you had to go to the train station to buy a ticket. If you failed to buy a seat, you had to stand for the whole journey. "
The 1980s to 1990s was the golden era for people leaving rural China. After the country's reform and opening-up in 1978, rural labor rushed to the cities. Some people including Li Shuangxi went to coastal cities in Guangdong to seek opportunities, while others ventured north to start a new life.
Beginning operation in 1966, K46 was the first train running from Fuzhou to China's capital city Beijing. At that time, a single trip on the K46 train took nearly more than 50 hours.
Guan Tiancai is the conductor of the K46 train. Having been working on the train for many years, he can still recall the memorable stories during the long journey.
"Once we delivered a child on the train. It was after midnight, around 2 or 3'o clock in the morning, suddenly a conductor came to me and told me a woman on our train was going to give birth to a child. Passengers in the same carriage woke up, and everyone was ready to give a hand. With the help of our health care workers on the train and professional doctors we had found via broadcasting, a boy was born several hours later. I still remember when the baby cried, everyone was so excited that someone even shed tears."
Time flies as steam powered vehicles gave way to electric drives. Additionally, railway services have also substantially improved. Now, taking the high-speed train G28, it only took people 8 hours from Fuzhou to Beijing, with a speed at more than 300 kilometres per hour.
Huang Rui is the deputy party secretary of Fuzhou railway section.
"In 1978, there were only 6 standard speed trains set off from Fuzhou. But now we have more than 100 high speed trains, every hour we have more than 10 train departures here. The number has increased several dozen times."
Huangrui added that during the peak season such as national holidays or Spring festival, the daily passenger capacity of Fuzhou station can reach 130,000.
High-speed train is not only popular among local passengers, but also tops the preferred method of transportation for expats living in Fuzhou city.
"It's really high speed. You can travel very, very quickly! It is very clean and convenient and it sets off on time."
"Whether it's work or taking my family out, high speed trains are the best option to go by. Unlike airplanes, they're always on time. They're quick and convenient in the sense that train stations are usually a lot closer than going to the airport. And they're really reasonably priced for the tickets. "
China now has the world's greatest high-speed rail network, with nearly 27,000 kilometers in total length, accounting for about two-thirds of the world's high-speed rail tracks in commercial service.
Many insiders believe that high-speed rail has not only saved time, but also boosted the flow of talents, and is reshaping China's economic map.
Talking about this huge change, Li Shuangxi laughes and says this is "unimaginable",
"I feel so excited about our country's development. I can't believe that it only takes me several hours to get to many places nowadays. Therefore I believe I can do my business better and more effectively in the future."