China Transportation Briefing: 5 Trends to Watch in China’s Urban Transport in 2013

Our China Transportation Briefing shares interesting news and noteworthy research related to China’s transportation and

urban development. The goal is to help people who are interested in solving China’s urbanization and transportation problems

understand relevant Chinese policies and trends. Each issue revolves around a particular theme, with content summarized from

recent newsletters and magazines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Research Analyst Heshuang Zeng at

With new leadership in Beijing in 2013, Chinese people may express their need for change to their government, including the

need for better urban transport. For cities in China, 2013 will be another year of rapid change, coming with great challenges

and opportunities to improve the quality of urban life. The country’s investment-driven economy will keep urban development

and public transport infrastructure – think metro and bus rapid transit (BRT) – growing, but still more and more Chinese

will buy a car. The challenges of traffic congestion and air pollution from automobiles, already affecting large cities like

Beijing, will now confront more second-tier cities.

Could Chinese cities develop more sustainable mobilities? In today’s and tomorrow’s blog we will be look at five trends

affecting urban transportation in China: the expansion of urban rail, the fight against air pollution, the automobile ban, a

biking renaissance, and multi-modal integration.

Trend 1 – Urban Rail Expansion
On December 30th, 2012, Beijing opened new 70 kilometers of metro lines, surpassing London and becoming – at 442 kilometers

– the city with the world’s largest metro system. In 2012 again, three Chinese cities – Hangzhou, Suzhou and Kunming

opened their long-awaited metro lines, bringing the total of Chinese cities with a metro to 18.

China’s urban railway will continue to undergo fast expansion in 2013. In China, urban rail systems are widely regarded as a

benchmark for a modern, livable city – cities are craving metros to meet this “new normal”. The central government issues

strict criteria, only allowing large (population over three million) and wealthy cities (GDP over 100 billion yuan, or $16

bn) to build metros, yet many cities are set to meet these baseline criteria and more urban railways will be seen in Chinese

cities. In September 2012, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approved subway and light rail lines in 23

cities. This was the largest number of projects ever approved at one time by the NDRC, for a total investment amount in

excess of 800 billion yuan, or $128 billion. As of today, over 30 cities have urban rail systems under construction. China

plans to add 2,500 kilometers of metro lines during the current 5-year plan (2010-2015), where the total length of metros in

operation in 2010 in the country was only 1,471 km.

The ambitious metro expansion plan brings great challenges to finance. For some cities, metro expansion will be at the

expense of development of rest of public transport system. For it is not only costly in construction but also in operation.

Currently, most cities maintain very low ticket rate due to the price control of the central government, e.g. Beijing

subsidized 3.69 billion yuan (US$500 million dollars) on its metro operation in 2012 . And the local governments which is in

charge of urban transport development receive half their funding from land sales and from borrowing money. As highlighted in

a recent McKinsey’s prediction, this is unsustainable and Chinese cities will start to go bankrupt in 2013.

However, change may come soon. The State Council’s recently announced policy to allow the capture of the increase in land

value around public transportation stations to finance transport development. This new policy may open the doors to new urban

rail finance for Chinese cities. They can find inspiration in the Rail + Property Model in Hong Kong.

Trend 2- Battling with Air Pollution
Once again in 2013 Chinese cities will be battling with air pollution. China’s air quality crisis is now nation-wide. On the

second week of January, dense smog shrouded Beijing, Shanghai and other cities in China, making headlines around the world

and creating serious health concerns. On January 13th, Beijing’s reading of PM2.5 (particular with the diameter of less than

2.5 microns) reached nearly 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter, about 40 times the level recommended by the World Health

Organization. According to a recent report by Greenpeace, high levels of PM2.5 is predicted to have caused over 8,000

premature deaths in four cities across China in the year 2010.

Admittedly, China has made efforts towards more transparency in air quality public data over the past year. In January 2012,

Beijing began releasing its own air quality data. In March, 2012, the Ministry of Environmental Protection revised the air

quality standard to include PM2.5 particles along with other pollutants. This year, the national government is making even

bigger strides to improve air quality transparency: beginning this month, real-time air quality monitoring data on PM2.5

intensity in China’s 74 major cities will be made available by China’s National Environmental Monitoring Center. The

Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP) also announced it will reduce the intensity of PM 2.5 by 5 percent by 2015 (compared

to 2010 levels) across thirteen major urban areas covering 14 percent of the country and 71 percent of the nation’s GDP.

At the local level, cities are making great efforts to relieve emissions. Beijing will take some official vehicles off the

road on extremely polluted. And Lanzhou, one of the most polluted cities in the world, is considering an even-odd license

plate travel policy to help minimize air pollution.

Battling with air pollution will be a long term effort, on a road often portrayed as oscillating between economic development

(related to coal fired plants and the automobiles) and environmental protection. Currently, the air pollution issue seems to

over shadow other pressing issues like corruption. As vehicle emissions are often the second largest contributor to air

pollution in most Chinese cities, the increasing demands of the rising middle class for clean air are likely to drive the

government to take more radical actions on cars.

Trend 3 – Private Car Ban
As the world’s largest automobile market, China will continue to regress towards ever more cars, while more cities might

operate car restrictions in response to congestion and air pollution. Recent forecasts show that 2013 car sales will be up

8%, slower than the growth rate in recent years. Although China will continue driving one third of the global growth in the

automobile market, the trend is more than likely to change with the increase of car restrictions in cities.

Last July, Guangzhou rolled out a vehicle license quota, modeled after Shanghai, Beijing, and Guiyang. With Guangzhou, the

three largest cities in China limit vehicle purchases to stem the tide of private auto ownership.

This type of restriction is rarely found worldwide – with Singapore a notable exception. These restriction policies may

indicate a tipping point in sight for China’s rate of motorization.

Meanwhile, many other cities have already limited vehicles driving on the roads using travel restrictions based on vehicle

license plate numbers. As of today these restrictions are in place in 7 cities – Beijing, Changchun, Chengdu, Guiyang,

Hangzhou, Lanzhou, and Nanchang – where none existed in 2007. Restricting automobiles at the early stages of motorization

may lead to a different pathway of urban development and mobility. Along with the continuous improvement of public transit,

Chinese cities might simply be able to “leap frog” to a more sustainable urban paradigm.

Could Chinese cities develop more sustainable mobilities? Today we explore China’s biking renaissance and multi-modal


Trend 4 – Biking Renaissance
The past two decades have seen the decline of biking and pedestrian infrastructure in many Chines cities, but in 2013 Chinese

cities may regain the momentum of moving people on bikes. In September 2012, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural

Development released policy to promote biking and pedestrian systems in cities. This announcement also launched a 45-percent

target to be reached in cities by 2015 for biking and walking.

The rapid scaling-up of bikeshare in China and a new “greenway” project in Guangdong points to this as a real possibility.

Over the past five years, bikeshare systems have exploded in growth nationwide, fueled by the Hangzhou’s successful system

launched in 2008. Today, over 60 Chinese cities have public bike sharing programs and China has more bikes shared than the

rest of world combined. Wuhan and Hangzhou are now running the world’s largest and second largest bikesharing programs with

90,000 and 64,000 bikes respectively. More cities are building or planning to introduce public bike programs.

With the bikeshare movement, some cities revised their surface space priorities deferring to cyclists and pedestrians. The

Guangdong province leads this trend. Its cities – such as Guangzhou and Foshan – have constructed “greenways” – biking

and walking corridors paired with landscaping, alongside the development of bikesharing programs. Guangzhou is now the role

model for Chinese pedestrian-cycling infrastructure, with over 1,000 kilometers of greenway connecting key attractions and

mass transit hubs.

Greenway construction has also spurred grassroots NGOs to promote urban cycling, a rarity in China. BikeChina, one such

cycling NGO has been promoting Guangzhou cycling for two years, engaging with the public, international think tanks, and

government to make the city more bikable.

Trend 5 – Multi-modal Integration
Multi-modal integration is key in China’s transportation planning and will become a principle of future transportation


Currently, multi-modal integration is most often included in the design of hub stations. In the current 5-Year Plan alone,

100 multi-modal transport hubs will be created by 2015. Multi-modal integration at city-level is still facing challenges,

mostly institutional fragmentation. However, cities like Guangzhou and Hangzhou present best practice of multi-modal

integration for the rest of the country.

Guangzhou’s bikeshare system was integrated with bus rapid transit (BRT) throughout planning and implementation while

Hangzhou has planned public bike stations in coordination with its bus and metro networks. In terms of fare systems, many

Chinese cities provide integrated ticketing, allowing users to access different modes via a single farecard. Hangzhou’s

system even places incentives on biking by rewarding riders with an extra 30 minutes of of public bike use with bus

transfers. This integrated approach won Hangzhou the Mobi Prize, a global sustainable transport innovation award in 2012.

Multi-modal integration is here to stay and grow: Shanghai’s public transport card can be used in six other cities and by

2015, a single farecard could be used in 60 other Chinese cities.

What’s more, the integrated transport information becomes more accessible to users in China with the advancement of

technology. Currently, location-based mobile applications providing transport info such as “Shake and Ride” are available

in large Chinese cities, helping the users navigate in the cities through public transport. The opening of real time

transport data is also foreseeable – Last Nov., Beijing announced that the city would open the real time data of its buses

and metro in 2013, and this change might increase the reliability of its public transport system.


Facing the great challenge brought by the rapid motorization and urbanization, China is making great investment to expand the

urban railway, and more and more cities would reassess the role of private vehicles. Cities would start improving the quality

of public transit by multi-modal integration while preserving or picking up the legacy of the non-motorized transport such as

green way project. Innovation from the group also shows up in terms of new grassroot NGOs and the development of mobile

applications. With these signs, we have reason to believe that China could make a difference and find a different

motorization way to move people.





CoAL moving forward as Chinese company buys 23pct stake

Mr John Wallington CEO of Coal of Africa said that the company is moving forward from its troubled past. This was after USD

100 million capital raising by placing shares with Hauhoa Energy International, a subsidiary of Chinese energy company

Beijing Hauhoa Energy Resources received 99.88% approval from shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting in London. The

deal sees BHE acquire a 23.6% stake in CoAL, making it the biggest single shareholder.

For Mr Wallington, the approval heralds the next step in stabilizing the financial structure of the company, following a year

in which it had to grapple with rising operating costs in the face of lower export coal prices. This allows the company to

move forward from its troubled past. The main thing now is to develop the coking coal assets in Limpopo.

Last November, CoAL received an advance of USD 20 million from the placement and the vote of confidence from its shareholders

allowed the company to secure the remaining USD 80m. CoAL’s share price has since recovered from its record low of ZAR 1.49

a share last month to close at ZAR 3.12.

CoAL intends to use the proceeds to finance the further development of its Vele Colliery, as well as the day to day running

of its thermal collieries in Mpumalanga, Mooiplaats and Woestalleen, whose operations are under review.

It aims to produce 7 million tons run of mine coal a year, of which 1 million tonnes is coking coal, after it completes the

project’s first phase which includes bulk test work of its thermal coal for Eskom and coking coal for ArcelorMittal South


The South African steel industry has traditionally shipped metallurgical coal from Australia because of a lack of rail

infrastructure to the regions where the mineral could be mined domestically. CoAL is also finalising the bankable feasibility

study for the Makhado coking coal properties which is expected to be released towards the end of the Q1.

Mr Wallington said that CoAL was working to find the right financing structure to further develop the metallurgical coal

assets. Our main aim remains to produce coking coal for the domestic and international steel and ferrochrome industries. It

also hinges on higher coking coal prices over the coming years.







Indian Railways finally moving on its dream project” high-speed trains

After policy flip-flops over decades, here is a concrete sign of India getting its first bullet train. The Indian Railways

quietly formed a company called HSRC Ltd in July last to run its dream project, high-speed rail.

And if the buzz in Rail Bhawan is anything to go by, minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has more to announce on the subject when he

reads his first Rail Budget next month. Even before Indian policymakers made any formal announcement on this big-ticket

project, Japan's ambassador to India Takeshi Yagi recently said in Gujarat that India's first high-speed rail would run

between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.




China CNR tops global railway equipment manufacturers

China CNR Corporation Limited has climbed to first in global railway equipment manufacturing, according to the latest report

issued by German consulting company SCI Verkehr, an authority on the global rail industry.

The report listed the top ten global railway equipment manufacturers from 2011. China CNR occupies the first place with a

sales volume of 7 billion euros, followed by China CSR, Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens, the previous leading companies.

During the seven years from 2005 to 2011, China's railway equipment manufacturing companies, as represented by China CNR,

have almost quadrupled their revenue while Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens—the three giants—have only seen about 10 percent

increase, the report said.

China CNR has over half of China's market share with its advanced research and manufacturing technology and has successfully

entered the European and America with its innovation-driven production in 2012.

Today the global railway equipment market capacity has reached 143 billion euros with half of the market in after-sale

service. The average annual growth rate is 3.3 percent from 2011 to 2016. The top five giants in the report have occupied

over 50 percent of the global market share, but there's still more room to rise.






MTR Club Members get close-up look at MTR training facilities

Some 50 lucky MTR Club Members today (26 January 2013) experienced how a train
captain controls a train through peeking inside the cab simulator at the MTR Operations
Training Centre in Kowloon Bay Depot. They also saw how the Automatic Train
Protection System in the signalling system ensures safe and efficient train operations.
The visitors were also shown the simulated station environment where station operators
learn how to provide caring service to customers.
"I’ve never seen the inside of a train’s driving cab. This is really thrilling. It’s so much fun
pretending I’m a train captain!” said 4-year-old Phoebe Wan, one of the visitors.
The MTR Club Members had entered a lucky draw to be selected for the visit.
“This is an initiative under our Listening.Responding Programme to give MTR Club
Members a first-hand look behind-the-scenes to see the comprehensive facilities and
training for MTR staff to prepare them to provide a world class railway service for the
people of Hong Kong. We also hope the explanation of the train control and signaling
systems will give passengers better understanding of how MTR delivers an on-time
performance of 99.9%," said Ms Doris Chan, Senior Manager – Sales and Marketing of MTR
The $1 billion Listening.Responding Programme launched in March last year has brought
about many enhancements in areas where passengers have said they would like to see
more done. These include adding 62,000 extra train trips a year to relieve crowding and
reduce waiting, as well as installing more lifts, seating and toilets at stations. Passenger
feedback has been positive with many saying they have seen visible difference to make
their MTR journeys more convenient and comfortable.



Overnight Service on Lunar New Year’s Eve

To make it even more convenient for passengers to travel around town in the busy period
before the Lunar New Year, MTR will be operating an extra 756 train trips on four
consecutive weekends and on 8 February 2013, the Friday before Lunar New Year. The
extra services will begin this Saturday (19 January 2013).
“Enhancing train service for both regular days and special holidays has been an important
part of our Listening?Responding programme. And passengers have noticed the
difference. They have been telling us through different channels that they are spending
less time waiting for trains and find platforms less crowded. This is very encouraging,” said
Mr Jay Walder, Chief Executive Officer of MTR Corporation. “With the busy Lunar New Year
period approaching, we will once again enhance train service on weekends to help
passengers prepare for an abundant start to the year.”
During the period, extra services will be added on the Island Line on Saturdays so that
train frequency is maintained at 3 to 3.5 minutes for most of the day. On Sundays, Kwun
Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line and Island Line services will be enhanced to operate at 3 to 4
minute intervals. Trains will also run more frequently on the Friday immediately prior to
the Lunar New Year.
For the added convenience of members of the public who wish to stay out late to visit the
flower market on Lunar New Year's Eve (9 February 2013), trains will run overnight on all
MTR lines except Airport Express, Disneyland Resort Line and certain Light Rail routes.
Moreover, for the fireworks display over Victoria Harbour on the night of 11 February 2013,
train frequencies on the Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, Tseung Kwan O Line,
Tung Chung Line and West Rail Line will all be enhanced.
Details of the train service enhancements can be found in the Annex.







Listening Responding Programme Brings 231 Extra Seats to MTR Stations

The installation of 231 additional seats at MTR station platforms and along interchange passageways has been completed under the MTR Corporation's Listening Responding programme, bringing additional comfort and convenience to passengers travelling through MTR stations.
"The additional seating was installed in response to passenger views. Passengers have told us they find the platform seats very useful. If they are feeling tired or a little unwell, they have a convenient place to sit down and rest," said Mr Adi Lau, Chief of Operating of MTR Corporation.
Mr Lau added that if passengers feel unwell during their train journeys, they could alight at the next station and use the Help Lines located at platform to contact station staff for quick assistance. To offer greater assistance, 500 additional staff have been deployed at MTR stations over the last year.






The journey home begins for millions

The world's largest migration of humanity starts, report He Na and Jiang Xueqing.

Every year, at this time, millions of Chinese embark on the world's biggest travel rush - the trek home.

With joy, or possibly frustration after toiling for the past year, a huge proportion of the population will set out on a

journey of reunion for the country's most important holiday - Spring Festival.

Possibly as many as a billion people will shuttle between the cities where they live and work and their hometowns for the holiday.

To ensure the smooth running of the world's largest annual migration, extra travel services are being organized from Jan 26 until March 6. A record 3.41 billion trips are expected to be made.

In addition to the railway system, which will bear the brunt of the pressure, airlines, road and shipping networks have all geared up to meet the surge in passenger numbers.

The rail network is expected to handle 225 million trips, while long-distance buses will transport up to 3.1 billion

passengers. The combined figure accounts for 99 percent of China's rail and bus capacity, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Some 35.5 million journeys will be made by air during the festival's peak, a rise of 4.9 percent from the same period last year.

Obviously, such a huge number of travelers will stretch the country's transport network to its limits and pose challenges for each part of the system.

While some will enjoy the luxury of air travel, for many millions more the journey means being stuck in overcrowded train carriages for long, boring journeys that will take many hours.

China Daily asked five people, representative of different groups in society, to share their stories of the journey home.


The student

Each Spring Festival since 2011, Lin Tongfei, a 23-year-old graduate student at the School of Journalism and Communication at Renmin University of China, has undertaken the long haul back to his hometown in Pingtan county, Fuzhou city.

Only three trains a day make the journey from Beijing to Fuzhou, the capital of East China's Fujian province.

Train No Z59 leaves Beijing West Railway Station at 3:08 pm and arrives at 10:50 am the following day. Although the journey lasts a grueling 19 hours and 42 minutes non-stop, the train is usually on schedule. A ticket for a hard-sleeper bed costs 436 to 466 yuan ($70-75) for an adult and around 300 yuan for a student.

Train No K45 is much slower, taking more than 34 hours to travel between the cities. Train No D365 only takes 15 hours and 10 minutes. It leaves Beijing at 7:35 am and arrives in Fuzhou at 10:45 pm, but the tickets are more expensive. A second-class soft seat costs 673 yuan.

"D365 is not a good choice for me, given the ticket price and schedule," said Lin. "It arrives at Fuzhou late in the evening,

but my home is still a two-and-a-half hour drive away. If I take that train, I have to stay overnight at a relative's home in Fuzhou and then I have to take a bus before 6 am in the winter chill."

Lin was desperate to book a ticket for a hard-sleeper bed on Z59 because the schedule is passenger-friendly and the ticket is affordable. He can sleep on the train and arrive home in the afternoon of the following day.

The pre-sales window opened 20 days before his scheduled departure date of Jan 25, so Lin rose before 8 am and logged on to, the only official online ticket-purchasing platform operated by China's Ministry of Railways. The website told

him tickets were still available, but every time he submitted an order, he received a failure notice, which either informed him that tickets were sold out or that too many people were waiting in front of him.

For three consecutive days, he and a friend attempted to buy a ticket on the website, spending at least 90 minutes online every morning. Their efforts came to nothing. Eventually they gave up. In the end, he got a hard-seat ticket for Z59 through the help of his university.

"The train ticket-purchasing platform is not transparent," he said. "People have no idea whether the tickets are sold out or not. Sometimes, I find dozens of tickets are still available on the website, but when I file an order, the tickets are suddenly down to zero. Often, you will find people buying sleeper-bed tickets after they have boarded the train, even though the website has said the tickets are sold out."

Moreover, not everyone has access to the Internet, which makes it difficult for migrant workers and elderly people, who are not keen on new technologies, to buy tickets online, he added.

The executive

Dong Yanyun, vice-president of marketing at a French Internet company, plans to take a flight home on Spring Festival Eve.

She works in Beijing, but her parents live in Ma'anshan in East China's Anhui province.

"I didn't go home for two consecutive years and I'm afraid my parents will scold me to death if I don't return this year,"

she said, adding that she will give her parents 50,000 yuan ($8,000) in a red envelope to make them happy, because she does not see them often.

Dong traveled to Hong Kong during Spring Festival last year and the Philippines in 2011, rather than sticking to the holiday tradition of a family reunion. Because she wasn't going home, Dong's parents visited her grandparents in Anqing, Anhui province.

"I think there are many other ways to celebrate Spring Festival. It's really unnecessary for such a huge proportion of the population to take the trouble of going home during this one holiday," she said.

"First of all, it's a waste of resources for the entire nation to migrate at the same time and it puts a lot of pressure on the transport network. Second, for many people, Spring Festival means visiting lots of relatives who will ask the same old

questions such as 'when are you getting married' and whether you have any plans for a baby. People of my age are really fed up with this sort of conversation," said the 31-year-old executive.

The last time she went home, she was working in Shanghai. The trip was more convenient because Shanghai is much closer to Ma'anshan than Beijing. She spent more than two hours on a high-speed train from Shanghai to Nanjing, Jiangsu province and then had a 40-minute cab ride home.

She prefers going home on other holidays or during her paid leave. However, she only stays for a couple of days, mainly because her hometown - like many small and medium-sized Chinese cities - has little in the way of entertainment other than karaoke, mahjong and spa centers.

"My lifestyle and daily routines are usually disrupted when I return home for the Spring Festival week," she said. "I have nothing to do but eat like crazy and my parents treat me like a little girl. But when I'm here in Beijing, my schedule is always full. I can go to bars and nightclubs with my friends in the evening, and go skiing or climb mountains on the weekend."

She had considered taking her parents to Southeast Asia during this year's holiday, but found the cost of traveling was at least two or three times higher than usual, so the family has decided to make the trip at another time when prices are more reasonable.

The car owner

 While most people are fretting about getting a ticket to head home for the Spring Festival, Sun Xuemei, a 32-year-old landscape designer at a real estate company in Beijing, is extremely calm.

Although the annoying experience of being trapped in a seemingly endless queue of vehicles on the expressway during the National Day holiday in October remains clearly etched in her mind, she has still decided to drive back home.

"It will be the sixth year that we have driven back to Jilin city (in Northeast China's Jilin province). I can give a long

list of pros for driving back, such as not having to worry about hard-to-get train tickets or expensive air tickets. More important, the departure time is very flexible and it will be convenient to have the car with us during the stay in my hometown," she said.

"Both my husband and I drive, so we can alternate shifts at the wheel every one or two hours during the eight-hour journey.

Safety is our top concern. We only drove back once with just two of us. And most of the time friends or relatives who are also qualified drivers travel with us. On the one hand, it makes our trip more fun and on the other, it lowers the cost. We often take turns to tell jokes and play games to kill time. We also stop at every service station for a few minutes to rest," she said.

"Last year, the round trip cost us about 2,000 yuan, which included toll fees and petrol. There were four in the car, so it worked out at 500 yuan per person for the round trip, which is a cheaper than one ticket for a hard-sleeper train.

"Northern China often has heavy snow during Spring Festival, but we are very lucky that we have never become stuck on our way back to Jilin. We hope that good luck will continue this year," said Sun.

Generally, the fear of becoming trapped in heavy snow means that few people choose to drive back to the northeast. So even during the Spring Festival period, the expressway is still relatively empty. But this year, they will be toll-free during the holiday period so it's hard to judge whether people will take advantage of that and drive home, she said.

"To avoid the traffic, we often leave early in the morning. When we arrive at my parents' house, we're usually just in time for dinner. My parents never know what time we will arrive until we are knocking at the door and so if I tell them the day, they will worry until we arrive safe and sound. I hope my parents can come to Beijing to join us for Spring Festival next year. I've worked in Beijing for eight years, but still I don't know what New Year's Eve looks like here," she said.

The office worker



Work assignments often mean that 26-year-old Li Jibing works during China's main holidays.

However, as compensation, the marketing officer at the Education Affairs Division of the China Educational Service Center in Beijing is allowed to take days off in lieu.

But, unlike many colleagues who take time off in the week following the holidays, Li chooses to save them up and extends his Spring Festival celebrations.

The national Spring Festival holiday lasts seven days. That affords plenty of time for people whose hometowns are within relatively easy reach of Beijing, but for Li, who usually has to spend four or five days on the round trip by rail between the capital and his hometown, it's far from long enough.

His hometown is Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, but only two trains a day travel there from Beijing. One takes around 35 hours and the other 40.

"People joke that the chances of getting tickets for either of the two trains are equal to the odds of winning the lottery," he said.

Because of the high demand, the railway authorities arrange extra trains to relieve the ticket shortage. "These temporary trains have to make way for regular scheduled trains. I once took an 'extra' train back and it took about 70 hours. I left Beijing two days before New Year's Eve, but didn't arrive until the second day of the Lunar New Year," he said.

"I really need to buy a lottery ticket to celebrate my good luck, because I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the hard-sleeper."

But 40 hours is still a long journey. He said he plans to take a host of gadgets with full batteries on the journey to kill time.

"I only started working two years ago and my current salary is about 4,000 yuan a month. Even if I'm thrifty, I can still only save a few hundred yuan per month after paying for rent, food and transport. Although the journey only takes four hours by air, 2,500 yuan for a one-way ticket is too much of a luxury for me. Even the 575 yuan sleeper ticket is a little expensive," he said.

Li goes home once a year and generally stays about two weeks. He considers the days at home with his parents the happiest time of the year.

"Every year I look forward to the arrival of Spring Festival because I can go home and see my parents. But traveling is really a big headache. The ticket back home is in my hand now, but getting a ticket back to the capital will be another severe battle," he said.

"There are too few trains to Xinjiang and I hope the railway authorities will construct more lines or arrange extra trains to provide us with more choices to reunite with family members."

The migrant worker

 Although Yang Zhencai is the father of two daughters at elementary school, he was just like a little boy and far too excited to fall asleep the night before he traveled to join his family in a village in Shanxi province.

Yang hadn't been home for a year. His train from Beijing to Linfen was scheduled to depart at 5 pm on Jan 25, but Yang and another colleague who comes from the same village arrived at the railway station at 10 am.

"Compared with sitting in the construction dormitory and killing time, I would rather sit at the railway station square and watch people going back and forth," said the 32-year-old construction worker.

They sat on their luggage, mainly clothes and quilts, and each had a sesame pancake for lunch.

Yang's journey home lasts roughly the whole day - 15 hours on a train, more than 4 hours on a long-distance bus. Then, an hour shaking along rutted tracks on a county bus is followed by a 20-minute motorbike ride to the front door.

Hoping to save money, Yang bought a regular rail ticket, rather than splashing out on a sleeper.

"The carriage is always very crowded, and sometimes it's hard to reach the toilet. So I plan to buy gifts for my parents and daughters when I arrive in our county," he said.

As the family's only breadwinner, he had transferred almost all of his money back home, except for a few hundred yuan for basic living costs. His budget for Spring Festival is his previous month's salary of about 4,000 yuan.

Even though he's only 32, people often mistake him as being in his early 40s.

"I began to work at a construction site when I was just 17. Now, I often regret that I gave up my studies so early. I won't let my daughters repeat my mistake. As long as they want to study, I will try my best to pay for them," Yang said.

He was happy that he managed to buy a ticket after queuing for just five minutes. "I queued for an entire night last year to get the same ticket. It's much better than before," said Yang.

He has been working in Beijing for six years, but every year he makes the round trip home on a regular ticket. "To tell the truth, I've never even been inside the sleeper carriage. The ticket is far more expensive than a ticket for a seat. I would rather save the money to buy clothes for my daughters," he said.

Yang plans to stay at home for about a month. "I really want to stay longer, but the whole family needs my money to live, so I have to go back to Beijing to earn more," he said.

"My biggest hope is that I can find a job nearer home where I can earn almost the same salary as in Beijing. My daughters are getting older and the family needs a man at home," he said.

Han Junhong contributed to this story.






CSR's permanent magnetic metro vehicles cover over 10,000km safe

Good news has come recently from Shenyang that metro vehicles carrying CSR''s permanent magnetic synchronous traction systems on Shenyang Subway Line 2 have covered over 10,000 kilometers, transporting over 500,000 passengers safe and sound, achieving a new breakthrough in the passenger transport of such metro vehicles.

According to an expert of the CSR Zhuzhou Institute Co., Ltd. CSR ZELRI, compared with traditional asynchronous traction motor, permanent magnetic synchronous traction motor enjoys advantages such as stable revolution, high efficiency, small size, light weight, low noise and high reliability, saving energy by over ten percent. Traction electric transmission system is the “heart” of electromechanical energy conversion in rail transit equipment, which determines the dynamic quality, energy consumption and control property of rail vehicles to some extent and is a key part of energy conservation and upgrading of rail vehicles.

With high power density and size restriction, the 600kW permanent magnetic synchronous traction motor developed by CSR ZELRI is the most powerful and first of its kind for high-speed EMUs in the domestic rail transit field, which plays a domestic leading role in overall technical level and enjoy broad market prospect.

CSR ZELRI embarked upon the basic research on permanent magnetic synchronous traction system as early as in 2003, established a research team, overcame difficulties such as system matching, low frequency of inverter switch and high intermediate circuit, as well as technical problems of ventilation and cooling structure, motor lightweight design and large-power permanent magnetic motor manufacturing, and accomplished technical transformation with professional manufacturing capacity and advanced test level, thus becoming one of the models in the industrialization of high-tech achievements. Now, the company is going all out for market breakthrough, and will further deepen the development of the urban rail transit market and constantly push forward the industrialization of the company''s permanent synchronous traction system.





CYR Yang Weidong Skill Master Studio becomes national studio

According to sources from the Finance Department and the Department of Human Resources and Social Security of Hunan Province, Yang Weidong Skill Master Studio, Zhuzhou Branch, CSR Yangtze Co., Ltd. has recently been listed among national skill master studios and awarded a subsidy of 100,000 yuan. The good news has come after CSR awarded the plaque of "Yang Weidong Skill Expert Studio" in August 2012 and the studio was honored as a provincial skill master studio in September 2012.

Over the two years since its establishment, the studio led by Hunan''s skill master Yang Weidong has given full play to the role of its team to train over 3,000 welders and over 1,000 riveters. Over the period, the studio has cultivated two technical masters of central enterprises, a technical master in Zhuzhou, 18 senior technicians and 42 technicians, laying a solid foundation for corporate growth. 








CSR's urban rail vehicle market inventory & contract amount exceed half

In 2012, CSR yielded bumper fruits in the urban rail vehicle market, with an annual contract amount of 13 billion yuan, enjoying an overwhelming lead over its key opponents. According to statistics, by late 2012, CSR had won domestic bids for over 9,700 metro vehicles and delivered 6,550 units, accounting for 55 percent and 51 percent respectively. Thus, its contract amount and market inventory of urban rail vehicles were both more than half.

Bumper fruits in domestic and overseas markets

CSR''s urban rail vehicles have not yielded bumper fruits at home, but also gained great popularity abroad. Among the contract amount of 13 billion yuan in 2012, overseas markets contributed 5.4 billion yuan or 42 percent.

At home, CSR won 11 of 18 bids from 12 cities in 2012, accounting for 49 percent by contract amount, six percent ahead of its closest opponent. Abroad, CSR won an Ankara metro vehicle order from Turkey, an "Ampang Line" metro vehicle order from Malaysia and two urban rail vehicle orders from Singapore. Notably, the company has recently won an urban rail vehicle order worth over 3.4 billion yuan from Argentina, marking a good beginning in 2013.

The great popularity of CSR''s rail transit products is attributable to their high reliability and good reputation. Previously, CSR''s rail transit products operated in Singapore, Turkey and Malaysia, Singapore purchased metro vehicles and metro engineering maintenance vehicles from CSR, CSR''s urban rail vehicles in Izmir, Turkey set a record of ramp rescue, CSR supplied intercity EMUs to Kula Lumpur and established a local warranty center, initiating the business mode of "manufacturing + service" in the domestic industry. It is the high reliability and good reputation of CSR''s products that has laid a solid foundation for CSR''s future orders.

Major breakthrough in urban rail industry chain

In 2012, besides domestic and overseas metro vehicle orders worth 13 billion yuan, CSR also got 2.3 billion yuan worth of orders for traction systems and braking systems for urban rail vehicles, winning 8 of 11 domestic bids and enjoying a market share of 72.7 percent. CSR is the only domestic enterprise that independently obtained bid qualifications and won orders. 

On Changsha Subway Line 2, CSR has also accomplished the integration of key technologies of traction, signal and braking systems, and built a complete industry chain, thus becoming a systematic solution supplier with the most complete spectrum of urban rail and metro products and the strongest capacity for R & D and manufacturing in the country. 

In new product development, CSR developed new products including medium & low-speed maglev train, energy-storing light rail train and 100% low-floor tramcars last year. CSR overcame difficulties such as super capacitor monometer technology and energy-storing power integration technology, and launched the prototype of the energy-storing electric-traction light rail vehicle, thus becoming the world''s first enterprise that used super-capacitor energy-storing device as traction power source on light rail vehicles.

Bright outlook of light rail market 

So far, subway line projects in 34 domestic cities have been examined and approved by the National Development and Reform Commission NDRC, 24 cities have initiated bids for metro vehicles and 62 lines in 15 cities have been open to traffic. According to the Plan for Urban Rail Transit Development in China 2012-2013 formulated by the Integrated Transport Research Institute, NDRC, an investment of 280 billion to 290 billion yuan in urban rail transit is expected to be completed in 2013. According to statistics, the country''s total investment in planned urban transport will be up to 1.2 trillion yuan by 2015, and 93 subway lines with a total mileage of 2,700 kilometers will be built up.

CSR enjoys prominent competitive advantages in the urban rail market. In the first place, with the greatest technical strength and the most complete industry chain, CSR has accomplished the integration of key technologies of traction, signal and braking systems; in the second place, with stable and reliable products, CSR holds a large market share. Among the 24 cities where bids have been held, CSR''s urban rail vehicles have penetrated into 18 cities and exclusively into 11 cities. Whether in the market inventory of existing urban rail products or in contract amount, CSR has occupied more than half of the market. CSR''s products enjoy great popularity among customers, laying a solid foundation for the further development of the urban rail vehicle market.






CSR won over 3.4 billion yuan order

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has recently announced that CSR Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. CSR Sifang won an EMU purchase contract worth over 3.4 billion yuan, marking the largest-ever rail transit equipment order of Chinese enterprises in South America. CSR President Liu Hualong headed for Argentina to witness the contract signing.

These vehicles will operate on Sarmiento and Mitre lines in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, according to sources. The first vehicle will and delivered in May 2014 and the rest will be delivered within six months. The project marks the largest-ever procurement project of the Argentine government, Cristina said at the press conference for the project, adding only Chinese manufacturers can complete the project delivery within the specified time.

Argentina launched rail transit passenger service earliest in South America and built its first railway as early as in 1857. The capital Buenos Aires owns six urban rail lines. With a full length of some 38 kilometers, Sarmiento line serves ten areas from downtown Buenos Aires to its surrounding suburbs. With a full length of some 34 kilometers, Mitre line links Buenos Aires's business districts. Due to the obsolescence of the vehicles running on the two lines, locals expected much of the new vehicles.

According to a technologist of CSR Sifang, the EMUs involved in the contract have a maximum operating speed of 100km/h and a maximum capacity of 310 passengers per carriage, use 1,676mm broad-gauge bogies and highlight safety, comfort, energy conservation and environmental protection. Each EMU for Sarmiento line has nine carriages and each for Mitre line has six carriages.

CSR's overseas markets have burgeoned in recent years, with its total contract amount from overseas markets in 2012 up 148 percent from the previous year. CSR inked a deal with Hong Kong for 300km/h high-speed EMUs, and signed a locomotive contract with South Africa, a contract with Turkey for Ankara metro, a metro contract with Singapore and a contract with Malaysia for “Ampang Line” light rail. Of these projects, South Africa locomotive project marks the first-ever export of Chinese locomotives to Africa.





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