ah, excellent

July 24th, 2008

新京报/The Beijing News’ Li Liqiang reports that the new Beijing – Yanqing trains will start running in early August.


Suburban rail from city to Yanqing to open next month


Yesterday this reporter learnt from the Transport Bureau that the first suburban railway linking the Beijing city area with Yanqing, the S2 Line, will open in early August. There will be 10 trains per day and seven stations along the line. At present ticket prices have yet to be settled, but they are predicted to be roughly similar to railway soft seat tickets.

Alright, so perhaps “suburban railway” isn’t the most accurate rendering of “城市铁路”, but to my mind it makes more sense than “urban-” or “city railway”. And “will open in early August” for “将于8月初通车”? Ah well, 差不多.


The S2 Line is over 80 kilometres long, starting at Beijing North Station and passing through stops at Qinghuayuan, Qinghe, Shahe, Changping and Badaling, with its terminus at Yanqing Station. This reporter learnt from the constructors that after S2 Line opens, it will take 1 hour 20 minutes to get from Beijing North Station to Yanqing Station, saving nearly half the time taken by the original green liveried trains, and at the same time it will relieve traffic pressure on the Badaling Expressway.


 All trains on the S2 Line will be train sets with power cars, with each train having seven carriages, and the seats divided into first and second classes. According to the train captain, the seats on S2 Line trains can all be rotated 180°, allowing passengers to adjust their seats when the train starts, reducing motion sickness.

Wow. Just what the hell is meant by “S2线全部为动车组列车”? I find myself bamboozled by railway-speak, and no resource at my disposal is helping me. I’m not too sure about those rotating seats, either. Help is most definitely appreciated here. Thanks to the Ji Village News for this comment that, although doesn’t entirely clear up the confusion, alerted me to a major, major assumption that had led me drastically astray.


Unlike trains pulled by electric locomotives currently running on the main railway line, S2 Line locomotives will be powered by a new model of internal combustion engine, adding to the comfort.


 It is understood that according to plans, Beijing will build 6 suburban railways by 2020, running to Mentougou, Yanqing, Miyun, Fangshan and Chengde.

 Alright, I don’t buy that “comfort” claim. Doesn’t matter how good your new internal combustion engine may be, it’s still pumping pollution into the Juyongguan and Badaling valleys and the Yanqing basin, which electric locomotives don’t do.

And that last sentence has me wondering: Is Beijing planning to annex Chengde as well? No, obviously that one’s about expanding tourism, too.

Well, this is very good news for Yanqing and the vast hordes of tourists who visit Badaling (really, people, there’s far more to the Great Wall than Badaling. If you have your eyes open and separated from your guide book, you’ll notice the Juyongguan and Shuiguan sections as you sit in the traffic jam on the Badaling Expressway slowly crawling out to tourist hell. If you put your guidebook to good use, you’ll notice the Great Wall runs all the way from Shanhaiguan to Jiayuguan, providing you with many, many places to see the wall without having to jostle through vast hordes of your fellow tourists). But, assuming the traffic jam that has become almost permanent on the Badaling Expressparkinglot lifts (I remember reading somewhere that repairs to two bridges on the G110 in Changping have added to the traffic pressure on the Expressway, and that those repairs are due to end soon), I don’t see how it’ll benefit lzh and I. The 919 from Deshengmen, when there’s no ridiculous traffic jam on the expressway, takes about an hour twenty, and is marginally closer to us than Beijing North Station. Still, if the trafficjam doesn’t lift and ticket prices are reasonable, it will suddenly look very attractive. I do see this as being a huge advantage for those living in Haidian, though, as it is closer to them. And hey, it’s a short hop from Wudaokou down to Xizhimen on the Line 13 then an easy stroll round to the North Station. Anyways, I’m looking forward to more news on this new train.

2 Responses to “ah, excellent”

  1. Ji Village News Says:

    Could “commuter train/rail” be a better rending of 城市铁路? Here in the Chicago area, that is how it is called. And I see more people taking it, now that gasoline is more expensive.

    动车, as I understand it from following news in Chinese, is a car that has its own power supply and engine. In fact, I think a lot of the recent rail speed increase is attributed to the usage of 动车. I honestly don’t know the proper English word for it.

  2. wangbo Says:

    “Commuter train” is a good suggestion, and the train does make commuting even from as far away as Yanqing county town a lot more plausible. Dammit, there goes any hope we may have entertained of one day being able to buy a flat in Yanqing! But only 10 trains per day?

    As for 动车, I thoroughly screwed that one up. I guess I assumed it was ‘locomotive’ and looked in my “Longman Chinese-English Visual Dictionary of Chinese Culture” (which has surprisingly little ‘culture’, but is very useful for technical terms) for confirmation. Seems my assumption got in the way of reading the dictionary properly, because I look back there now and see “机车”! Back to Square One.