The Fast Train to Beijing

When the rest of the world slumped into recession, China dropped a few trillion RMB on stimulus. NBD.

Part of that stimulus went into a huge infrastructure project that made the high-speed train I take possible.*

In the next six hours, it'll convey me across 1,300km of high speed rail to Beijing.

I'm not sure what's more mind blowing, the scale of the project or the fact that it was completed in just two years.

309km/h across the country


I'm in one of five business class seats in the last car of the train. It faces backwards so I get to watch everything zip away at breakneck pace.

It's amazing that at this speed I feel nothing. I might as well be sitting in an office or in my room, sleeping in my own bed in a building built on solid ground.

But I keep my eyes open for most of the ride. The scenery changes rapidly in a short amount of time at this speed and I'm curious to see what China looks like in the countryside.

Cruising speed.

Hangzhou's rural outskirts.

A large temple.

Pulling into Nanjing station.

For lunch: rice, beef curry, broccoli, and steamed tofu.

A bleak landscape.

It was gloomy out for most of the ride. Maybe it's air pollution, weather, or a combination of both those things.

Halfway through my journey it begins to snow, slowing my journey considerably. My arrival at Beijing is delayed by an hour as we bring our speed down to 200km/h over track layered with snow.

I step out for some air at Bengbu Station. It's cold and the snow's started falling.

The skies eventually clear late afternoon, but the haze or smog remains giving the last stretch of the route a nice post-apocalyptic look.

At Cangzhou Station, 200km away from Beijing.

A power plant near Beijing.

Beijing.