Workers at the heart of China's railway operations honored

Updated: Apr 25, 2023 China Daily Global Print
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A high-speed train depot on the railway between Shanghai and Nanjing. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/]

For over 20 years, Huang Tao has worked as a "railway doctor," walking over 35,000 kilometers along the tracks detecting flaws with the rails.

Huang is a railway worker detecting flaws in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Huang's job is to check the rails within his section each month. "We always need to work extra hours during the Spring Festival holiday travel rush, but it's worth it to make sure the trains run smoothly," he says.

This year, Huang was honored as one of the most outstanding representatives among more than 3 million officials and employees in the railway sector.

Aside from detecting the rail flaws, Huang has continually sought out innovation throughout his career. He has completed 23 technological innovation and invention projects, of which eight achievements have obtained national utility model patents.

Another outstanding railway worker is Lyu Pan, a train conductor who has dedicated herself to providing better train services for passengers traveling between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, the co-host cities of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

During the Games, Lyu came up with over a dozen exclusive service measures, such as the introduction of intelligent train facilities and special cribs for infants, and repeatedly rehearsed to make sure that all services, such as snow equipment storage and wheelchair placement, were delivered perfectly.

"My colleagues and I will continue to explore warmer, more targeted and people-oriented services," Lyu says.

Huang, Lyu and other model railway workers have been pursuing the high workmanship standard through their skills and down-to-earth attitude in a sector that has seen remarkable changes over the past decade, a period marked by fast growth and safe operation.

From 2012 to 2022, China's railway expanded in length from 98,000 km to 155,000 km, with high-speed railways increasing from 9,000 km to 42,000 km, a world record, according to the National Railway Administration.

By the end of last year, 81.6 percent of China's counties had access to railways, while high-speed trains reached 94.9 percent of cities with a population of more than 500,000.

"The past decade has witnessed the upgrading of trains to the new generation of intelligent high-speed models," Lyu says, adding that the service equipment has become more user-friendly and intelligent, with the comprehensive abilities of the crew constantly improving.

Huang also has appreciation for the railway's development over the past decade. "Take Ningxia as an example, in the space of three years, the Yinchuan-Xi'an and Yinchuan-Lanzhou high-speed railways have been put into operation, narrowing the distance between the cities and making transport more convenient for people," he says.

Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng says China has been promoting the high-quality development of its transport sector, deepening the country's green and low-carbon transformation, and improving its business environment.

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