China’s First Standard Gauge Railway

Standing a few blocks east of Tiananmen Square, Beijing Railway Station is one of the Ten Great Buildings constructed in 1959 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China.

In 2019, at the tail end of the Lunar New Year, entering this faux-Ming eulogy to so­cial­­ist liberation proved almost as challenging as getting into the Forbidden City during the actual Ming dynasty would have been.

Our IDs were checked every 100 yards or so by security person­nel managing New Year human traffic.

Once inside, railway enthusiast Wang Wei and I attempted to warm up in the main hall of the station while admiring murals of communist grandeur and their contemporary equivalent: a big screen playing videos of trains racing through dazzling landscapes.

Read on here.