The Many Train Stations of the 'Jing

I've spent entirely too much time on trains over the last few months and so I've come to know some of the train stations and routes fairly intimately. On my last trip, as the train got closer to the station, it came through a sparkling, modern building that is a total maze of scaffolding. Having seen it before, I had no idea what it was, no way was it something for Olympic prep, all the way in Yongdingmen, but what else could it be? On that occasion, I was able to see signs announcing that it would be the new Beijing South Station, Asia's largest train station, when it opens in August.

I'd been through the over 100 years old South Station a few times when it did the Beijing-Zhengzhou route, but that's back in the day of green trains, which are now almost completely gone. I didn't realize that the old South Station was blown up a few years back, replaced by the behemoth new station. Pretty strange to think that the old dump, not much more than some long-distance bus stations, served the capital for so many years. The new station that replaces it looks to be a modern marvel that is sure to make a difference, relieving some of the pressure off of Beijing's West Station and, of course, the main station.

Of course, there is also the North station at Xizhimen, though there doesn't seem to be many trains leaving from there, it always was a convenient spot for me to buy tickets due to its proximity to my old apartment. Also, there is an East Station, dating back to the 1930s in Chaoyang District, though it gets little use nowadays and will probably be replaced by a newer station at Tongzhou.

For those into train station history, you can also check out the old main Beijing Station, easily spotted east of Qianmen by the star on top of the roof which is now filled with shops and restaurants.

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