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Fengtai: The Phoenix of Beijing

woman leaving on holiday

Hello again and, as always a warm welcome to Aim2D for Thursday 23rd December. This week, whilst still looking at transportation in China, we are coming back down to earth a bit, and a little more local with our photo gallery. Today we end our current trilogy with a look at local railway stations.

Over the last two Thursdays past we have looked at international train travel with the China Laos railway extension

as well as taking a quick tour of the new X Sheen Bao’an International Airport’s new, fancy satellite extension hall;

Today we are back in Beijing, the south west. Fengtai district to be precise which incidentally used to be one of the early residential locals of the Bic shortly after arriving here in 2001. Not to mention the birthplace of WPBeijing, the grandmother of Aim2d.

Back then, Fengtai was a little remote, it had a nice, warm, feel to it, sort of a halfway ‘teen city and rural life style. Much of the early, traditional Chinese lifestyle, architecture and culture still flourished there. Side walk shops with wares strung outside, local street food cooked in braziers as you waited. Almost like being back a few centuries in many ways. Peaceful quiet, relaxed. Worlds away from the cutthroat, busy, bustling thronging crowds and concrete jungle of central and commercial Beijing.

However, with one meandering bus service a journey to the CBD in the morning and night could take the best part of an hour- and then some depending on traffic. In the summer the busses were hot and stuffy. In winder freezing cold. All season they were crowed, standing room -if you were lucky – only. One could use the subway, but for CBD workers it was a non starter as the nearest station was maybe just a few moments from their destination. Back then Beijing boasted 2 subway lines; Line one and Line two! Although early 2002, line 13 or city rail was close to opening.

My how Beijing has changed!

Circa 2008 Beijing, concerned about the mass migration of suburban and rural dwellers in to the city began a project to expand and modify Beijing’s satellites suburbs. Billions were invested in transport upgrades, new wider faster roads, subways and bus routes. Sadly though, the moderation saw many of the old hutong style homes and Soviet era 6 or 7 level building razed. Replaced by magnificent, multi story office blocks, shopping centres and residential complexes. Very nice. if you liked that sort of thing. Certainly Fengtai is now a very different place to that the Bic knew. of course, modernisation has bestowed on Fengtai many advantages, comforts and conveniences. But at the same time, it has lost something. That is, as they say, the price of progress.

One of, if not the very last standing examples of traditional Fengtai and Beijing was the railway station. It reeked of character, and coal smoke, but was admittedly a cold, old, drafty place with precious little sun and even less heating.

So it is today we pay respects to the old Fengtai railways Station while taking a look a at the new incarnation- again, courtesy of Caixin Global. This is our last post – errr publication – for the year. If you are celebrating any form of festival at this time, do take care, especially if driving. We want to talk with you in 2022, not about you.

Gallery: Beijing’s Rebuilt Fengtai Railway Station

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