There is an old Chinese proverb that it’s better to travel 10,000 miles than read 10,000 books – perhaps not on the trains like this though!
Dubbed “Lv Pi Che” or “green-skinned” train for the colour of their exterior paint, these crowded, noisy antiques were steam-driven, rarely topped 40 km per hour and could take days to reach their destination.
This is an electric train with air conditioning and softer seats, and the services on board have also improved.
These trains were still very crowded, filled with business people, migrant workers and students travelling to the big cities – all with hope in their eyes, and the confident expectation of a bright future.
This is China Railway High-speed, known as CRH or HéxiéHào, which literally means harmony.
In less than three hours, you can complete a journey that would have taken a full day on a green-skinned train's yesteryear.
From 1864, when a British merchant built the first railway in China a 500-meter-long demonstration project in Beijing - to the present day, we can see that the growth of the country has been mirrored in the development of its railways: from poverty to abundance, slow to fast, weak to strong.