Beijing Fengtai: Asia’s largest train station reopens after massive transformation

(CNN) – The oldest train station in Beijing has undergone a transformation in the 21st century.

Fengtai Railway Station, built in 1895, completed a multi-year renovation and reopened on June 20, 2022.

The reimagined station – billed as the largest in Asia – has 32 train platforms, as well as departure lounges, restaurants and other facilities spread over an area of ​​400,000 square metres. At its peak, the station will be able to host 14,000 passengers per hour on a mix of express and regular trains as well as subway lines.

“The design of the dual yards – with bullet trains running on top of normal speed trains running on the ground – saves a lot of space,” Ma Hui, the construction project’s chief engineer, told the state-run China Daily newspaper.

He added, “The unique design has changed the look of a traditional railway station. It is an innovative way of arranging the functions of a railway station.”

One such unique feature is a rooftop photovoltaic power plant, which generates energy for the building.

The original Fengtai station closed in 2010.

The original Fengtai station closed in 2010.

Zhang Chenlin / Xinhua / ZUMA Press

Although China remains closed to most international tourists, Fengtai already serves train routes from the capital to Shanghai, Guangzhou and other hubs. A link from Fengtai to Kowloon Station in Hong Kong on deck when the city reopens its border with the mainland.

Making train travel faster is a huge project in the world’s most populous country.

As of 2020, 75% of Chinese cities with a population of 500,000 or more had high-speed rail ink. The goal is to have 70,000 kilometers (44,000 miles) of high-speed rail covering the country by 2035.

And it’s not just about connecting the regions of China.

As a key component of the country’s global Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, railways are a way for China to establish closer ties with other neighboring countries.

A 620-mile railway linking Laos with southern China’s Yunnan Province opened in October 2021.
China is also keen to set records in its infrastructure projects. The world’s deepest railway station, the Badaling Great Wall Station on the outskirts of the Chinese capital, has emerged ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Ben Jones contributed reporting.

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