Faces at Kunmingnan Railway Station during Chunyun
With Spring Festival (the Chinese Lunar New Year) around the corner, Chunyun, or the Spring Festival travel rush, began on February 1. The massive migration will last 40 days during which 2.98 billion trips are expected to be made nationwide. Among them, 390 million are train trips.
For Chinese people, Spring Festival means yearly family reunions as they mostly work in various places of the country. As rails connect homes, workplaces and tour destinations, railway station is where stories take place.
Well, let us get to know some typical faces at Kunmingnan Railway Station on February 6, as well as the stories behind them.
Mr. Wang and his brother: Passengers to reach home within two hours
Mr. Wang came to the station with his brother at dawn that day. They planned to take the G2934 high-speed rail train from Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province to Tongren, a city in Yunnan’s neighboring Guizhou Province.
“We’re from Guizhou and work as railway builders in Yunnan. We are going home to celebrate the Spring Festival. I miss my grandson, and he must be taller now,” Wang said, wearing a contented smile. He bought gifts and specialties for his families.
Wang added he had been away for a year, and all he wants is having a nice Spring Festival instead of making money. Thanks to the high-speed railway, their journey is shortened to two hours from previous eight hours. If everything goes well, they’ll have dinner at home in the same day.
Wang Nan and Li Mengmei: Ticketing staff working up to 18 hours per day
The ticket office is one of the busiest places in the Kunming rail station. Ticketing staff members have to come to their working places before 6 am and they will be working until 23:20. Totally they serve the passengers for about 18 hours.
"Usually, our daily workload is around eight hours, but as it is in Chunyun, we are working overtime,” Said Wang Nan, a ticketing staff. She would feel it a big pity if any passenger failed to buy a ticket to go home. She said they will try different ways to find transfer tickets or more indirect train options if the through-train tickets are sold out.
90 ticket-vending machines in the station are also working overtime. Replenishing tickets for vending machines is the job of Li Mengmei. “During peaks of passengers flow, we need to lug two cases to pour tickets into the machines, and each case can contain as many as 33,000 tickets. And with the help of two other males, we can carry them upstairs.”
Huang Rong: Only 7.5 seconds needed for each security check
Huag Rong, 25, is doing security checker at the west entrance of Kunmingnan Railway Station. She begins to work at 03:30 in the morning and finishes until 11:00 in the evening.
As staff members in the security section, they have to bend over 1,000 times in 30 minutes although they take half-hour turns to check. She believes the job is very important. Every time when passengers get annoyed, she will explain with patience.
She has been working in security section for four years, representing a four-year absent from her Spring Festival family reunion.
Xuan Haijuan: Solving a ticket-loss within three minutes
“As it is in Chunyun period, the number of passenger is increasing rapidly. Relying only on automatic ticket gates are far from enough, so we improve efficiency via manual ticket checking,” said Xuan Haijuan, a ticket inspector at the station.
She then suddenly stopped by a passenger in a rush and told her that his ticket is missing. Xuan Haijuan placated him and contacted the ticket center immediately. After confirming the passenger had bought the ticket via his ID card number, Xuan let him pass the entrance and told him that it will be fine if he explains to the conductor on the train.
The process, which is a key to the passenger’s trip, took only three minutes.
Fang Ting: stepping 20,000 times on the train each day
“My duties include ensure the safety of the train, keep communications with the train driver, guarantee quality of services and solve problems for passengers.” Fang Ting, a train conductor, said. Every time when Fang’s train rolls away from Kunmingnan Station, she also needs to pay special attention to the blind and passengers on wheelchair.
Inspecting constantly on the train is the way for a train conductor to make sure everything is under control. The inspection is also where the record of the 20,000 steps comes into being on her cell phone. She stayed on the train during the Spring Festival for two consecutive years. Fang burst into tears when her mother said that she was mopping the floor of Fang’s room.
Fang’s boyfriend is also a train conductor but he works on a different route. Fortunately, both of them come back to the station at night. As a train conductor, she also witnessed some happy occasions when some passengers held wedding ceremonies on the train.
Zhou Xiaowen: Answering ten phones in front of him
Passengers know time and place to aboard easily. Although comes and goes of each train seems in perfect order, it is a complicated operation accomplished by the watch keeper behind a screen. While the number of station tracks is certain, the figure of trains pulled in and pulled out are changing.
Therefore Zhou’s job is to make sure all the trains are in the right track and arrive in time through advance calculations. Over ten telephones are placed on his table, but his mobile phone is locked far away in a box. He felt guilty and thankful to his families as they understand him and never disturb him during work time.
Yang Yong: A volunteer for facial recognition machines
With the outdoor temperature of three degrees below zero, Yang, who is a student in college, got up at 6 am. It is the fifth day of his volunteer service together with other 53 college students. Yang is responsible for the post of face identification.
His work is to match train ticket, ID card and facial features of the passenger and assist them to enter the station. It only needs two seconds for a face identification and the whole station is in good order because the effort of each staff.
Further reading: Kunmingnan Railway Station
The station sits in Kunming City, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province and is one of the comprehensive transportation hub in west China. It is an important international railway channel as it is the note among eight entry routes to Yunnan and five outbound exits from the province.
The first high-speed train from Kunmingnan Railway Station to Guiyangbei Railway Station (a section of Shanghai—Kunming passenger high-speed train), and high-speed train from Kunming South Railway Station to Baise Railway Station(Guangxi Province) whistled and pulled out Kunmingnan Railway Station on Dec. 28, 2016 at the same time, announcing Yunnan entered the age of high-speed train. A year passed and the station has offered services for nearly 10 million passengers.
By Chen Chuangye, Zhu Dongran, Li Hengqiang