Visited & filmed: 18 April 2017 (with some extra footage at other times)
It was a very early start at Beijing South, as we did the opening shot of Beijing South (Beijingnan) Railway Station, which was the largest such station in the Chinese capital.
This was a station David had been to many times before — easily close to a thousand, as he’d always travel on intercity trains between here and Tianjin. There wasn’t too much to introduce — it had already made an appearance during Chunyun 2017, so there was nothing too new.
On Platform 13, however, there’d be the 09:00 departure, Train G1, that would start this journey right. There’d be a few more shots at platform level, and a type CRH380CL train — an 16-car trainset with a localised “nose” — would be all that it took to start the trip right.
The trip would involve crossing two major rivers in China — the Yellow River, and the Yangtze. The Yellow River just north of Ji’nan, Shandong, was crossed at 10;26, and merely five minutes later, the train would zip through Ji’nan West. (Our train was just a handful of services to skip the station entirely.) Lunch was served at 11:08 (as David travelled in Business Class, where there’d always be a personal 220V power plug!). Merely 20 minutes later, at 11:29, the train would zip through Xuzhou East station, which is being expanded as we speak. Finally, at 12:32, the Yangtze would be crossed at Nanjing Dashengguan, and the station of Nanjing South would be reached within 8 minutes or so.
Train G1 was a train you had to ensure you got right, as once you were onboard, the train would zip through nonstop for over 1,000 km. (David’s mobile device clocked in 1,100 km or so.) At Nanjing, it pulled into the super-wide Platform 1, where the journey began for real.