Visited & filmed: 08 May 2017 (with some footage from other dates)
If you wanted to recreate a station and totally impress people, then do it the Tangshan North (唐山北) way. This station, also known as Tangshanbei on some signs (as it’s the Pinyin name), was miniscule, sported a separate, mini ticketing hall, and had rather antiquated waiting facilities — until a 2015 revamp completely changed it beyond recognition.
Tangshan North station in 2011
A huge hall, not unlike a regional airport, greets passengers, and after the quick security check, the integrated ticket hall is also accessible, now with a fair bit more counters and machines as well. Then it’s just a quick hop through Ticket & ID Check to the waiting hall, now spread over two levels.
Departure Gate 1 on Level 1 (Trains to northeastern China)
Gate 1 on Level 1, or the ground floor, serves trains on Platform 1, which include all trains to Qinhuangdao and beyond to northeastern China. Gate 2, upstairs on Level 2, serves trains on Platforms 2 and 3, with just about all headed further west to the Chinese capital, Beijing. Right by the escalators, there’s an info desk. On the wall, there are huge red characters as station slogans — seldom seen in such a modern railway station.
Departure Gate 2 on Level 2 (Trains to Beijing)
The footbridge is designed in such a way that it appears as totally “blotted out” from the outside, but a decent amount (and yes, certainly decent amount) of sunlight makes its way on to the wide passageway over the tracks. Escalators, digital displays, platform car markers: It certainly looks like that the renovation and expansion works got the station what it needed in more modern times. The platform canopies have been raised and redone as well, although they kept it old school, like before the station refresh, and the support poles remain at the centre of the platform.
For those leaving the station, there’s now a fully separated exit, and to pick people up, you do need to head to the gigantic “mouth” or “tunnel”, as that leads to the arrival gates. (There are some rather steep stairs, though.) Be sure to locate your correct exit, as there are separate ones on the upper level for those leaving the main hall or ticket offices!
Outside the station, there’s a part David felt he liked a little (although it could be slightly larger): the station gardens, and by that, the buildings of nearby railway offices which have the Chinese railways logo slapped onto a red star. In these days of high speed screamers, these legends of years gone by certainly aren’t present too much any more…
David left on a sleeper… for a slightly more relaxed one-hour trip straight back to the Chinese capital. Enroute, he caught sight of Jizhou South (蓟州南) station, due to be re-opened soon, as they might say. When that’s done, he’ll be sure to be back for more… at Jizhou South…