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[Memory of the past 40 years] Wheels and Times

Time:2018-07-31 17:20:00 Source: China Youth China Youth International

  Faced with a bunch of dazzling toys, my two-year-old little boy would always be interested in them no more than three days, except for trains. Be it Thomas alloy train, rail train or Lego grain train, he always has a lot of fun with everything about train. His grandfather who raised him up concluded that “We three generations do have one common thing: love for the train.”

  My father and my grandfather have both dedicated their whole life for the railway system, and their love for the train has been passed on from generation to generation. My grandfather’s railway story dates back to the time of liberation——too long to be verified. Yet my father’s railway story is still touchable, among which the most impressed one is about “box lunch”.

  In the era of planned economy, employees who were on a business trip had the privilege of purchasing a box of white rice on the train by virtue of the certificate issued by their units. In the years when the materials were scarce, white rice was quite rare. Therefore, when my grandfather returned from a business trip, my father and his four brothers and sisters would always wait on the platform for my grandfather, with longing for both their father, and the coveted rice. When the steam train stopped at the platform, the five brothers and sisters would wolf down their rice, in a minute. Longing for more rice, they would even ask their grandfather who had just landed on the platform, “When are you going on another train trip?”

  Born in 1980s, I probably would not experience the chemistry brought by the train and rice. After the reform and opening up, economic progress has fed material prosperity, rendering train taking more spiritual for children– where does that magical big guy take us for? This is an unknown question which could only be answered at the end of the journey.

  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when I was a child, I often went to Yiyang to visit my grandfather, thus train taking was common occurrence for me. Most of the people may not know the little county, but it is home to a famous revolutionary—— Fang Zhimin.

  The ordinary green trains, a memory of one generation, came and left. But I did not know at that time that they were drawn by the very renowned ND2 locomotive from Romania.

  Most people do not know ND2 train. After the reform and opening up, the growth of people and logistics has led to explosive expansion of train traffic. It was a transitional period when steam locomotives changed into diesel ones. The DF diesel locomotives that enjoyed great reputation later were still being improved at that time. Before this period, Romania exported several hundred ND2 locomotives to China by trade because of the good relations between the two countries. These locomotives were entirely green with apparent Eastern European elements. Steering on the railways that were thousands of kilometers long, the ND2 locomotives represented brotherhood between us two countries and promoted economic development in the region.

  Subsequently, the homemade DF diesel locomotive appeared as a family numbered from “DF” to “DF12”. The increase of the number represents the rapid rise of China’s mechanical manufacturing. The “DF4” alone has altogether four types from Type A to Type D. Covering all kinds of transportation needs, this locomotive family is almost the most comprehensive one in the world.

  The DF diesel locomotive substituted the ND2 locomotive as the main force of national transportation. Looking at the DF locomotives reaching the platform from afar, you could apparently sense its strong power: there were shakes coming from the rails under your feet and huge sounds of the diesel engine echoing in your ears. Wind was blowing with heavy force where the train passed by. As a teenager at that time, my interpretations of power were all generated by the DF locomotives.

  Connecting the north and south, and crossing the east and west, the DF diesel locomotive plays the role of the leader of the times and has scored considerable achievements for social progress. In the new century, economic progress has inspired people’s higher pursuits. The locomotive also ushered in a window of upgrades.

  After 2000, I already started my career, and the Zhegan Line became the Hukun Line. Also in that period, a group of railway builders installed high-voltage grid in the Jiangxi region of the Hukun Line. Then I realized that electric locomotives would be applied on a large scale in Jiangxi.

  In recent years, the electric locomotive has become more environmental-friendly with more capacity. It is the third-generation main power in the national railway network of “eight vertical and eight horizontal lines” without any doubt, which is also a result of the time.

  A new generation will surpass the previous ones, and this is also applicable for the train industry. The medium power has upgraded from steam, to oil and electricity, reflecting the changes of the time, and the people not only witnessed but experienced this process. Sitting in the train drawn by the electric locomotive, especially the high-speed train, we can feel the stability and comfort reflected by the “web-red coin” (an experiment of a coin standing for nine minutes in the train).

  The wheels are moving forward, carrying the scenery of the times. Yiyang, a small county, is also honored to be a high-speed rail station because of its geographical and historical advantages. This is something that local people are proud of. Today, every time I pass Yiyang station by the high-speed train and see modernization brought by high technology, I cannot help but admire the people who built these facilities.

  A few decades ago, children had to share a box of white rice around the steam engine train; and now, Internet order on high-speed train is enough to for a whole family’s meal. Previous generations possess deeper feelings towards this sense of gain. For us, the current generation, there are still further stories about the train. What is certain is that the train depicts China’s development course of “standing up”, “becoming rich” and, “becoming strong”.

Editor:Hou Qianqian
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