Beijing Railway Station

Beijing Railway StationLocated at Jianguomen and opposite the Beijing International Hotel, Beijing Railway Station was built in 1959. At the very beginning, the station could only handle 31 arriving and departing trains with 30,000 passengers a day. Now, with the development of the national economy, the station can handle 80 trains daily serving 130,000passengers. During holidays, the station can handle 200,000 people.

The main hall of the station has four elevators and four escalators. Domestic passengers depart from the second floor. International passengers depart from the first floor. There are nine waiting rooms for ordinary passengers and six for VIP with a floor space of 14,000square metres. Domestic and international ticket counters are on the first floor. On the second is a restaurant seating 600 persons, a movie house, a recreation room and a reading room. Passengers leave for their trains along the second &. floor corridors. Those arriving enter the station via underground corridors. The station also has luggage collecting and check points, stores, restrooms and clinics.

As a first step in keeping up with the increased traffic, ticket handling has been modernized. Fast and efficient automatic machines now deliver tickets for travel from Beijing to 120 other major stations in the country. One of the big bottlenecks in the past was slow ticket service and long lines of worried travellers. There also used to be traffic jams of passengers trying to find their trains. Nowadays, they take escala-tors to the second floor, where a large multi-coloured digital sign gives departure times, platforms and locations of the nearest waiting rooms. In the waiting rooms a similar board gives departure times for any train. Radio communications among personnel inside the station helps improve all of this.

For newcomers to Beijing, or any one with questions, each waiting room and ticket hall has an up-to-date information desk. Checking and getting out luggage, parcels and other items is done with electronic scales and computers to speed weighing, pricing and issuing baggage checks and receipts. Safety and security in the station are handled by a large radio-connected staff aided by some 50 TV surveillance cameras covering almost every part of the entire building.

Beijing Railway Station has banned smoking since June lst, 1987. The measure has improved the badly-polluted environment in the rail-way station, saving about 90,000 people a day from suffering potential dangers, and helping keep away fires in the station. Smokers, about one-fourth of the 90,000 in the station each day, can ease their cravings in passageways, dining halls and the central hall.

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