中文 |

A vegetable market on a "slow" train

By : InKunming | Published: 2019-01-15

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The picture shows the No. 6162 train is preparing for departure. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

[InKunming--YunnanAt 6:55 a.m., a green train (the No. 6162 train), which has been running for nearly half a century since the Chengdu-Kunming railway opened in 1970, slowly departs from Kunming station.

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 The picture shows passengers are checking in. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

The train takes more than 7 hours to travel 351 kilometers, passing through 25 stations including Lufeng, Yuanmou, Huapengzi, etc., and finally reaching Panzhihua station in Sichuan province. 

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The picture shows the train ticket in 5-yuan notes.[Xinhua/Pan Yue]

The one-way fare is 39.5 yuan, according to the conductor Yang Zhaoxiang, based on the considerations of public welfare for poverty reduction, the ticket and transport charge of the train are always set in a very low price. Additionally, villagers mostly take short trips which results in the midway fare is set between 4 to 8 yuan, and the lowest price of goods transportation is 1 yuan.

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The picture shows villagers are towing the goods that will be transported to nearby towns onto the door of the carriage. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

From Kunming station to Panzhihua station, many places along the railway have faced problems such as steep terrain and inconvenient transportation, therefore, this train with many stops and cheap prices has become the main means of transportation for villagers from nearby towns.

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  The picture shows the conductor Yang Zhaoxiang is inspecting the agricultural products brought by villagers along the way. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

Wang Cuiqiong, a villager who gets on the train at Guangtong North station, takes more than 20 kilograms of cabbage this time. She has to take care of her sick father. She thinks it takes less time and costs less to take the train than taking coach.

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The picture shows villagers are carrying vegetables to the train. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

Li Yinglong, who lives near Yangjiuhe station, has been taken the train for five years. He brings 32 baskets of small tomatoes and other vegetables to sell in Yuanmou county. Li calculates that they can earn at least 100 yuan a day if all the vegetables are transported by the train. 

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The picture shows villagers carrying goods onto the train. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

The train not only facilitates people who live nearby to travel, but also enables people to improve income through doing business.

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The picture shows railway workers are buying food from Qi Derong. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

Qi Derong, who has been selling vegetables and fruits on the train for three years, has become very familiar with the train. He uses the stopover time to sell daily necessities to villagers and sells his vegetables on the train. Gradually, his business gets better and better.

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The picture shows a villager is buying ticket. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

In March 2017, the No. 6162 train became a non-profit slow train. The word “slow” is not mean slow speed, but slow stopover time. In order to save time and make transportation easier for the people, they normally get on the train first and buy tickets later, according to Yang Zhaoxiang.

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The picture shows conductors are helping villagers load goods onto the train. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

As the route mostly passes through remote mountainous villages, the stopping time is mainly dominated by local villagers. If villagers bring a lot of goods, the conductors will get off to help them carry goods together, and the train will wait until all the goods are put on the train.

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The picture shows the conductor is helping to look after goods just removed from the train. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

“Although the final arrival time to Panzhihua station is often delayed, we don’t want to leave a passenger behind or leave a box of goods behind.” Yang Zhaoxiang said.

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The picture shows Yang Zhaoxiang is talking with villagers. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

In recent years, many of the villagers along the railway continuously improve their living standards through selling goods to all over the country, or through running a small business on the train. According to Yang, passengers on No. 6162 train used to bring some necessities back when they returned home in the past, but now they normally buy some drinks or tonic water. 



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The picture shows Yang is recording the day’s duty log. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

Yang is also impressed by the sharply reduced number of passengers. In the past, the one-way passenger flow could reach 3,000, but only 400 now.

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 The picture shows women on the ground bidding a farewell to their husbands. [Xinhua/Pan Yue]

As the villager has access to roads, the quality of life of the villagers has also improved. More people drive private cars, and less people take the train.

There are two more non-profit slow trains like the No. 6162 train in Yunnan. Yang believes that no matter how the times change, the non-profit slow trains will not stop. The significance of the existence of the train not only represents the concern and care of railway staff for the people in poor areas, but also reflects the efforts made by railway departments to help people pursue a happy life. The slow train carries the dreams of every passenger, but also the hope of the poor to get rid of poverty and become rich. (Written by Fan Fangyu and Shi Guangliang. ) 

Click here to view Chinese report

(Editors: Christine, Rachel)


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