Asia’s largest passenger railway station starts operation in Beijing
The G623 train departs from Beijing Fengtai Railway Station headed to Yuncheng, Shanxi province, on Monday morning, as the Fengtai station reopens. (Photo by HAO YI/FOR CHINA DAILY)

The reopening of a remodeled railway station on Monday in Beijing has not only attracted a great deal of attention because of its innovative designs, but also because it bears witness to a century of railway development.


After four years of reconstruction, the long-awaited Beijing Fengtai Railway Station-with the largest station terminal building in China-resumed service on Monday, national railway operator China State Railway Group said.


It becomes Beijing’s largest railway station and a new landmark in the capital. The station building covers some 400,000 square meters, about the size of 56 soccer fields. It can accommodate as many as 14,000 travelers in the waiting area, and has 32 platforms to serve 32 lines. Grand Central Station in New York has the world’s largest number of platforms, with 44.


Upon the new Fengtai’s reopening, 120 passenger trains will arrive and depart from the station each day. It will serve as the terminal station for lines including the Beijing-Guangzhou High-speed Railway and regular speed railways linking Beijing with Shanghai and Kowloon in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


Located between the third and fourth ring roads in the southwest of the capital, the four-story station forms a three-tiered transport hub-with three floors above ground and one underground.


Bullet trains run on the top, regular-speed trains operate on the ground floor and subway trains run underground. Departure lounges have been built on a floor between the regular speed and high-speed trains. It is the first railway station with such a design in China.


“The design of the double-layer yards-with bullet trains running atop and regular-speed trains running on the ground-saves a lot of space. The unique design has changed the layout of the traditional railway station. It is an innovative way to arrange the functions of a railway station,” said Ma Hui, chief engineer of the Beijing Fengtai Railway Station project from China Railway Design Corp.


Engineers have designed separated entrances and exits for travelers taking regular and bullet trains in and out of the station to make it easier for passengers and to reduce crowds, she added.


Environmentally friendly concepts have been adopted in the design of the station. A specially designed lighting system brings natural light into the departure lounge, saving energy and reducing carbon emissions by more than 900 metric tons every year, Ma said.


In addition, a photovoltaic power station has been built on the roof to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.


The old Fengtai Railway Station, established in 1895, was one of the oldest railway stations in China and the oldest in Beijing. It served multiple historical railways including the lines from Beijing to Shanghai, Zhangjiakou, Hebei province and Guangzhou, Guangdong province.


The old Fengtai Railway Station was at the cross section of several important old railway lines, and provided services for passengers and freight, Zhou Wei, deputy head of the China Railway Museum’s Zhengyangmen Exhibition Hall, told Xinhua News Agency.


The old station closed in 2010, and the expansion project began in 2018.


After its reopening, some services will be transferred to the new station from Beijing West and other Beijing stations, bringing more convenience for travelers and boosting the capital’s social and economic development, China State Railway Group said.