|10,000 CRE Trains: Moving Forward for a Better Life|
On the morning of July 29, as the X8020 China Railway Express (CRE) departed from Yiwu West Station to Madrid, the cumulative number of CRE trains in 2023 reached 10,000. This number was reached 22 days earlier than last year and connotes the delivery of 1.083 million TEUs delivered, registering an increase of 27%.
The X8020 was loaded with 110 TEUs, including small commodities, automobile parts, electric bicycles, and photovoltaic modules, among others. The train will pass through Alashankou Port in Xinjiang and is expected to arrive in Madrid in 21 days.
Due to the long distances they travel, CRE trains are managed like a relay races. “I run the first and last leg of the China Railway Express,” proudly explained Huang Wei, the chief dispatcher of the China Railway Express at the Hangzhou Locomotive Depot. It has been 27 years since Mr. Huang entered the Hangzhou Locomotive Depot as a train driver. With the opening of the CRE, he became a driver of CRE trains.
He coordinates with professional and technical personnel from multiple departments. After confirming that the relevant equipment is in good condition and absolutely safe, he drives the locomotive to gather the scattered cargo carriages in the freight yard, and then pulls them to Yiwu West Station, where the freight trains are parked. After specifying the location, the convoy is pulled out by a freight locomotive with higher traction power, and the relay starts toward the final destination.
The Yiwu West Railway Station has always been one of the busiest stations on the Shanghai-Kunming Line. In recent years, the frequency of CRE trains has been increasing, and ensuring the safety and on-time operation of the trains is the top priority in Huang’s work.
“I have to carefully do a ‘full-body check’ for the locomotive every time I prepare for a ride. Only after repeatedly confirming that the locomotive is in good condition can I set off with peace of mind,” Mr. Huang said.
“As more and more goods are sent off from Yiwu to other parts of the world through the CRE trains, the quality of Chinese goods is getting better and better,” affirmed Mr. Huang. While at the beginning he only regarded this job as a way to make a living, now, as he sees a steady stream of goods leaving the country and reaching the world through the railway line, he feels extremely proud.
“When I retire, I want to go to the place where the China Railway Express ends, follow its footprints, and see how big the world is,” promised Mr. Huang. (By Chen Wei, English text edited by Kendra Fiddler)