Taking high-speed railway has been a very normal option for people to travel, no matter you are leaving from Beijing to Hong Kong or to Tianjin, which is only 30-minute rides. In most people’s mind, high-speed railway stations have some common characters, brand new, and… far away! In May 2018, one regulation was published demanding all new stations should be closed to downtowns. However, is it true that all high-speed railway stations are far away from populated areas? If so, why?
This is a series story. Two pieces of projects try answering the two questions one by one.
In the first story, we locate readers (of course for readers in China) and give the most closed station to them. Then the rank of the straight-line distances of all high-speed railway stations in China is released. Readers will know how their stations rank. But straight-line distance doesn’t stand for everything. If you are in a big city, the station could sound ‘far’ if it’s ten miles away, but people have convenient public transports. It might be only 20 minutes\’ rides by metro . But for people in small city, ten miles away might be two hours’ bus for them to get to. So the distance index was used to stand for the ‘real far feeling’ for people around.
Then an interesting point was found that for people in big cities, high-speed railway stations are quite closed and convenient, but for others, it\’s another story. So why?
Here comes to the second piece of the report. Through research, we used three examples to explain what happened when choosing spot for new station construction. The first one is quite weird: if you want to get to Xiantao city, you have to get off in Tianmen South Station, instead of Xiantao West Station, which is actually farther. It\’s a remained problem since the two local governments seized the opportunity to build high-speed station . The second example is the Xiaogan North Station, 79 kilometers (around 49 miles) away from Xiaogan City, while the station is actually located in ‘Dawu County’. In order to upgrade the station level from ‘County’ to ‘City’, the government decided to name it ‘Xiaogan North Station’, rather than ‘Dawu Station’. The outcome is that a lot of people would buy wrong tickets if they want to go to Xiaogan.
Another reason why stations were set in a far spot is that city planners believe that high-speed railway station can help develop a new area. But from research, a proper distance would be a better option for new area development, rather than too far or too closed.