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Beijing-Tianjin intercity railway on its 10th year


Ma He works more than 150 km away from home. But he said it’s working out for him.

He has to get up early, before 5 o’clock in the morning, and drives an hour and a half to catch the train that will shuttle him to the fast-developing suburban Tianjin new district, Yujiapu.

He said the best part of the commute takes place on the train. With a special commuter’s card for intercity travelers, he skips the line for the tickets. The hours are set and exact. The CRH and Fuxing trains offer comfortable amenities and ample leg room. And to cover that distance, it only takes a smooth, quiet hour where he can work or sleep through.

After a short drive, he will be able to punch in at the marine-engineering company Sublue he works for before 9:30 a.m.

He said traffic has improved enough to let him do this daily, but for now he does this twice a week, like a growing group of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei residents who have chosen to be weekly commuters.

Ma used to work in Beijing's Silicon Valley, Zhongguancun. But as he moved on to the marine-engineering start-up, Sublue, he also moved into the new Zhongguancun.

Tianjin Binhai Zhongguancun science park, November, 2017. /VCG Photo

The newly-set-up development zone offers perks like rent rebates and housing. Ma lives in one of such places now. The area has also promised quality facilities in the coming years. And there are many pilot zones in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei that see Beijing’s various industries branch out, and many of their workers flow in.

Ma said he may eventually move his whole family to the new Zhongguancun. Right now though, he has to live away from his family four days a week. And most of his time saved from a daily commute goes into working.

He said it’s for a good cause – the company behind some of China’s most popular underwater robots is in the first year of preparing for an IPO – and for the employees and shareholders, “the better shape it's in, the better for us.”

Hundreds of millions of trips have already been made on the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway since it launched almost 10 years ago. As area-integration speeds up, more people are taking to the alternative travel.

A Fuxing train of Beijing-Tianjin intercity railway, January, 2018. /VCG Photo

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