Chongqing– The final train to depart from Chongqing Railway Station in southwestern China pulled out of the station on time at 9:36 pm on June 19 and was given an emotional send-off at the platform by around a hundred locals and photographers wishing to capture this small piece of rail history.
On a normal midweek day, passengers boarding the K1064 traditional green train service to Harbin West typically number around 400, increasing to 600 at peak travel times. However, nearly 1000 tickets were sold for this final service, as many people made short journeys holding paper tickets as souvenirs, while others bought standing tickets to watch the train leave.
As dusk began to fall in Caiyuanba Square outside the station, the tannoy system broadcast an emotionally worded loop message informing the public the final train to depart was about to leave. Local people assembled in the square, many of whom grew up in the vicinity and used the station throughout their lives, struggled to hold back their emotions.
“For seventy years, Chongqing Railway Station created unforgettable memories as it has witnessed countless farewells, new horizons, dreams of afar, and the excitement of returning home. As the mountains and rivers constantly meet, so can we await a bright future. Old friends, goodbye!”
In the departure hall, hundreds of passengers waited eagerly for the boarding gates to open, some lugging sacks of belongings while others dozed across benches on this warm and humid evening. Meanwhile, the railway staff conscientiously fulfilled their regular duties at Caiyuanba for the last time before reassignment to other stations.
For the passengers themselves, this journey may have felt like any other, as boarding followed the same process with relatively little fanfare. The main difference was the number of people lined the platform to see the train off. When the clock struck 9:36 pm, the train blared its horn and slowly began to roll out of the station with a salute from the train driver.
As ten o’clock approached following the train’s departure, Qian Chongwen, Secretary of the General Party branch of Chongqing railway station, delivered the last briefing before drawing the seven-decade history of Caiyuanba Station to a close.
‘Tonight was our final round of train duties, and tomorrow you will attend your new posts elsewhere. I hope you can keep your morale high after this last departure and perform your new duties well. I wish you all the best in life in your work.’
The curtain then fell on seventy years of train passenger services at Caiyuanba when the platform and departure hall lights were turned off for the last time. The people in Chongqing will eagerly await a brand new Caiyuanba, as the station and surrounding area are set to transform into a cultural hub integrating transport and tourism.
In the future, the K1064 green train service will continue as previously scheduled from Chongqing North Railway Station.
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