1st Edition

China’s Railway Transformation History, Culture Changes and Urban Development

By Junjie Xi, Paco Mejias Villatoro Copyright 2023
    208 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates China’s railway transformation through history, along with culture changes and urban development. The book begins by looking at the background of China and the history and growth of railway development in China through five key phases, followed by assessing the cultural changes in the railway carriage and exploring how these are linked to social equality and national provisions.

    The core of this book aims to analyse the Chinese urban transformation through the development of the high-speed rail (HSR) infrastructure in China. Eleven important new HSR stations in mainland China, plus the new Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, have been selected to contextually explore how HSR infrastructures have affected the development of the Chinese urban context. The selected case studies are the stations of Beijing South, Wuhan, Shanghai Hongqiao, Guangzhou South, Xi’an North, Nanjing South, Chengdu East, Tianjin West, Zhengzhou East, Hangzhou East and Hong Kong West Kowloon. All of these were built between 2008 and 2018. In these case studies, the location and the intentions and success of promoting urban development are analysed and assessed. Following this, the book further investigates the peculiarities of the new HSR stations in China in comparison with stations in Europe. An assessment framework is established to evaluate the Chinese case studies comparatively with significant cases in Europe, attending to the urban structure of the area, the architectural quality, the functional diversity and the quality of the public space generated in the surrounding area.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables




    Chapter 1 The Modernisation of China through Railway Development

    1.1 From the Second Opium War (1856–1860) to the End of the Qing Dynasty (1911)

    1.2 From the Revolution of 1911 to the Nationalist Party Retreat to Taiwan in 1949

    1.3 From the Foundation of the People’s Republic of China (1949) to the End of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976)

    1.4 From the Period of Reform and "Opening Up" Initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 to 2007

    1.5 The Beginning of the High-Speed Railway Era to the Present

    1.6 Summary

    Chapter 2 Cultural Changes, National Pride and Social Equality in Relation to Railway Development

    2.1 The Railway Carriage Society

    2.2 National Pride

    2.3 Understanding Social Equality

    2.3.1 Tackling Poverty

    2.3.2 Mobility and Ticket Affordability

    2.3.3 Women Hold Up Half the Sky

    2.4 Summary

    Chapter 3 Analysing Urban Transformation through the Development of High-Speed Rail Infrastructure in China

    3.1 The Importance of the HSR for Reshaping the Territory on an Inter-Urban Scale in Europe and China

    3.2 Classification of Impacts

    3.3 Why an Urban Scale?

    3.3.1 Impacts of HSR on an Urban Scale Globally

    3.3.2 Suburban Location of Stations in China

    3.3.3 Locations of Stations in Europe

    3.4 The Importance of the Political Frame – The Chinese Case

    3.4.1 Lack of Public Participation in China

    3.4.2 Decision-Making Mechanisms in China

    3.4.3 Reasons for Sub- or Exurban Locations in China Technical Reasons Financial Reasons Strategic Reasons

    3.5 Selected Cities in China for this Study

    3.5.1 Beijing

    3.5.2 Wuhan

    3.5.3 Shanghai

    3.5.4 Guangzhou

    3.5.5 Xi’an

    3.5.6 Nanjing

    3.5.7 Chengdu

    3.5.8 Tianjin

    3.5.9 Zhengzhou

    3.5.10 Hangzhou

    3.5.11 Hong Kong

    3.6 Conclusions

    Chapter 4 Comparative Assessment of High-Speed Railway Stations in China and Europe

    4.1 Two Sides of the Evaluation

    4.2 European Case Studies

    4.2.1 Initial Cases: Atocha Railway Station, Madrid, Spain

    4.2.2 Importance of the Process: Euralille, Utrecht Central and King’s Cross

    4.2.3 Importance of the Programme: King’s Cross-St Pancras and Euralille

    4.2.4 Evaluation of Station Values

    4.2.5 The User’s Experience: Assessment Framework

    4.3 Assessment of Chinese High-Speed Stations

    4.3.1 Beijing South Railway Station

    4.3.2 Wuhan Railway Station

    4.3.3 Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

    4.3.4 Guangzhou South Railway Station

    4.3.5. Xi’an North Railway Station

    4.3.6 Nanjing South Railway Station

    4.3.7 Chengdu East Railway Station

    4.3.8 Tianjin West Railway Station

    4.3.9 Zhengzhou East Railway Station

    4.3.10 Hangzhou East Railway Station

    4.3.11 Hong Kong West Kowloon Railway Station

    4.4 Assessment of European High-Speed Stations

    4.4.1 Puerta de Atocha Railway Station, Madrid, Spain

    4.4.2 Gare du Nord Railway Station, Paris, France

    4.4.3 St Pancras International Railway Station, London, UK

    4.4.4 Gare de Lille-Europe Railway Station, Lille, France

    4.5 Assessment Tables

    4.6 Contextual Differences Between China and Europe to Be Considered

    4.7 Conclusions




    Junjie Xi is a lecturer in architectural design and humanities at the University of Liverpool. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher for the China Railway Group Limited and School of Architecture, Tsinghua University. Her project, "The Use of Flexible Architecture and Structures in the Design of Public Buildings", was funded by China Railway and the research outputs will be used by this state-owned enterprise in their construction work in the future. She is also keen on reactivating Liverpool’s railway heritage through research by design and filming. Her two favourite railway-related films are Brief Encounter (1945) and Last Train Home (2009).

    Paco Mejias Villatoro is a chartered architect in Spain and the UK, with a PhD in Architectural Theory and Design from the Madrid Polytechnic University School of Architecture. He has been teaching architectural design since 1997, in Spain, Canada, the United States and China. As a practitioner, he worked for Zaha Hadid Office in London, before opening his own firm in Spain. He has been awarded prizes in several competitions and nominated for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Architecture Award. He is co-director of Estudio Abierto/Open Studio, a collaborative think-and-do tank operating at the intersection between architecture and urbanism (www.thisstudioisopen.org). He leads Year 2 Architecture at the University of Liverpool, and his favourite railway journey was from Kolkata to Mumbai in a steam engine in the late 1980s.