Chorus of Life: Beijing Railway Station and 'Ten Great Buildings' of New China
By Zhao Yuheng
If you have traveled to Beijing Railway Station by train or subway, you probably have heard its two giant clock towers telling the time after playing the song "The East is Red." For many Chinese from the older generations, it brings them back to another era.
Unlike Beijing's ultra-modern Beijing South Railway Station, Beijing Railway Station was built in an architectural style dubbed a combination of traditional Chinese style and socialist realism. Opened in 1958, Beijing Railway Station was part of the civil engineering feat called the "Ten Great Buildings" to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The ten public buildings have a similar appearance, that is, a look back to traditional Chinese architectural tradition and an outlook toward modernism, aiming to showcase Beijing as a modern, futuristic, yet distinctly Chinese city.
Now, Beijing Railway Station is the terminal of several railway mainlines and serves trains to northeastern China, Shanghai, and international trains to Pyongyang, and as far as Moscow.
More than 130 pairs of trains pass through the station on an average day and more than 36 million trips are made from the station annually.