The busiest rush hour in the world: CGTN's special take on Chun Yun
Updated 16:19, 01-Feb-2019
Jeff Moody
04:33

They call it the largest migration on Earth. 

Over a billion Chinese people leave the cities and head to their hometowns - all at the same time. And today is the day most people make that trip.  

CGTN Anchor Jeff Moody speaks on the platform in a train station. /CGTN Photo

CGTN Anchor Jeff Moody speaks on the platform in a train station. /CGTN Photo

So when CGTN asked me to journey with them, you can understand my reluctance. I'm not the most patient person, I don't like crowds, and my Chinese is limited. Sticking me in the largest rush hour on Earth is a brave move.     

The queues started early. As I took a taxi to the Beijing West train station, the roads were packed and progress was slow. And when I finally pulled up outside the train station, the sheer number of people made my heart sink. Crowds. Queues. People... I was in for a difficult morning, surely.  

People wait in Hangzhou East railway station for boarding in Hangzhou, February 1, 2019. /VCG Photo

People wait in Hangzhou East railway station for boarding in Hangzhou, February 1, 2019. /VCG Photo

But no! Chinese efficiency is the best in the world and dare I say, only China could process so many people so quickly and effectively. Part of that is down to staffing. Staff everywhere, all smiling, all helpful, all working hard. 

Chinese train stations are a little like airports. Separate areas for separate stages of your journey. Before I knew it, I'd been seamlessly funneled through into a comfortable waiting area, then siphoned down onto the platform itself.

Five crew members work for train station pose for photo with traditional pendant and decorations in hand. The sign on the background wall goes, "People's railway is for the people." /CGTN Photo

Five crew members work for train station pose for photo with traditional pendant and decorations in hand. The sign on the background wall goes, "People's railway is for the people." /CGTN Photo

Once on board, again a surprise. I'd heard stories of Chun Yun from years ago .... crowded trains, people sitting on the floor, in toilets, by the doors .... but one thing China is good at, is seeing a problem and fixing it. Now, hundreds of extra trains are deployed, to make sure the journey is as comfortable as can be. 

I'm now two hours in. I was expecting, at this point, to be tired, cramped, claustrophobic..... instead, I've just finished a very pleasant beef dinner and I'm now looking out as the fields skim by. 

Jeff Moody interviews a young man on the train. /CGTN Photo

Jeff Moody interviews a young man on the train. /CGTN Photo

I'm glancing at the signs which tell me I'm traveling at 296 kilometers per hour. But you just wouldn't think it was that fast. The train is smooth, comfortable and friendly. Just like the boarding process. 

Time then, for a little snooze.