A train station love story, written one moment at a time
By Jasmine Cen

Now that the Spring Festival holiday is over, many have returned to work, but for two railroad employees, love is still in the air.

Like many waiting in line to board the train, Hao Kang was rushing to see his loved one. Unlike other people, he got less than two minutes to see her and to propose.

Hao Kang is a cargo train driver in Yulin station. His girlfriend Lei Jie, a train attendant, has been working on trains running between Xi'an City of Shaanxi Province and Wuhai West, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, for seven years.

“We were both interning and it was my first time here,” Hao Kang said. “I only wore a sweater and headed out to check out the train. I was shaking and she saw that. She handed me her heavy jacket.”

That was four years ago, and they've been together ever since.

However, due to their jobs on trains, they rarely get to see each other.

“Every time I pass through the station, I'm only able to take a peek through this window,” said Hao Kang. “She also tries to spot me through the window on the train door. Then, we pass each other just like that.”

The Spring Festival travel rush was coming to a close. While it was a hectic time for many of those who travel, it was even more stressful for those who work in the railway industry.

This young couple from China's Shaanxi Province had less than two minutes to meet in a carriage before parting again on Chinese New Year's Eve. Though Hao had already memorized the train schedule for K1686, on which Lei was working, it was still hard for them to meet each other. The thought of missing Lei consumed Hao.

"If I spot her, it feels like I've won the lottery," said Hao.

Though the long periods of separation keep them wondering if they should change their jobs, the two gave up on the idea as both of them love the work they do.

"I was wondering, if I changed my job then we wouldn't need to be separated,” said Lei Jie, “But then, I know he loves his job. He thinks driving a huge cargo train and transporting tons of coal is such an honorable job. He said he feels like the boss of a coal mine."

Hao and Lei decided to get married this year and they prepared New Year gifts for each other. One hour before Lei's train was to make a stop at Yulin station, he bought a pot of boiled dumplings. He arrived earlier and sat in the waiting room at the station. In his pocket, he decided to give Lei a surprise: a ring – a promise meant for the rest of their lives.

However, snowfall delayed Lei's train by 10 minutes and her train only stopped at Yulin station for a mere five minutes.

He couldn't find her at first.

"Things happened all of a sudden. Fortunately, you helped me find her. I have so many words to say to her," said Hao.

(Reporter: "What do you want to say to her?")

"I wanted to say to her, 'Will you marry me?' I want to marry her this year but I didn't get a chance."