Team tracks potential hazards to the railway running

BEIJING: It was a normal day in April for Liu Chuanshuang and his colleagues who help ensure the safe and smooth flow of trains running along the Meihekou-Ji’an railway in Tonghua, Jilin province. At 8 am, the 13-member team gathered to replace a damaged guard timber on a railroad bridge. They had a tight time window to complete the task.
In little more than an hour, the team removed the old piece of timber and replaced it with a new one. After they left, a train passed over the bridge smoothly and without incident. “That is the moment when I feel proud of our work, which guarantees that every passenger gets home safely,” Liu says.
After finishing lunch, wearing ropes and straps like mountaineers, Liu and the team inspected and removed rocks and trees, which may cause safety hazards for trains, from the slopes of the mountains through which the railway runs.
Built in 1939, the Meihekou-Ji’an railway snakes through the Changbai Mountain region, playing a vital role in the supply chain for key materials, such as grain and coal, in Northeast China — as well as carrying many passengers. The line is equipped for trains with a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour.
The maintenance team was established 33 years ago to ensure the section’s 19 tunnels, 120 bridges and 387 culverts are kept in perfect condition. Currently comprised of 13 members, the team has been nicknamed the railway’s guardians.
Since joining the team in 1996, Liu has learned how challenging it is to monitor and maintain the railroad facilities, most of which were built in the 1930s. “These facilities, like an aging man, experience a decline in various functions, which need more care and maintenance,” Liu, 49, says, adding that the maintenance work doesn’t stop all year around.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item