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Upgrades sought for old West Railway Station

PASSENGERS and management of Shenzhen West Railway Station in Nanshan District are calling for a refurbishment of the station, which handles about 45 percent of the city’s long-distance passenger trains but is regarded as very out-of-date in design.

“It’s hard to believe that such a shabby station is located in Shenzhen,” a passenger surnamed Liao said last week.

There is no air conditioning in the waiting hall, making passengers rely on electric fans to ease the steaming heat. The waiting hall often is so crowded that many people have to stand and plastic bottles, fruit skins and tissues commonly are found on the floors, Shenzhen Economic Daily reported over the weekend.

Some passengers smoke in the waiting hall, which sometimes smells of sewage from adjacent bathrooms. Crowds also force many passengers to wait outdoors, with a makeshift shed as the only shelter from scorching heat, the paper added.

The railway station was designed as a cargo station in 1989, but because of its low ticket prices and western Shenzhen location, its passenger flows quickly increased. In 2011 alone, it handled more than 7 million passengers, according to figures from station operator Pingnan Railway Co.

The railway company has applied for station renovation permits many times, but the government has vetoed plans because Shenzhen West Railway Station is not listed in the government’s passenger railway network plan.

According to the network plan adopted in 2006, Shenzhen will only have five railway stations for passengers, including Shenzhen, Shenzhen North, Buji, Futian and Shenzhen East stations. All five stations are in eastern or central parts of the city.

“Shenzhen needs a passenger railway station in its west,” said a railway plan expert who would not give his name.

Shenzhen West Railway Station was ordered to stop handling passengers in 2010. But it continued operations and still handles about half of the city’s long-distance rail passengers. (Helen Deng)


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