1983 Beijing Metro: "Yeah, we have marble columns—what of it?"

Travel | by James Weir
Posted: June 13th, 2012 | Updated: July 13th, 2012 | Comments

travel photography_China travel

China travel photos The photo above is from an extensive and fascinating Flickr account of a man who visited China (among other places) in the early 1980's. Many of his photos focus on the developing transportation infrastructure of the time, including the railways, subways and local city trolleybuses, and most of them include detailed and interesting information about the images, with much of it even boasting the Chinese for reference. This is what he had to say about the photo seen above:
The train is a DK3-class formation ... but I cannot find an online image of a metro station with decor matching this one. Therefore, I do not know which station this is. My guess: this "might" be 八宝山, Bābǎoshān. Apparently, I paused for a photograph at the station with the most elegant decor. This "might" have been Bābǎoshān because of the nearby 八宝山革命公墓, Bābǎoshān gémìng gōngmù, "Babaoshan Cemetery for Revolutionaries" Stations on the original metro (now parts of lines 1 and 2) have been rebuilt extensively, and ceilings lowered (perhaps for installation of air-conditioning).
Read on after the jump.... While the addition of air conditioning in the Beijing Metro is no doubt a good thing, wouldn't it be nice for a little more elegance in today's Chinese subways? And we can definitely take a moment to appreciate the cavernous ceilings and all the excess space on the platform. Granted, this may have been taken at off-peak hours. But doesn't that subway station look downright pleasant? This isn't to say that today's subways in China are lacking in some way. On the contrary, I find them fast, efficient and clean, if somewhat overcrowded. And even the crowds are manageable, for the most part. But while we're on the subject, what's the deal with the material they use to cover the stairs and hallways? When it rains, it's like walking on melting ice. In slippers. Slippers with bad grip. I've never been so close to falling over so frequently in my life. It is a constant battle to avoid serious bodily harm. In any event, anyone who has seen modern-day China will find Leroy W. Demery, Jr.'s photos interesting. What I like in particular is the way some things haven't changed at all. Storefronts in Shanghai, for example, that could easily have been taken last weekend if not for the lack of skyscrapers. A country of contrast, the China of today is.
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