China Railways — 中国铁路

China Railways is the state-owned railway company of China and represents a uniquely Chinese response to the world it has encountered both past and present. The railroads of China have weaved together the English practice of driving on the left with OSZD Soviet-style railway signals while running on standard gauge track and with a loading gauge, coupling and braking standard that would be right at home in North America. It is the second largest rail system in the world in terms of track length after the US. Yet, despite this the number of books available in English about China Railways can be counted on the fingers of one hand, maybe less. It would be an understatement to say that there is not much out there to be found in English. However, there are numerous publications in Chinese and I will try and bring some of that information across the language barrier. My Chinese skills are not much to speak of but in this case they are better than nothing, if only by a little. I have a dictionary of technical terms and a book on Signaling from China Scientific Book Services ( as a start and plan to expand my collection of books. Let us see how far my enthusiasm can take me as I try to present the story of a truly remarkable institution that nobody knows about.

Here is my plan of attack. This examination of rail transportation in China will be broken into the following subject areas.

Since there is so little available in the English language that tells the story of the history of the railroad in China I decided to attempt to translate a book in Chinese into English: "Xin Zhougguo Tielu 50 Nian." This roughly translates into "50 Years of the Railroads of the New China." I want to include Chinese characters in the text but my main source for finding the Unihan code, the Unihan Database on the Unicode site, is down for maintenance. That will have to wait for later.
Book Translation Project