Just after the new year, the joint venture company that I'm working with organized a team building event. This involved a trip to Tai'an and a hike up Taishan, one of the most famous mountains in China. More on that later. These are pictures from the train ride back.
I have to give the Chinese credit - they know how to run a railroad. Trains leave on time and arrive on time - down to the minute.
We took one of the medium high speed trains (250 km/hour) from Tianjin to Tai'an. There were 3 or 4 stops in small cities along the way but mostly it was a trip through the country side. There were a number of small villages along the route where agriculture seemed to be the main occupation.
The weather was sort of crappy with a lot of fog or haze.
Those are magpie nests in the tree. The mounds under the trees on the left and in the field on the right are graves.
Those are graves under the cedar trees, also. Apparently, the cedar trees are popular around graves because you see a lot of them.
Life in these villages looks pretty tough. Many of the men and women leave to work in the cities and leave their children with grandparents or other relatives.
Sort of hard to see but the round cylinders in the right center are bins full of un-shelled corn.
This looks to be a brick factory. We passed at least 3 of these on the 300 mile or so trip. They all had very similar designs. They seemed to be active. A couple had large stacks of bricks stacked outside.
One things that strikes me is that the farmers seem to save all the cornstalks, etc. I'm not sure if they are used for fuel or what. You see them stacked up near the villages or in the fields.
There are also big green house complexes along the route. The brown rolls on top of the plastic are rolls or mats that seem to used as insulation to retain heat at night.
Here is one of the conductors on the platform for another train at the station headed the other direction.
In the picture above you can see a barrier. There are sound barriers along the tracks near the villages because the trains are really loud when moving at 250 to 300 kph. At Tianjin South the main tracks run through the center of the station with the loading/unloading tracks off to the side. I didn't have time to turn on the camera and get a video as train blew through at 300 kph or 180 mph. It was quite a roar.