Train driver continues down the family line

Editor:Sharon Lee
Updated:2018-02-28 09:27:24
  Li Baosheng at his home in Baoding, Hebei province. [Photo by Zhang Yu/China Daily]

  When Li Bin told his parents in the mid-1990s that he wanted to be a train driver, they attempted to stop him in his tracks.

  They felt they had good reason to be concerned. Li Baosheng, his father, knows how hard the job is, as he had driven trains himself - just like his father before him, and his grandfather and great-grandfather.

  "After my experience, I knew it was tiring," the 68-year-old retiree said. "Although my family has a long tradition (of driving trains), I didn't want my son to suffer the same hardships."

  Yet Li Bin's determination to become the fifth generation of this family to "ride the rails" proved just too strong.

  First in the line was Li Wuyin, who started on the railways in 1901, according to the family. Then came Li Fangqing, who took the helm in the '20s; Li Shilin in 1946; and eventually Li Baosheng in 1980.

  "When I was a child, our home was near a railway line, and I'd stare at the passing trains. I always begged my father to take me into the driver's compartment," he said, recalling his childhood in Baoding, Hebei province.

  Li Bin has now been driving freight and passenger trains for 23 years between Beijing and Shijiazhuang, Hebei, along a line that runs from the capital to the southern metropolis of Guangzhou.

  He said he understands why his parents were reluctant for him to take the job. "This inheritance may seem like a legend to other people, but for me, it's work I need to carry out carefully," he said. "It's not at all simple."

  He said shifts last for 48 hours, half of which is spent driving, while the rest of the time is used to prepare the train, perform routine safety checks and take a series of short naps.