Right, now that I'm back from the supermarket, and as I'm cooking and eating lunch: Yanqing's going to get new trains and rearranged highways (and new wells and new heating systems). 新京报/The Beijing News' Liao Ailing reports:
Yanqing will open a suburban rail line
Striving to open before the Olympics. Only 80 minutes from Xizhimen to Yanqing when complete.
Yesterday, while a guest at Beijing Public Service Radio, Yanqing County Mayor Sun Wenkai said hard work was being done to open a short-distance suburban rail line from Xizhimen through Juyongguan and Badaling to Yanqing before the Olympics. When it is complete, it will only take 1 hour 20 minutes to get from the city area to Yanqing county town.
Passenger vehicles will use Badaling Expressway, a new state highway 110 to be used by freight traffic.
据孙文 锴介绍，延庆是西北交通要道，过去经常堵车。110国道被升级改造后，新建了用于货运的专用高速路，即新110国道，其一期工程延庆段33公里已通车，二 期工程将于奥运会前竣工。届时，新110国道向南与六环路连通，向北连接京张高速，可以完全实现进京交通的客货车分流，八达岭高速走客运车辆，新110国 道走货运车，交通拥堵问题会彻底解决。
According to Sun Wenkai, Yanqing is a vital transport link to the northwest, and in the past frequently suffered traffic jams. After work to raise the standard of State Highway 110, work on the second stage of the newly built special freight traffic expressway, namely the New State Highway 110, whose first stage, 33-kilometre Yanqing stretch is already open to traffic, will be completed by the Olympics. Then the New State Highway 110 will connect with the Sixth Ring Road in the south and the Jingzhang [Beijing-Zhangjiakou] Expressway in the north, allowing the complete separation of passenger and freight traffic into Beijing to be realised, with passenger vehicles using the Badaling Expressway and freight vehicles using the New State Highway 110, completely resolving the problem of traffic congestion.
At the same time, to solve the problem of the transport from the city area to Badaling, the municipal government and the Ministry of Railways are rebuilding the existing Jingbao [Beijing-Baotou] Railway, and are striving to open a suburban railway from Xizhimen through Juyongguan and Badaling to Yanqing county town. There will be 10 trains each day, arriving in Yanqing county town in one hour and twenty minutes.
That's it for transport. The article goes on to talk about relieving a shortage of drinking water and promoting energy-saving, environmentally friendly and cheap heating in rural areas. How are these related? Well, it's really a report about the county mayor's interview on the radio, and these are the other two big issues covered.
Yanqing will dig new wells to resolve farmers' drinking water problems
“吃水 难”是延庆农民反映的焦点问题。来自延庆旧县镇芍药峪村和珍珠乡八亩地大队的村民都向县长“诉苦”，由于干旱，只能靠村大队用车从井里抽水，根本不够用。 孙文锴表示，去年延庆遭遇大旱，导致几个村子吃水难，今年已经把这些村列入了计划，将为村民打造新井，解决吃水难的问题。
The "drinking water problem" is the reported central problem for Yanqing farmers. Villagers from Zhenzhu Village Bamudi Brigade and Shaoyaoyu Village in Yanqing's Jiuxian Township have all been grumbling to the county mayor. Because of drought, they can only use village brigade vehicles to draw water from wells, and it just isn't enough. Sun Wenkai stated that Yanqing experienced a drought last year, causing problems with access to drinking water in several villages, and this year these villages have already been entered into a plan to dig new wells for farmers, resolving the drinking water problem.
Yanqing resident Shen Yulong suggested to the county mayor: "Currently many farmers burn coal for height, which both wastes money and harms the environment. Is it possible to install central heating?" Sun Wenkai said, that at present it's central heating in rural areas is still quite impractical, because installation costs are high, and so most villages don't have these conditions.
Yanqing will popularise two kinds of heating in the countryside. One is the use of new model, energy-saving "suspended kangs", which can raise the temperature of rooms by 3 to 5 degrees celsius, saving 50% on fuel. The second is popularising the use of straw-gasification heating, using straw as fuel, which can combine a radiator and energy-saving suspended kang. "Yanqing's farmers will very soon be able to use energy-saving, environmentally friendly, cheap heating equipment."
Then there's a "related article" about roadworks on the Badaling expressway ending, relieving congestion on the road, but I don't think we need to go into that.
Well, first up, I had no idea what a "吊炕" was, and funnily enough, it didn't show up in any dictionary. If you've ever seen a kang, you'll know the idea of one somehow hanging from something is, well, more absurd than a Dalì painting. A kang, after all, is a large, brick platform several metres long and a couple of metres deep. Not the kind of thing you hang from anything. But the pictures in that Baidu link seemed to suggest a "吊炕" was a kang raised up off the ground on brick pillars, which makes more sense, and so I decided to call it a "suspended kang", even though it's no more suspended than it is hung.
Secondly, at one hour and twenty minutes from Xixhimen to Yanqing county town, there's no real advantage of taking the train to Yanqing than the 919 bus, unless you live closer to Xizhimen than Deshengmen- as is the case for most residents of Haidian- or for some reason (snow, perhaps?) the roads are closed but the railway is still open (lzh and I have had to contemplate that before, but fortunately the highway opened before we headed out to Kangzhuang station). I mean, the bus generally takes an hour and a quarter, and once the bloody trucks are off the expressway, it'll probably be quicker. Still, I can see the train making transport to and from the Great Walls at Juyongguan and Badaling more convenient, especially for tourists.
And I can't wait for them to get the bloody trucks off the expressway. I don't know how it's so hard for the truck drivers to understand that they are supposed to stay in the right lane allowing faster traffic to pass them in the left lane. Too much diesel fumes on the brain? And let me tell you, the old State Highway 110 from the county town out to our village is a much, much more pleasant road now that the trucks are on the first section of the New 110.