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12/07/2016

Free rides for farmers: The old trains linking rural communities.

Free rides for farmers: The old trains linking rural communities

The district train operating from Chenzhou to Baishidu, both in Hunan Province, is one of the shortest train lines in China with only three stops, and rather stuck in the past compared to the modern high-speed network across the country.
Yet it is a very unique and one-of-a-kind rail route – with free rides given to fruit and vegetable dealers in recent years.

The train is among the last few remaining “green trains” still in service. These old trains started running in the 1950s, and were a common site across China for three decades, before rapidly being replaced by the bullet trains that now speed across the country.
However, there’s a blessing in disguise when it comes to these relatively slow and rusty old-time trains – they stop at some remote stations that modern trains completely pass by, making them an essential service for villagers living nearby.
Apart from regular train staff, the most common passengers are farmers trying to sell their products, and the train doesn’t charge them ticket fees. Such a saving for these farmers can increase their annual incomes by over 2,000 yuan (290 US dollar) per year.

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