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Railway career captures driver's imagination for the long haul

By Zhao Ruixue in Jinan | China Daily | Updated: 2015-06-22 10:44

Railway career captures driver's imagination for the long haul

Xue Jun drives a bullet train heading to Beijing South Railway Station in February. [Photo/Xinhua]

For train driver Xue Jun, locomotives are not machines, but friends with whom he must communicate.

The 47-year-old, who drives a bullet train for the railway bureau of Jinan, the capital city of East China's Shandong province, said the language for communicating with locomotives is a set of standard operations.

"Although I work alone in a bullet train locomotive, I frequently make gestures and read out the orders so it sounds like I am talking to my friends," Xue said.

Zhou Lei, an instructor of Xue's, said that the gestures and soliloquies can help drivers concentrate, which is critical to their work.

In 27 years, using standard operations, Xue has run trains for 2.47 million kilometers - roughly 61 times the circumference of the Earth at the equator - without an accident.

Xue - who has received driving licenses for steam, diesel and electric locomotives and now bullet trains - is very proud of the rapid development of the country's railroad industry.

"When I entered the railway system in the 1980s, I never expected that the trains would have been upgraded at such a fast pace," he said.

Influenced by his grandfather, who worked as a train maintenance man, and his uncle, who was a train driver, Xue has liked trains since childhood.

"It was the steam whistle that evoked my dream of being a train driver," he said.

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