Saturday, December 27, 2014

China Celebrates Mao Zedong Anniversary with “Maoist” Train Ride


BEIJING – China commemorates on Friday the 121st anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic, with a themed train connecting the Chinese capital with the province of Hunan, Mao’s birthplace.

The train, named after the Chinese leader (1893-1976), departed Beijing Thursday night and is expected to reach Changsha, the capital of Hunan, on Friday, according to the official news agency Xinhua.

Adorned with a large portrait of Mao in the front of the locomotive, the train echoes the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.

Inspiration for the train’s design stems from a steam engine that was inaugurated in 1946 in honor of Mao, three years before the founding of the Communist regime. It was also used to transport People’s Liberation Army troops in times of war.

In 1978, the steam engine was replaced by a diesel one, and the current locomotive, which is electric, moves at a maximum speed of up to 160 kph (99 mph).

Passengers will be able to enjoy the on-board experience on the Mao-themed train for the rest of the year, although it was not immediately known how many such trains will be running.

The train will cover a 1,593 kilometer (990 miles)-long route in 16 hours and 17 minutes.


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