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History of Beijing Xizhimen Station:
This page was last updated on: June 1, 2017
Welcome to China Report's Digital Introduction to the Beijing Northern Train Station -  XizhiMen Railway and Subway/Metro Station in the Haidian District of Beijing.

Currently, the Xizhimen Train Station is one of the 5 main stations of the Megametropolis of Beijing and due to its location it is often also referred to as the Northern Station (Beijing North Station - Beijing Bei Zhan). Arranged by their age and neglecting the former Qianmen (or Shenyangmen) Train Station (Now a Train Museum) south of Tiananmen Square, the first station is naturally the Beijing Main Train Station (Beijing Zhan), followed by the Beijing Western Railway Station (Beijing Xi Zhan). These are the oldest stations in the city. The other stations are Xizhimen Beijing North Station, the Beijing South Railway Station (Beijing Nan Zhan since 2008, but formerly named Majiapu and subsequently Yongdingmen Train Station) and last in line; the Beijing Eastern Railway Station (Beijing Dong Zhan).

Featuring a very recognizable modern architecture the three towers of which may be distinguished from quite a distance on the Beijing skyline, Beijing Xizhimen or North Station is not only a train station but also a stop over point in the now very extensive Beijing City subway/metro transportation system. As a train hub it has a multitude of destinations, as one will find, mostly and mainly heading from the Xizhimen location northward via the Inner suburbs to rural Beijing and onwards via the Great Wall of China and the city of Zhangjiakou -once the gateway to Mongolia-  to far flung territories beyond.
For inexperienced Beijing travelers it would be almost useless to list the stations in between (see the Satellite Image Map of Beijing), however one main destination must be noted. That is, the Xizhimen Train Station is perhaps the easiest gateway for tourist travelers interested in reaching the Great Wall of China at Badaling without getting themselves stuck on an obligatory tour bus ride. Although it takes some learning and paying attention, one will find that easy train connections are available to Changping (District) and Badaling beyond, making it possible to visit the Great Wall of China and some other remote locations entirely independent and nearly without a hassle.

Apart from being the train station that acts as a gateway to the north and east including Mongolia and being the gateway to the most visited section of the Great Wall of China at Badaling, the Xizhimen Station is also interesting in terms of its modern although now slightly dated architecture. Train fans may also want to explore some of this giant rail transportation hub.
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Although the current Xizhimen Train Station does not reveal any hints of this fact, the Xizhimen Station is one of the oldest train station locations in the city of Beijing and also a highly significant station in the history of the Chinese Nation. With the first trains in China being run at and near Beijing, the Xizhimen Station first was part of a circular railroad which was the first modern transport system in both Beijing and anywhere else in Qing Dynasty Era China to transport people quite literally around the city.
Apart from being a station on the railroad loop enclosing the old Imperial City, the Xizhimen Station also became historically important as the first station of the Beijing-Kalgan Railway - which was the first Chinese designed and built railroad in China entire.
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This page was last updated on: June 1, 2017
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Although the Xizihimen Beijing Northern Train Station is in absolute terms situated at quite a distance from the absolute center of the city represented by Tiananmen Square, as a major transportation hub for transport within and outside the city of Beijing it is nevertheless easy to reach. That is, the main and easiest mode of transportation in this case would be to travel through the subway/metro transportation system. Use subway line 2, 4 or 13 to reach the Xizhimen Station.
In addition, the Xizhimen Station can be reached by road via the Beijing 2nd ring road which has replaced the former historic City Walls and the Gate of Xizhimen and passes just east of this train station. Travel by car, taxi or bus to the destination.
Xizhimen Station - Directions / How to get there:
As one may already discern from the previous descriptions the Xizhimen Beijing North Station is situated just west of and outside of the former City Walls and accompanying moat, the former and later having opened the space for the always busy 2nd ring road. The name Xizhimen refers to a former city gate which was situated near the north-west corner of the original square enclosed by the City Walls. Thus positioned today it is administratively part of the Inner Suburb of Haidian, a huge district of which it however occupies nearly the south-westernmost corner. To the immediate west of the Station one may find the 1950s Era Beijing Exhibition Center (formerly Beijing Exhibition Hall), the Beijing Seaquarium and adjacent the Beijing Zoo housed inside the remnants of a former Qing Dynasty pleasure garden. To the north-east are a few hidden temples few tourist notice. If need be make use of the various maps available within this page and web site for closer details and your easy navigation to and from the station.
When traveling to the location but feeling insecure, check the skyline for the iconic 3 waves or parabolic towers of the Train Station Proper in order to manage the general direction and ultimately find your way.

Please note, the subway/metro system is functionally separated from the Train Station in that all underground train facilities are situated to the south of the train station proper in the Xizhimen Subway Station, with the latter thus forming an adjacent hub due north of the towers proper. As you will find, all directions are actually quite clear after having arrived at either facility. For a choice of stations and destinations within Beijing and surrounding Hebei Province, check the bottom of this page for extensive details.

A view from the square in front of Beijing Exhibition Hall towards the East, Beizhan Bridge and the Three Towers that mark the location of Xizhimen (Beijing North) Station.
Immediately to the west of the Xizhimen Beijing North Station one may find a number of interesting tourist venues such as Beijing Exhibition Center (Hall), Beijing Zoo, and the Beijing Planetarium although distances between are larger than one might expect when glancing the map.
Xizhimen Station Train connections - Destinations - General Directions:
Trains to Badaling Great Wall, Yanqing
How to get there:
1)Beijing downtown – Beijing North Railway Station: take circular subway line 2 and get off at the stop of Xizhimen.
2) Beijing airport – Beijing North Railway Station:first take the airport express train and interchange for subway line 2 and get off at the stop of Xizhimen

3) Bus: A multitude of Bus Lines pass along the Beijing North Station. These are: 347, 360, 375, 387, 438, 490, 543, 601, 604, 632, 651, 693, 26, 62, and others

Add: Xizhimen, Haidian/ Xicheng District Tel: 51866223

Travel to Badaling Great Wall:
Currently unavailable at Beijing North Station - service temporarily moved.

In planning for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games which are to be held in Beijing the Beijing Xizhimen North Station is currently closed for reconstruction. Meanwhile only a few trains will be running from this station.

Since Nov. 1 2016, the North Railway Station, located at Xizhimen in Xicheng District, has been temporarily closed for renovation, which is scheduled last for about three years (2019). During the period, passengers can still buy and collect train tickets at the station. However, S2 trains leading to Badaling Great Wall and Yanqing are operated by Huangtudi Railway Station, and other trains leave from Changping North Railway Station.

During normal operations, the S2 Suburban Railway is the main tourist train to the Badaling Great Wall of China up in the Jundu Mountains of Yanqing County. Established with the re-opening of the Beijing North Station in 2009, the S2 sub-urban railway is a special express train created for tourist traffic to the Great Wall locations of Badaling and (some) major monumental locations along the route.
Mind you, this train follows the trajectory of the normal Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway Line, however should be regarded as a seperate train system. Mind the sign boards and indicators (multi-lingual and iconic )along the way to make your way to the desired. In the recent past, train fare to the Great Wall at Badaling ranked at a mere 6 Yuan (RMB) making it ultra-affordable for anyone to reach the remotest corners of the city province represented by Yanqing County and the Badaling Great Wall location.
Travelers who travel by subway to Xizhimen Subway/Metro Station may be informed that underground tunnels link the subway station directly with the S2 suburban railway platform so that no complicated and confusing  above ground transfer is necessary.
In light of the first mechanized transportation experiences in China and an immediately developing need for transportation of materials as well as the populace, as early as the year 1905 AD, the decision was made that a new station was to be developed on the western-outskirts of Beijing in order to connect to the City of Zhangjiakou (Kalgan) someway's North-West out of Beijing on the Great Wall of China in Hebei Province.
However, at the time, a river named Chang flowed from the western hills into Beijing connecting among things with the City Moat outside of Xizhimen Gate.
As it was found, there was not enough room available outside the City Walls and impressive moat for both the Chang River (Chang He) and a Railway Station. Thus, during the initial stages of the construction of the extended railway system and new station the historic Chang He (Chang River) Section near Xizhimen - known as the ZhuanHe for its curvature - was filled in and its course changed.  At the same time, some changes to the city moat also occurred. Later, in the 1950s during the first modernization drive launched by the new Communist Government in order to create its modern Capital the entire city moat was filled in and the Xizhimen Gate raised both to be replaced by a new circular road, this time a concrete road for trucks and cars supplying the city.
As one may glance from historic maps of the time, the new developments nearly erased the Chang River.
However, although the original Chang He River does not exist anymore and Xizhimen has meanwhile grown into the Beijing North Railroad, Subway and Bus Station, the River gained a new life in 2003 AD. As one may find today the Chang River flows again through the the Haidian District among things supplying water to Purple Bamboo Park (Zizhuyuan Gongyuan). Near Xizhimen Station the Chang River flows along the north side of Beijing Zoo then to seemingly disappear. In the vicinity of the station the revived Chang River has been channeled underground to connect north-westward again to the remnants of the city moat as one may view just outside of the Deshengmen City Gate which still stands today. Check adjacent map for a schematic overview.

Thus reopened and with a 3.7 kilometer length, the Chang He River flows again
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Focussed on the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) as its central point, this schematic Map of the Central Beijing Districts within the Third Ring Road. Map depicts location of main landmarks, historic monuments, museums, homes of famous old celebreties, shopping malls, hotels and other sites of interterest to visiting tourists and travelers. All of Beijing's Central Districts between Olympic Park in the North,the Chaoyang Agricultural Exhibition Center in the east, Panjiayuan Antiques Market in the south east and the remote Marco Polo Bridge in the South West.
Browse the Map, click and follow the Links to more information and backgrounds on each location.
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Travel to JinshanLing Great Wall of China:
Unavailable due to closing of the station for reconstruction!

Take the train at Beijing North Station at Xizhimen or opt for the Eastern Railway Station. In both Cases purchase Tickets to Travel to Gubeikou. When at Gubeikou transfer to the direction Jinshanling Great Wall.
Since 2008 AD all signs of trains and schedules are bi-lingual English/Chinese, so it should be no problem to find your way.
In case this doesn't work out, Beijing has grown to become quite an international city.
and is becoming popular in several ways. Find the current River flowing some ways to the North behind Beijing Zoo (located about half a mile due West of Xizhimen Station) in the eastward direction. Somewhere in the next stretch it tunnels underground beneath the highways of Beijing's Second Ring Road, after which it reappears above ground just west of Deshengmen City Gate. After passing Deshengmen in the shape of a concrete canal its name changes to Andingmen XiBin, the waters running along the North Section of the 2nd ring road to flow past Andingmen and just North of the YongHeGong - Lama Temple.

Historic Xizhimen Station and the Peking to Kalgan (today: Zhangjiakou in Hebei) Railway:
The Original Station 1905 Station built outside of the Xizhimen Gate and in fact the entire new railroad that led away from it was designed by one Zhan Tianyou (詹天佑, also known as Tien Yow Jeme), a western educated man who originated from the southern Provinces and who, with use of his engineering knowledge would go down in history as the "Father of the Chinese Railways". That is, although Beijing and a few other places near had trains at the beginning of the 20th century, up to the year 1905 all of these projects had been entirely foreign built and financed. The Chinese Nation was in the process of becoming a full colony espoused by various western Nations. Needless to say, in many ways -by Qing Government and the People alike- these developments were felt to be humiliating as they factually further deminished Chinese Sovreignty and National Pride.
In an already tumultuous and resentful society the development of foreign entities to develop and control the economy on Chinese soil was taken as an afront and a mortal danger to the already ailing Chinese Nation. Hence, while Foreigners may do as they wished for, on the Chinese side much effort was made in order to stem the tide and instead create a Chinese owned and controlled industrial base.  The construction of the Beijing-Kalgan Railway, of which today the Beijing North Station is the first Station, thus formed a crucial turning point in a Nation which thus far seemed to have been overrun and out done by a Foreign Culture which in no subtle terms had impsed itself on the nation proper and every individual within.
In an Era of humiliation, indignation and a boiling under current of Revolutionary thoughts, the creation of an entirely Chinese managed and built project of western style engineering was considered an enormous feat which today is fondly remembered for its significance to the Nation in official historic narratives.

Thus, the original Peking to Kalgan Railroad was financed through Chinese hands and constructed on orders from the Qing Dynasty Government as represented by Viceroy Li Hongzhang, a man who although still controversial in history, is fondly remembered as perhaps the main backer of the Chinese own interest in a modernized era. In this regard, clearly, the development of the Peking-Kalgan was a project central to restoring National vitality, both in spirit and practice, ultimately opening a way for a Chinese owned modernization pointig the way to a viable new strategy for industrial and military strenthening of the Nation.
Opened in August of 1906, the Xizhimen Station had a western styled facade concurrent with the trends available from the west at the time and was designed by Zhan Tianyou. On the inside there were but two platforms which were connected via an overpass built underneath the roofing of the structure.
The exterior and interior design was in line with that of other already existing train stations and so was similar to the former Qianmen (or Shenyangmen) Train Station which today can still be found off the southern end of Tiananmen Square. Not much other information can be given of the original station, which today has long disappered.

The historic Peking-Kalgan Railroad still exists, but having been upgraded infinitely from its original level, it is now part of a much wider National Railway grid which extends across the north and north-west via cities such as Datong, Hohhot, Baotou, Chifeng and Manzhouli along the border with a Democratic Mongolia. Since the 1970s, when a few redundant stations within the city were abolished (and the subway/metro system founded), the Xizhimen Train Station has been the first station of the current version of the Peking-Kalgan Railway identified as the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway. Additional Railways of signifance also run from the Beijin North Station. By extension of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou (Kalgan) line, the Beijing to Baotou (Jingbao) Railway also has Beijing North Station as its first station.
New reconstructions at the Station started in the year 2005. Upon completion in the year 2008 in accordance with its functions in the new city developed for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games, the Xizhimen Train Station was renamed upgrading its status to the official sounding Beijing North Train Station (Beijing Bei Zhan or Beijing Bei for short). The resulting new station was again considerably larger. Among things the main station building was extended (roughly westward), new platforms were constructed and the system of lights and signals was revised to be ready for a new era of developemnts expected for the city leading up to the year 2022.
The new Beijing North Train Station was inuagurated in the year 2009, with the ticket hall and main waiting room relocated to the western side of the huge station building. the massive complex counts 6 floors above ground and another 2 below ground. In
Evening View of the 3 Parabolic Towers which have the facility of Xizhimen Subway/Metro Station underneath. The North Train Station proper is a giant white square block with amodern Chinese Government style facade which stands to north and behind the viewpoint of this image.
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addition, a system of underground tunnels links between the above ground train platforms and the local Beijing Suburban Railway S2 Line (Great Wall Express) and also twith the adjacent Xizhimen Subway Station. According to source, the building stands 31.5 meters tall with a length of some 550 meters and a total built up area of 20 thousand square meters. The width supposedly is around 370 meters.
Please note, the ground floor as well as the 1st level below ground have waiting rooms and ticket offices for the various train directions and destinations.  These are also the levels that are connected to the adjacent subway/metro station and system as well as to the S2
Suburban Railway to the Great Wall of China. Passengers are not expected to visit the 2nd floor of the building nor the 5th floor which are both in use as office space for the various railway agencies involved.

After the 2009 stage of construction was completed, the Beijing North Station had 6 platforms which operated a total of 12 railway lines. The new platforms were raised higher than the previous and in addition assorted aging train materials were replaced introducing brand new train cars on the 12 available lines.

Having received various overhauls and reconstructed entirely in the year 2009, currently the Station is again under renovations, this time in order to prepare the Station for its service during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. At that time, together with the South Train Station for high-speed trains, the Xizhimen Beijing North Station will serve as the main Beijing Station for train traffic between the Capital and the city of Kalgan where the main snow venues of this global happening will be held. No specifications on the new developments are available at this time.