leeds blogger
wang fuchuns one billion journeys

Did you know there are over one BILLION journeys made by train in China every year? Crazy, right?! Well as a life-long railway enthusiast, acclaimed photographer Wang Fuchun has been capturing snapshots of them for over 40 years now and a select 45 of his estimated 200,000 photos are now on display in the National Railway Museum.
So last Friday, me and mum had a trip out to York to see this exhibition, explore the rest of the Museum and just enjoy York in the glorious sunshine! Having lived in Yorkshire all my life, I really should have visited the National Railway Museum before now but, better late than never, right? 

 This post is part of a paid collaboration with National Railway Museum x One Billion Journeys but all words and thoughts are my own.
chinese rail travel railway museum exhibition

One Billion Journeys is an exhibition made up of black & white photo's capturing unknowing commuters in raw moments; capturing real human connection and unpolished beauty. Each of which has been categorised under: loving & caring, entertainment & boredom, work, comfort and health & spirituality. But there are a select few images in colour; breath-taking images of steam trains in motion, of trains moving through different landscapes. 

steam train by wang fuchun

It brings you through the history of Chinese railway. From packed commuter trains to the modern-day first class comfort. There's striking contrast in so many side-by-side photos and the accompanying captions signify just how society has progressed. How the introduction of mobile phones changed everything; the community felt between commuters gathered around a TV, visible in older photos, no longer present as they instead sit occupied by their own phones.
In stealing unguarded moments from commuters, Wang has captured every emotion: between friends, family, lovers, strangers. The shots may all be monochromatic to the eye but the colour is there. It's there in the loving look a parent gives their young child; it's there in the adoration seen between lovers huddled under blankets; it's there in the smiles of faces as a man carries his (rather large) wedding photo down the carriage. It's there and it's captured perfectly.

photographer wang fuchun
chinese rail passengers

You don't always realise how much you've taken in from an exhibition like this until later on; but on the train home, I found myself looking at those around me. Taking in peoples mannerisms, who they were with and how they were behaving. Just being more aware of who was around me and, I guess, being a bit nosey!

one billion journeys exhibition
trains in china
yorkshire blogger
things to do in york

I took a lot of images in the exhibition wanting to capture the best parts to share with you, but now I don't want to share too many images because it's really something that needs to be seen in itself. At the back of the exhibition hall there's also an accompanying movie showing Mr Wang himself talking about his imagery! So it's definitely one not to be missed if you're in the area and want to visit somewhere truly inspiring. One Billion Journeys is on now at the National Railway Museum until 11th August. It's free, the whole museum is free to enter (although donations are welcome!) and you can even pick up postcards of some of Mr Wangs most popular images in the gift shop to have as a little momento!

Find out more about the exhibition here.

national railway museum
train ticket anecdotes

While we were there, we made time to explore the rest of the Museum and I think I turned into a bit of a train geek?! Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivalled collection of engineering brilliance, National Railway Museum celebrates the past, present and future of innovation in railways. It's so fascinating seeing old Royal carriages and great steam train engines. There's a miniature railway outside (great fun for kids and adults alike!), a cafe inside with old train carriages to sit at (and the largest yummy scones ever!) and so much more. There's even Steam Train rides running on select weekends and a road train that provides transport into the centre of York. Being almost next-door to York train station it's so easy to get to and absolutely a must-do if you're in the city!

railway museum cafe
york miniature railway
miniature railway
railway museum

Have you been to the National Railway Museum before?

Loves. Emma.