• Beijing-rail.jpg

Beijing-rail.jpg (Photo : Reuters)

The Beijing Railway Bureau announced that trains plying the railway network under its jurisdiction have now been equipped with surveillance cameras as part of its continuing campaign to deter terrorism.

"We just installed them very recently. This is the first time that trains have had surveillance cameras installed," a spokesman of the bureau told the Global Times.

Like Us on Facebook

According to the spokesman, the cameras have already been installed on high-speed trains and will soon be installed on all trains under the bureau's supervision.

Each end of every carriage where they have been installed has now been equipped with one camera that can record consecutively for 30 to 60 hours. The cameras will begin recording immediately after train departure.

However, at the moment, there is still no dedicated facility within the trains from which the scenes being captured by the surveillance cameras can be monitored live. Presently, the procedure in place is for the train conductors to manually remove and hold for safekeeping the recordings upon arrival at the designated destination stations.

While the cameras have been installed to help guarantee the safety of passengers in cases of emergencies, especially possible terrorist activities, none have been placed inside sleeper compartments in response to aired public concerns about invasion of privacy.

The Beijing Railway Bureau currently manages over 6,000 kilometers of railway lines, including Beijing-Harbin, Beijing-Guangzhou, Beijing-Shanghai and other major domestic railway lines as well as the high-speed services along the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway. It also operates and supervises the expansion of the commuter rail service linking urban Beijing with its surrounding suburbs.

The installation of surveillance cameras inside train carriages is just one of the latest security measures that has been set in place by Beijing authorities. As far back as 2008, scanners have been installed in subways in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. All passengers now also have to go through a security check before entering, in addition to their luggage being scanned.

The Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station will no longer be selling the 1RMB "platform tickets" that allow public access to the train platform, according to an April report from eChinaCities. Relatives and friends of those who need help boarding, like pregnant, elderly or disabled passengers, now have to proceed first to the "Love Tunnel" section of the train station to get a certificate allowing them access to board with the ones they are traveling with.