Sig­nal­man misses din­ner with his par­ents

China Daily (Canada) - - HOLIDAY - By ZHANG LI in Li­uzhou, Guangxi zhangli@chi­

This new year dif­fers from many oth­ers for Zhang Ding­tao and his new wife as they de­cided to re­main at their jobs dur­ing Spring Fes­ti­val.

The cou­ple work at the San­jiang high-speed rail­way sta­tion in Li­uzhou, Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

In charge of sig­nal main­te­nance, 27-year-old Zhang is proud to be a sig­nal­man, as he re­gards this po­si­tion to be as crit­i­cal as an en­gine driver’s to en­sur­ing safety.

“If the sig­nal lights, which func­tion like the eyes of a train, go wrong, it may cause a sud­den stop and there­fore de­lay, so we have to keep an eye on the lights. The light bulb may burn out at any time,” Zhang said.

How­ever, his job is far more com­pli­cated than chang­ing bulbs. He has to watch the cen­tral­ized mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and be aware of the slight­est de­vi­a­tion of the sta­tis­tics.

“Ac­cu­racy means life in my po­si­tion, for a small er­ror may cause a fa­tal ac­ci­dent. As the con­trol pro­ce­dure is to­tally in­tel­li­gen­tized now, the sig­nal­man must be qual­i­fied with tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and the virtue of pru­dence,” Zhang said.

There are only four sig­nal­men in his track di­vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to Zhang.

“We all want to leave for a fam­ily re­union at the end of the year, but we also need some­one to stay on duty. I don’t think this makes us spe­cial be­cause this is how our lives are safe­guarded,” Zhang added.

As an only child, Zhang still feels a lit­tle guilty for not spend­ing Spring Fes­ti­val with his par­ents in Gansu prov­ince.

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