Behind the railway pride of the city is Zhang Zhidong (1837-1909), one of the “four most famous officials of the late Qing dynasty” and “the founding father of modern Chinese industry”. Known for advocating controlled reform, he served as the Governor of Shanxi Province and Viceroy of Huguang, Liangguang and Liangjiang, and also as a member of the Grand Council. A firm believer in the importance of railway construction and military power to the competitive strength of a country, Zhang Zhidong exerted his utmost effort to establish the Guangdong Naval and Military Officers Academy
nd and the Guangdong Victorious Army, a regional militia. He also established the Hubei Military Academy in 1896, where he employed instructors from Germany. In 1889, Zhang Zhidong submitted a written proposal to the throne for the construction of a rail line between Lugouqiao and Hankou. Construction took about eight years to complete.The sensation of the launch of the train service together with the Zhengxian Train Station is described in historical records as “people rolling into the train station from all corners in the city to marvel at the jumbo”. The blaring locomotive not only made the train station area the city’s busiest place and triggered a burst of mass immigration, but also placed the city onto a fast track in which a small, insignificant county set off on its transfiguration into a metropolis. Zhengzhou joined the country’s high speed rail labyrinth on February 6, 2010, opening a new chapter in the rail history of Henan Province and changing the life of numerous people living in Zhengzhou and Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province.
Zhang Zhidong (1837-1909)