Until the 1970s, steam engines were still being built in Zhuzhou, the transportation center in South China’s Hunan province, by workers in grey Mao jackets, who did almost everything by hand.
Since then, a technological revolution has transformed the factory floor of what is now the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock or CVSR. The flagship products of today are the Maglev urban rail system serving the Chinese capital of Beijing, where trains use magnetic levitation rather than wheels and gears to propel them, and the dazzlingly white, high-speed rail system, where trains can achieve speeds of 380 kilometers per hour, or 236 miles per hour. The workforce has changed, too. The Mao jackets are gone, replaced by robots made by the Austria based-igm Robotic Systems which perform all of the precision spot welding.