Thomas Bird found himself in southern China free from any serious commitments. His rock band had just split up, he'd left his job as the editor of a lifestyle magazine and his girlfriend disappeared from his life. Seeking the tonic of travel, Bird hit the railroad with a plan... to explore The People's Republic of China by train. The country was in the midst of a railway building boom the likes of which the world has never seen, and Bird was poised to make China Railways his muse. One year morphed into several as Bird whizzed from high-tech Shenzhen to colonial Xiamen at high-speed; "flew" into Shanghai aboard a Maglev; chugged through rural Sichuan Province aboard an old steam locomotive and traversed the "third pole" en route to Lhasa. Putting the people he meets front and center, Bird delivers a portrait of an era, as he grapples to comprehend an inscrutable land undergoing breakneck change.