Four years ago, in the vibrant city of Xiamen in the Fujian Province of China, an incredible feat of engineering took place that astounded the entire globe. Chinese engineers managed to move a massive 30,000-ton bus terminal, securing a coveted place in the Guinness World Records, in an effort to make room for a new high-speed train project. This incredible achievement took place at the Houxi Long Distance Bus Station in the Jimei District of Xiamen, where a gigantic structure had to be shifted 288 meters from one street to another.
The challenge was monumental, given that the bus terminal weighed as much as 170 Boeing 737 passenger planes. To accomplish this unprecedented task, engineers devised an ingenious plan. They decided to rotate the building 90 degrees, using one of its narrow sides as the pivot point. This meant that the entire structure needed to slide along the ground for the impressive distance of 288 meters.
The solution involved an intricate system featuring rolling tracks and an army of 532 powerful hydraulic jacks. These jacks were not ordinary; they were specially designed to move the terminal forward automatically. The building seemed to “walk” as the jacks lifted and shifted it, all orchestrated to minimize human error.
To further enhance precision and efficiency, engineers divided the hydraulic jacks into two groups, each independently controlled by computers. These groups worked in tandem, with one group lifting the building and advancing before the other followed suit. This synchronized dance created an optical illusion of the massive bus terminal moving gracefully.
The entire operation was a testament to meticulous planning and execution, with the hydraulic jacks operating tirelessly, moving the 30,000-tonne structure at a pace of approximately 20 meters per day. In total, it took 40 days to complete the move, ultimately earning the engineers a Guinness World Record for their extraordinary achievement.
The mind-boggling feat didn’t come cheap, though. Constructing the Houxi Long Distance bus terminal in 2015 had cost approximately $39 million, while the daring operation to relocate it to its new position came with a hefty price tag of $7.5 million.
Videos capturing the incredible journey of the bus terminal have circulated on social media, reminding us of the remarkable capabilities of modern engineering. Chinese engineers demonstrated their expertise, turning an audacious vision into a remarkable reality and etching their names into the annals of world records.