Mark Thurston did not visit Beijing in April 2018. In April 2019 Mark Thurston visited Japan, China and Hong Kong to meet with companies responsible for developing and operating high speed networks. He also visited high speed stations in Tokyo, Beijing and Kowloon. The purpose of the visit was to gather international best practice of core elements of High Speed Rail projects, such as station design, maintenance and operational processes.
At the advice of the previous Chairman, Sir David Higgins, Mark Thurston also undertook two other short, 48hr, overseas visits - to Italy and Spain - in March 2018 to learn from their experiences of delivering High Speed Rail. Spain has the largest high speed network outside of China.