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And speaking of comfort on Chinese trains . . .

I made a four hour trip from Suzhou to Shaoxing on a regular Chinese train, regular ticket.  I couldn't speak to the attendant very well, and feel lucky that I got the destination right.

The entire trip, I was jammed into a corner, standing.  For a good chunk of the trip, that was face-into-wall.

Fun fun.

by Zwackus on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 05:32:50 AM EST
I take the train regularly between Hangzhou and Shanghai.  A couple of times there were no more seats on the high speed trains (1 hour and 20 minutes) and I had to take the regular train, which is not only slower (3 hours +) but older and much shabbier, though basically "clean enough" -- even if I've never had the courage to look into the toilets on those trains.

Having said that, the high speed trains are just as nice if not nicer (i.e. more comfortable and clean) than any train I have taken in Japan, Europe and the U.S.

And from what foreign friends in China tell me, the same goes for longer distance trains as well.

FYI: the high speed train between Hangzhou and Shanghai (170 km in 1 hour and 20 minutes) is 54 RMB (about €5.50); the slower train is 30-40 RMB.

FYI 2: When the Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train starts rolling in 2014, the commute between Shanghai and Hangzhou will be cut down to 27 minutes.

Cynicism is intellectual treason.

by marco on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 06:44:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I want a photo diary :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 03:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid I don't have any good pix of trains in China, but here are a few to give an idea:

An older train from Hangzhou to Shanghai:


(the goofy guy on the right is me, and the one on my left is my kid brother)

And here are some pix from a newer train from Shanghai to Hangzhou:

Not a flying saucer, but Shanghai South Station:

Inside Shanghai South:

Boarding the train:

Dining car:

Inside:

Then there is the Shanghai Maglev connecting Shanghai Pudong Airport with Longyang-lu station in the city:

The maglev "tracks":

Approaching...

Arriving...

Here is a really short and crummy video of the Shanghai Maglev Train pulling into Longyang-lu station (which I took to get to Pudong Airport):

Unfortunately, I did not start recording till the train was close, which does not give you an idea of how quiet it is.  (This video was actually taken on a different day than those pictures.)

The maglev can go up to 431 km/h, but it has never gone much faster than 300 km/h whenever I have ridden it (which makes sense, given the very short distance it goes between Longyang-lu Station and the airport:



Cynicism is intellectual treason.

by marco on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 03:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the pics!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 09:36:30 AM EST
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They would be worth doing a stand alone diary too!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 09:36:57 AM EST
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Agreed!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 10:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "newer train" you took is by all looks (and restaurant car number) CRH2 #21 (one of the 250 km/h sets already built in China), so comparison with Japan was apt...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 10:42:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To a non-expert those trains and facilities certainly look like any European ones I´ve seen, marco.  Nice.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 12:45:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marco, by the way, regarding the Transrapid extension to Hangzhou: did the government's final decision include any concessions to locals protesting along the planned route? (Also see this discussion.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 11:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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