Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Exciting developments for Chinese trains

A lot has been happening in China these days when it comes to train travel.

A shopping mall in Shanghai
First, the long-awaited high speed train between Beijing and Shanghai is starting up. This will cut the time from 12 to 15 hours down to four, making train travel very competitive with flying between the two cities. I actually think taking the train will be the way to go since trains run from downtown to downtown. No 1-2 hour pre-departure check-in at the airport or a long trip from the airport to downtown.

China still plans to run its regular trains on this route, and those who want the speed will pay substantially more for express trains.

We took an express train to Shanhaiguan from Beijing last fall. It was pretty cool, only taking two hours non-stop. The first time I went to Shanhaiguan, the city where the Great Wall ends, the trip took six hours and had many stops.

Another China Daily story in the last week was about online train ticket sales. I am really looking forward to this for getting tickets on our next trip to China. When I lived there, getting tickets was such a pain as ticket clerks usually didn't want to deal with foreigners and kept referring them to other windows. Once I went to seven windows, standing in a long line each time, before someone would sell me a ticket. I finally wised up, and paid my hotel's travel desk a couple of bucks to get my onward tickets. After all, a Chinese person will almost n ever be standing in the wrong line.

I anticipate the website will be in Chinese, which could be difficult, but I think I'll figure it out some way or perhaps get some friends to book our tickets.

The new system will start with just a few routes, but is expected to be systemwide by the end of the year. Yippee!

Are you going to China?

If you're planning a trip to China, please check out my website, Cheryl's China, and please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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