Train travel in China tips & information

Last year after Spring Festival in March we were travelling around Guangdong and Zhejiang Province in China. The masses of travellers and passengers which are transported on a daily basis is incredible. Here in The Netherlands we often grumble and complain about NS, the Dutch railway company, about train delays often signalling problems or other service disruptions.

Train Travel China

Train schedule, Search Online, Type and Reservation

Train travel in China tips & information

As a passenger, you don’t want to be stranded anywhere (Train and Rail Travel info in The Netherlands). However, it is just a drop in an ocean if you see the number of people travelling in China using public transport as buses, MTR’s, train stations, domestic and International airports “humongous”.

With 10.276 million riders every day (Daily Record) and transporting 3.029 billion people travelling Beijing Subway last year 2013!

Today China boasts both the world’s longest and second longest metro systems. Out of the top 10 busiest metro systems in the world 4 of them are in China. The first subway in China was built in Beijing in 1969. The Tianjin Metro followed in 1984. Since 2000, the growth of rapid transit systems in Chinese cities has accelerated. The Shanghai Metro despite being the world’s longest only started operating in 1993. From 2009 to 2015, China plans to build 87 mass transit rail lines, totaling 2,495 km, in 25 cities. Source: Wikipedia Urban rail transit China.

As another netizen pointed out, it’s good to have another transportation available for speed besides aeroplanes, which is the CRH the high-speed train or a.k.a bullet train. Analyst says that Beijing-Shanghai railway is not in competition with Airlines.

Unfortunately, China has had a major train disaster on July 23, 2011, a high-speed train collision in the suburbs of Wenzhou. Read full articles Wenzhou crash report and Wenzhou train collision clicks on the highlighted links.

Rail, which is the primary mode of transport, has doubled in length since the mid-twentieth century, and an extensive network provides service to the entire nation. The larger cities have metro systems in operation, under construction, or in the planning stage. The highway and road system also has gone through rapid expansion, resulting in a rapid increase of motor vehicle use throughout China. Although China’s transport system comprises a vast network of transport nodes across its huge territory, the nodes tend to concentrate in the more economically developed coastal areas and inland cities along major rivers.

China Railway High-speed (CRH) is the high-speed rail service operated by China Railways. Hexie Hao (simplified Chinese: 和谐号; traditional Chinese: 和諧號; pinyin: Héxié Hào; literally: “Harmony”) is the designation for rolling stock operated for this service. Transport in China has experienced major growth and expansion in recent years. Airports, roads, and railway construction will provide a massive employment boost in China over the next decade. Source: Wikepedia.

Trains, High speed rails, bullet train

Train travel bullet trains

Ordering or buying train tickets can be a cumbersome and frustrating process, at the bottom you will find how-to links and information to make reservations and order online in advance.

Thirty-two new bullet train routes will start operation next month, linking Shanghai to Guangzhou, Nanning in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Huaihua in Hunan Province and Nanchang of Jiangxi Province.

All the new bullet trains will depart from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. The new bullet train will allow passengers to reach Guangzhou in 6 hours and 51 minutes — nine hours less than the previous 16-hour ride by slow train.

Meanwhile, fast trains to cities like Harbin, Shenzhen and Lhasa will be upgraded to direct trains starting from December 10.
via New bullet train routes | Shanghai Daily.

To travel we need transportation and we travel in huge numbers, hence the need for fast mass-transportation. Passengers already travel faster than a horse, car, bullet or standard train or by plane.

Typical consumers argument “faster and cheaper” its never enough. Because for as many supporters there are as many opposers fighting for environmental preservation, loss of habitats etc.

In all honesty and fairness if we didn’t have our modern means of transportation. We would not be able to travel the world as often and conveniently as we are used to in the last quarter of twentieth into the twentieth-first century.

The ShangHai – Beijing bullet train has broken a world speed record, hitting a top speed of 486.1 kilometres per hour in a test run by CNN Travel.

A recently updated article written after the train collision event titled; “Decision to slow trains with mixed responses” on ChinaDaily.com.cn. With another editorial appearing in the Beijing News stated,

“Developing high-speed railways is in keeping with current trends and the aspirations of the people, but what people need are safe trains, affordable fares and quality service.”

Professor Sun Zhang from the Railway and Urban Mass Transit Research Institute of Tongji University said; “We should take time to test the high-speed rail system and gain more experience because that will provide an important reference for the future operation of these trains at high speeds,”

China High speed rail map

High-Speed Rail Map of China – Source photo courtesy by Johomaps.com

Travelling in China

CRH tickets are compared to Dutch and European high-speed railway very cheap, but in China relatively expensive. Travelling around China on the CRH is very modern, fast, clean and excellent service on board.

We travelled from Hangzhou to Wenzhou in 4 hrs, the standard travel time would be 8 hrs according to the train schedule. More than 25 years ago I travelled the same distance and it took us around one and a half day by ferry boat disembarking on the wharf.

From there we had rented in advance a car to bring us to our hotel and that’s a whole other story by itself. Taxis were old Japanese Toyota’s and sparse least alone hiring little buses named “mianbao che” (they resembled small bread loaves). Compared to those days this is

Compared to those days this is a science-fiction reality, as for the present progress it has its ups and downs. Travelling speed and comfort are here, choices are offered how you want to spend your money and time on the road.

If you have plans visiting more places and provinces in China, travelling on high-speed train or bullet trains is a comfortable and very convenient option to be transported to the heart of coastal city centres.

The train coaches, seats and aisle are in comparison to domestic or continental aeroplanes more spacious. When booking hotels check on free airport pick-up service.

Be prepared that the masses you are travelling with are going through the same exit. The stations are huge, so it was not a surprise we had to walk a fair distance to arrive at the taxi stand to join the long waiting line. Easily adding an hour for taxi service so plan this ahead in your itinerary.

Travelling on the bullet train is very convenient, fast, affordable and for long distance service on board is great. In comparison with aviation service, I might incline towards travelling on the bullet train based on the pleasant travel experience we had.

Bullet train ticket, Train travel China tips & information

Train travel in China information & tips; how to order, train types, reservation, ticket office

Updated 30th June 2017