Travel China by high speed train and you’ll never look back!
Travel China by high speed train and enjoy the comfort and convenience! In comparison with air travel, train travel is much cheaper and also more punctual. In addition, it allows the international visitor to more easily mingle with locals.
Since 2008 China has experienced incredibly high inflation. Moreover, the Chinese RMB has appreciated by a wide margin against most if not all Western currencies. Despite all this, China travel, relatively speaking, has become more affordable in the past couple of years mainly due to availability of high speed train service across the country. For example, one-way airfare between Guilin and Hong Kong easily costs $200 while a second class ticket on the high speed train (available in the third quarter of 2018) would be less than one third of the airfare! Rail travel is good for conscience too because it causes far less damage to the environment compared with air travel.
At Laurus Travel we realized early on that the rapid expansion of China’s high speed rail network would have a very positive effect on our business. With this in mind, we introduced our first China tour exclusively by train in late 2012 and it became an instant hit. Customer Jim R, a retired American Airlines B777 pilot, his wife Cheryl and their friends were among the first to go on this 21-day tour and they just loved it.
From: Cheryl & Jim R
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 6:30 AM
Subject: 21-Day China by First Class Train, Departing May 19, 2013
Amazing trip! First class accommodations; wonderful meals, fun & educational tours; this trip is a WINNER. Traveling by train was so comfortable and an efficent use of time, it was a great way to see & feel the culture of this complex country. Truly a great experience. We have and will continue to recommend Laurus Travel to friends and anyone considering a trip to China. When we return (there is so much to see), Laurus Travel will be our only choice. Truly a trip of a lifetime! Just wish Laurus did other countries!
Cheryl & Jim R
Rapid expansion of China’s high-speed rail network since then has allowed us to transform the 21-day train tour into the current 25-day Classic China by Bullet Train.
Development of China’s Railway System in the Past 30 Years
Thirty years ago the acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux spent a year travelling around China by train. He wrote a book about his experience and the book became an instant bestseller. Titled Riding the Iron Rooster, the book ends with a chapter named “The Train to Tibet”. Theroux predicted in the book that it would be impossible for the Chinese to build a railway to Tibet due to insurmountable climatic and geological challenges including permafrost. Twenty years later the Chinese achieved what he thought to be impossible.
Not only that, the Chinese for the past 20 years have been on a building spree expanding the country’s rail network and upgrading existing railways. The world’s longest high-speed rail line opened in China on December 25, 2012, running 2,298 kilometres (1,428 miles) between Beijing and Guangzhou. The total length of China’s high speed rail network has reached 29,000 kilometres by the end of 2018, which makes up more than two thirds of the world’s total, and would go up to 30,000 kilometres by 2020.
The new developments make it possible for tour operators like Laurus Travel to design new tours incorporating inter-city travel by train. We no longer have to worry about smelly bathrooms and other discomforts associated with train travel of the old days. The passengers won’t have to drag their suitcase up and down long flights of stairs as the train stations serving high-speed rail are all brand new, equipped with facilities commonly found at major international airports.
Letters G and D
Chinese high speed trains numbered with letter G in the front (G111, for example) travel at an average speed of 300km per hour while train numbers starting with letter D indicate the speed would be between 200km and 250km per hour.
Beijing/Shanghai Line (1318 km)
On June 30, 2011, China opened this much anticipated high speed rail line. Built with the latest technologies from around the world, the 1318km rail line links China’s capital with the country’s largest metropolis. Trains on this new line ferry passengers from one end to the other in less than 5 hours. The new rail service rivals France’s TGV and Japan’s “shinkansen in terms of safety, speed, comfort and punctuality.
Beijing/Guangzhou Line (2298 km)
Good news for Chinese rail travellers just keeps coming. On December 26, 2012, China officially launched its bullet train service on its recently completed high-speed railway connecting Beijing and Guangzhou. At 2,298 km, this is the longest high-speed rail line in the world cutting travel time by train between Guangzhou and Beijing to less then 8 hours, 12.5 hours less than the fastest passenger train running on the old track, which is now used almost exclusively for freight.
Chinese high speed passenger rail service offers three classes: executive, first and second. Our tour groups are booked in second class, equivalent to but far more comfortable than economy class on a passenger plane. In first class there are 4 seats per row whereas in second class there are 5 seats per row with 3 seats one side of the aisle and 2 on the opposite side. Compared with second class, first class seats are wider, recline more and have a footrest that second class doesn’t. Executive class is one level higher than first class and the leather seats recline flat.
Soft Sleeper Class on Express Train (not designated as high speed)
We sometimes use overnight train to travel between cities. Generally, every soft sleeper car consists of 8 compartments, each of which comes with 4 berths (2 lower, 2 upper). Each rail car is equipped with its own toilet but shower is not available. It is possible for two travellers to have a compartment all to themselves by paying for all 4 berths.