Travel China by high speed train and you’ll never look back!
Travel China by high speed train and enjoy the comfort and convenience. Compared with air travel moving around by high speed train in China is so much more desirable, especially when distance is within 1,000 km. You can barely see anything underneath when you fly but train travel allows you to enjoy the country and mingle with locals without much effort.
With the openings of many high speed rail lines in China in the past few years, especially the ones between Beijing and Shanghai and between Beijing and Guangzhou, more and more international visitors are showing interest in travelling China by this mode of transportation. Most of our itineraries include at least one bullet train ride. The 22-day Splendid China by Bullet Train features train rides for 4 city pairs. We recently had a B777 pilot and his wife (both working for one of the biggest U.S. airlines) who had the following to say about their train travel experience with Laurus Travel:
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
Development of China’s Railroad 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 a 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 kilometers (1,428 miles) between Beijing and Guangzhou. The total length of China’s high speed rail network has reached 20,000 kilometres by September of 2016, which makes up 60% of the world’s total, and would go up to 38,000 kilometres by 2025.
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 all the train stations serving high-speed rail are brand new, equipped with facilities commonly found at major international airports.
Travel in China by high speed train is not only more affordable than by air but also more enjoyable and efficient when the distance is within 1,000 kilometres. And don’t forget it’s good for conscience too, as train travel causes far less damage to the environment than air travel.
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. The feedback from our travellers who have tried China’s high speed train is overwhelming positive. Most Americans and Canadians would also remark that a high speed train system like China’s is just what we need back home.
Beijing/Shanghai Line (1318 km)
On June 30, 2011, China opened its new Beijing<=>Shanghai railroad. Designed for high-speed (bullet) trains using latest technologies from around the world (France, Japan, Canada etc), the 1318km rail line links China’s capital with the country’s largest metropolis. Bullet trains on this new line ferry passengers from one end to the other in less than 5 hours stopping only at a few large cities along the way. The new rail service rivals France’s TGV and Japan’s “shinkansen in terms of speed, comfort, cleanliness and onboard facilities.
More on the 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 1/2 hours less than the fastest passenger train on the old rail line (the old line will be used exclusively for freight).
Three classes are available on the high speed trains: executive, first and second. Our groups are booked in second class, which is equivalent to but far more comfortable than economy class on a airplane. 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.