on the high speed trains

If you’ve ever been to China, one of the highlights is travelling on the fast speed trains. Cities which once took a day, a night, or a few days and nights to reach now take a matter of hours.

Live in Shanghai, want to head up to Beijing for the weekend? No problem. Take the fast speed train and be there in five hours.

Like most railways in the world, you can head down to the dining car if you feel like a full meal, but if it’s snacks you are after, train stewards wheeling trolleys full of snack food, from tea eggs, instant noodles to dried meat,  dried fruit and potato crisps.

The stewards are always polite and helpful, even if you don’t speak Chinese. There’s always someone on the train who can speak English, and will be happy to support you. Does this helpfulness come naturally? Probably – but as part of the focus on service industries, these stewards are receiving training in deportment and etiquette.

Chinese train stewards in training. photo courtesy of http://www.xinhua.

Travelling by train is more convenient – and more comfortable – than flying, especially if your seat gets upgraded to business class.

Business class seat on China’s fast speed trains. Plenty of leg room here.

I used to travel a lot for work. My daughter was young at the time, so to assure her that Mum was being looked after on the trains, I bought her this cute pencil.

My daughter was assured that the train jiejies (big sisters) were looking after me!

China has exported fast speed train technologoy to 102 countries and regions   and has recently launched a freight service from Beijing to London. It’s an 18 day journey involving swapping many different rail gauges crossing through Kazakhstan, Russia, France, Germany and Belgium. There’s talk of building a direct, high speed train from China to Britain – the journey would take only 2 days!


Author: Debbie

immersed in the ancient culture of china, and its constantly changing facades.... a traveller through time and space landing in suzhou of the 21st century.... australian by birth, traveller by nature, mother of a beautiful ten-year-old

23 thoughts on “on the high speed trains”

    1. HI Maddie – my you were quick with your comments! Freshly posted and there you are! i dont think that China Britain fast speed rail has been given the go -ahead yet, but the technology is certainly there. It’s a small world, after all! Thanks for dropping by, nice to be in contact again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amazing how fast trains go in China. I’m hoping to visit China at some point, and getting on one of these trains is what I want to do. Do they come with cabins and a place to lie down, or are there just seats? One time I traveled on a train in Malaysia and it was an overnight train – I had a bunker to sleep in but I couldn’t sleep the entire time. Vehicles and motion just don’t work well for me 😀


    1. There are sleeper trains, depending on how far you want to go. But since the time taken to travel long distances is now much less, the first class seats are really comfortable. like 5 hours from beijing to shanghai. pretty neat. the second class seats are also comfortable but first class is great and its not too expensive. regarding the motion, you wouldnt feel like you are travelling so fast. they use special glass so looking out the window it just seems like you are in a moving car, not travelling at 300 ks an hour. where are you planning to go in China? send me a dm via the contact and im happy to give you some hints Mabel. 🙂


      1. That is amazing, the special glass to give the illusion the train is moving at a rapid pace. Good for those who suffer motion sickness. Thanks, Debbie. I’m definitely hoping to go to Beijing and definitely some of the smaller cities that aren’t packed with tourists 🙂


    1. they are unbelievably comfy! my business class has only ever been because on some trains with a first class ticket, if the seat number is 1-3, it was in the business class. i travelled a lot on the trains and only once it broke down. very luckily for me, my first class ticket was 3 A, so it was in the business class section. I had a lovely time resting on those fancy chairs whilst they fixed the train while my friends sweated it out in second class!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Debbie,
    I wish we had nice trains like that. I would rather travel by train and sleep on it, than fly any day. It isn’t always so great here, and just as expensive if not more than flying. The trains there are so snazzy. How are you? I haven’t been on line much, but had to see what you are up to. I trust you are well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Mary, yes the trains are great and beat the long delays at airports hands down. I havent been online much either, I think its a sign of the times. I know you have a new blog post there I havent looked at yet but will soon. I am well – fresh air does wonders! xxx


  3. I think our letters crossed. I just got one from you! So funny! Much love to you, Debbie! Still in sync after all this time. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. exactly! The old trains have character, but the fast speed trains are great and very comfortable. a much better option than flying. they make it easier for a huge population to travel around a vast country.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a must for the visitor. And in a country so big, a necessity to stimulate growth in different areas. Not sure I’d fancy London to Beijing in two days, though – whizzing past everything there is to see on the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the two day trip would be more for business people Curtis – get there in a hurry, sign the deals, go home. Whether it evenuates or not, who knows. Just a remarkable thing that the technology is already there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What are those stewards doing in that photo? I think I should get to China soon. I’d like to take that train from Beijing to Tibet. Hope all is well with you and 2018 brings luck and peace!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Badfish. All is well here. The train is a long one – but the trains are great. Tibet is high altitude, dont forget. At a guess I would say that the stewards are practising making numbers the Chinese way – there are symbols one can make with one’s hands which have nothing to do with the arabic numerals, and perhaps approximate the chinese numerals. for example, to make the number 10 with your hands, place one index finger over the other to make a cross, representing the number ten in chinese which looks like this: 十。Here
      ‘s the number sequence from 1 – 10: 一 二 三 西 五 六 七 八 九 十。 ( Hey, a good idea for a post!)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I nearly made it to you on my overland. I had my travel route all planned out thanks to the amazing trains in China. But circumstances kept me in SE Asia. I’ll just have to visit next time around. Hug from Koh Muk, Thailand.


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