Trains of China

Many people who have never ridden a train or not taken one for several years want to experience riding the trains in China.  Up to 10 years ago the trains all over China were similar to our trains of the 1940's.  Today some of those same trains are used in the more rural areas of China but here you see some of the new trains that have come on line.  The train with the mountains in the background is the new Tibet train that serves Beijing, Xian, Chongqing and Chengdu with stops in between.  I have ridden it from Lhasa to Chongqing for the experience and to advise my customers about it.  It seems just like a regular Chinese train however it does have oxygen equipment in each car as well as individual oxygen masks if needed.  I didn't find a need for them. The Tibet trains seem to always be full and costly.  Food should be taken with you as train food is not especially good.  The train goes all night as well as during the day so scenery is limited to daylight.  I spent two nights and one and one half days during my trip.  Coming from Lhasa because of the altitude we came east from Lhasa, across the plateau to near Xian and then south to Chengdu and finally Chongqing.  Sleepers are two upper and two lower bunks of mixed sexes.  They do have western and Asian style toilets and nice wash rooms.   Do I recommend it?  Not really, I think the new Fast Trains are more exciting as you see in the other photo.  The new CRH3 trains are capable of 350 Kms. per hour although kept down to 185 mph for safety.  They are not available on all routes yet because the rails must be updated to handle these faster trains safely.  I rode one from Chengdu to Chongqing this last year and it was super smooth with no clicking or side way motion at all.  It cuts travel time almost in half from the older standard trains.  Some cities no longer offer air service between them because of the fantastic service offered by the new fast trains as they are called.    If you want an even faster experience you can take the Mag Lev train in Shanghai to the airport that goes 284 mph.  It takes a bus about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the airport but takes the Mag Lev train just Seven Minutes!!!  For more on trains contact me at    interlak@eskimo.com     

   Click on the photos for a full screen view!

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