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ohitsgary

Bullet Train

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ohitsgary

Hey,

I recently heard that the bullet train just opened from Beijing to Shanghai and visa versa. Does anyone have any information on this such as prices and levels of convenience and whether if we are better off to take a plane to Shanghai instead? I'm going to study in Tsinghua for a year from 2011-2012 so I will travel here and there.

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The BLCU Blog

Sometimes bullet trains can cost as much as planes depending on the type of ticket you buy. The most expensive type where you get your own cabin can be pricey. Otherwise you'll have to share a small room with five other people, the bunk-beds three to a wall. This type of ticket should be cheaper than a plane. Finally, you could just book a sitting ticket to take the price right down.

I think you can expect it to take around 12 hours to Shanghai, though they are always working on faster trains. Prices are also dependent on the speed of train you take. I believe the 12 hour one is currently the fastest, but you can find a few classes of trains below this which will take longer and cost less.

Personally, I'd probably try to book a plane ticket in order to get a good price in advance unless you want the train experience.

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xiaocai

Well, let me google it for you, and all you have to do is just to click on the wikipedia link below...

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imron
I think you can expect it to take around 12 hours to Shanghai....I believe the 12 hour one is currently the fastest,

I guess you didn't read in the news about the 4 hour* Beijing-Shanghai bullet train that just opened, which is almost certainly what the OP is talking about.

*5 hours if not running at full-speed and it makes a stop in Nanjing

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xianhua

I haven't travelled on this exact route, but having experienced the Guangzhou to Wuhan bullet train service, my advice would be to stick with a plane journey. The chances are that you will be travelling with sizeable luggage. Unfortunately, these train stations and trains seem to have little tolerance for large suitcases and you may find yourself carting them up and down escalators (no lifts/elevators) before trying to squeeze them down the aisles of the trains. To give you some idea of the reaction to my suitcase (average size for international travel) a fellow passenger took one look at it and asked me if I was moving house. I get the impression that the services have been designed for domestic business commuters carrying cabin-sized luggage only. Airports, on the other hand, have well-established routes in dealing with sizeable luggage.

If you are travelling with children and the accompanying pushchairs, I would definitely avoid the service.

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carlo

I haven’t travelled on the 4-5 hour bullet train yet, but I’ve been on the “very fast train” (动车, D series) from Beijing to Shanghai and back many times this year, and I actually prefer it to flying. For one, it’s almost always on time, I get a good night’s sleep, wake at 6 am, change into my sunday best and I’m ready for a day’s work. Train leaves BJ South Station at 9:30-10pm and gets in at about 7am the next day IIRC. Price is around 500. Tickets are to be bought days in advance though, so for last-minute arrangements you'd still have to fly. And yes, if you're carrying large suitcases, it's probably not as convenient.

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anonymoose

I'd like to try it. I've done the very short Tianjin to Beijing bullet train. I love watching the scenery as it flies by. It'd be interesting to see how the scenery changes between Shanghai and Beijing.

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The BLCU Blog

imron, I remember reading about it last year but haven't stayed up to date on its developments and didn't realise it was already operational. Sounds pretty awesome.

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Freek

The 4 hour train is ready in June

The non-stop train from Beijing South to Shanghai Hongqiao was expected to finish the 1,305 kilometres (811 mi) journey in 3 hours, 58 minutes,[10] averaging 329 kilometres per hour (204 mph)

check wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing%E2%80%93Shanghai_high-speed_railway

This is faster than air i think, since i dont expect that you have to be at the railway 1.5 hours before the flight and customs stuff.

Prices will be around the same i guess.

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abcdefg

I frequently encounter delays with domestic air travel in China, but the train seems to always be on time. And the most aggravating air travel delays are on the tarmac (runway) waiting for take-off. Seems the time of door closing is what counts when computing whether or not the flight left on time.

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Meng Lelan
I'd like to try it. I've done the very short Tianjin to Beijing bullet train. I love watching the scenery as it flies by. It'd be interesting to see how the scenery changes between Shanghai and Beijing.

zowie I would like to see that too.

Do you have to go through strict security checks to get on the bullet train like you have to in the airports?

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anonymoose

No. Not for the Tianjin to Beijing one anyway.

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The BLCU Blog

abcdefg, I also frequently had long delays flying within China, sometimes as much as 3 hours. And what was annoying was that delays seemed to be almost guaranteed, just part of flying in China. When I flew to Hong Kong, on the other hand, which is an international flight, I had no delays at all.

So yeah, bullet trains like this one will definitely save you time when you start taking things like regular delays and check-in times into account. Plus it's probably going to save you money as well, not just on the plane ticket but also on transport to the airport which will cost more than getting to the train station.

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Freek

Well, i hardly had any delays while flying in China. (and i did a lot) Kunming-Guangzhou back and forth and Guangzhou-Shanghai were my casual flights.

I think it has to do with which airline you book and if you are lucky or not ;)

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roddy

Split discussion about the recent Wenzhou Rail Crash off to here.

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stephaniepainter3

my boyfriend and I also want to go on the bullet, perhaps we can join you.

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tweaked

Well, I just rode the bullet train yesterday. Departed 1700, arrived 2153. Online!

Route: Beijing South- Jinan West - Nanjing South - Shanghai Hongqiao.

I took the Business Class (which is higher and better than First class) cost 1750rmb. Now i travel lots between beijing and shanghai, this is my Second time on the train in China. I always fly. But over the past 6 months, flight delay are really bad! and cant take it anymore.

I normally fly first class, so Business class on the Bullet train is cheap. 1750rmb is only 300rmb higher than full fare economy class on a flight from Beijing to Shanghai.

Honestly, while its longer than flights, it was very relaxing!! barely felt the trip. Only problem is that you have to goto the train station to buy the ticket, and you will need your passport with you. Ticket it will show your passport number.

On arrival to Beijing south station, security check was only 1 min! then head over to the VIP lounge, and relaxed to boarding time. Not much at the lounge, but it is very comfortable. free drinks and snacks.no hot food. McDonald's is next to the lounge, i went and ordered and bought back my food the the lounge.

If you are not traveling business or first class on the train, then you can buy your entry at the lounge for 100rmb. In the lounge also has 3 computers with internet connection. The lounge is located to left as you enter from the west entrance.

20mins before departure, one of the ladies at the lounge will escort you the the gate, and bypass the que.

Anyways pics below: forgot to take a photo of the bathroom, (will do so next time) but its big and spacious. And the seats are also lie flat.

Seat layout is

2 - 1 for business class (images below), the single seat is F. My seat was 1A. its a bulk seat.

2 - 2 for first class

3 - 2 for economy class

35d5ctf.jpg

5xo4s1.jpg

2f0du0x.jpg

6jo9qu.jpg

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Daan

I took the new bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing a few weeks ago. Thought my second-class ticket was excellent value for money at 555 RMB: there was even a power socket so I could charge my laptop. The train was punctual and service on board was good. Two quibbles, though: foreigners can't buy tickets at a machine, since you need a Chinese ID card for that, so you have to queue in the ticketing hall, where (despite signage to the contrary) there's no separate counter for 高鐵 tickets - so you'll easily waste an hour there. And 上海虹橋 station simply has too much wasted space between the MRT station and the actual 高鐵 station. It's even worse than changing lines at Beijing's 西直門 station. No fun if you're carrying quite a bit of luggage. Still, I'd take the bullet train again next time instead of flying.

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