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