The acceleration of train speed along the key railways in China has benefited vast travelers, said Wu Lingsong, a sales agent with the Samsung company in Tianjin.
Wu, who spends half of his work hours traveling, normally prefers bus to train for short journeys, but recently, he took the train from Shanghai to Ningbo city in east China’s Zhejiang Province.
“Since the train increased its speed, travel by train is faster than long-distance bus,” Wu said while opening his laptop to check data.
He said that he felt safer and more comfortable on the train than on the bus.
China has systematically raised train speeds since 1997, greatly increasing the railway department’s income and enlarging its market share. The latest speed-increase came on October 22.
Besides the increase speed, Chinese trains now provide a more enjoyable condition for traveling, moving away from the crowded image of the past.
The fast train running between Shanghai and Ningbo takes only three hours, compared with five in the past. It has crescent-shaped lamp spreading soft light, and flowers on each table.
A Shanghai family traveling on the train to Ningbo to sweep the family tomb said that they could complete the journey from Shanghai to Ningbo and be back in one day.
All the compartments on the train have been booked out, even with the price of a single-passenger room running as high as 1,200 yuan (US$144).
The speed-increase has brought new tasks for management of ticket booking and guiding passenger flow, said Fang Jiangen, director of the Shanghai Railway Station.
He said the station has been endeavoring to ensure a faster flow of passenger by altering schedules.
(People’s Daily 10/23/2000)