Returned on Delayed Train K284

I return by train K284. The train was delayed for 10 hours. What a bad trip it was to have waited in the hot train station for 10 hours and journey itself took 19 hours.

Train in China

It is a pity that I have never took train in any other countries. I have ever took metro in Singapore. It is strange that people like to stand in the train while there are still a lot of empty seats there. I also had taken public buses in Seattle. What impressed me was the bicycle rack at the front of the buses. How convenient it is for bike riders like me. The reason I always curious about trains in other countries is that the experience of taking trains in China are always one of the worst experience one may have.

Delayed Train? Don’t worry. It happens everyday.

My train from Nanyang to Shanghai at K284 should arrive in Nanyang station at 12:44 to pick us up and leave the small station at around 12:48. I rushed to the station only to know that the train was delayed.


© Jian Shuo Wang

The information display board shows:


K284 Delayed without expected arrival time.

Don’t leave. Pay attention to broadcast.

At that time, the temperature is about 38 degree C. People are too hot and some didn’t wear their shirt. It is extremely hard time but there is no any notice. Well. It is the routine that information is always held by the administration and the passengers are always not informed. To be honest, I feel very bad that the reason of the delay and the expected time for the train to arrive (within one hour? or within 10 hours?) were strictly held as top confidential. The staff in the station all know what happened but they just keep the right of know the message as privilege and will not share it with their customer – the passengers. That is a big problem of the society in current China – all the positions are trying to hold the information they get and don’t want to share – it is the case during the early stage of SARS epidemic. :-(

Below: You can see the poor people waiting for the train in the railway station.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The life in the waiting room in a small station is miserable.


© Jian Shuo Wang

At 11:00 PM, about 10 hours later, the broadcast suddenly announced that the train had arrived. Within 1 second, people rushed to the door, tired, hot and in bad mood. 5 minutes later, the train started.

Something good

It is because of the bad experience last night that enforced the strong negative image of China Railway to me. Actually, the train did improve a lot in the last ten years.

Below: Look at the orange train. It has replaced the old style green train. The green train is not equipped with air circulation and to travel on it in hot summer is too hard. Luckily enough, more and more orange train (with air condition) had replaced the old one.


© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The soft sleeper train on K284 – the number 10 cart. It is just beside the dinning cart in No. 11 and separates the hard seat carts and hard sleeper carts. Taking this K284 as an example, from the head to rear, there are a locomotive cart, a engine cart, the hard seat carts (No. 16, 15, 14, 13, 12), and cooking cart with dining cart (No 11). The soft sleeper cart follows dining carts. Then are the hard sleeper cart (No. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6). At the end is the cart for train working staff.


© Jian Shuo Wang

Layout of Hard Sleeper Cart

Upper [ 1 2][ 3 4][ 5 6][ 7 8][ 9 10][11 12][13 14][15 16][17 18][19 20][21 22]

Middle[ 1 2][ 3 4][ 5 6][ 7 8][ 9 10][11 12][13 14][15 16][17 18][19 20][21 22]

Lower [ 1 2][ 3 4][ 5 6][ 7 8][ 9 10][11 12][13 14][15 16][17 18][19 20][21 22]

This layout is typical hard sleeper cart. The No. 5 to No.18 lower sleeper are the best sleeper since 1) It is far way from the head and rear of the cart where toilet and cart interaction are located. So it is either smell bad or too noisy there. Lower sleeper are considered more convinient than upper or middle since it does require you to climb up and down…

Unfortunately, I took 22 middle and 19 middle in my round trip.

Below: Scene near Nanzhao.


© Jian Shuo Wang


© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The middle sleeper.


© Jian Shuo Wang

4 thoughts on “Returned on Delayed Train K284

  1. Mr Wang:

    I very understand you. I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry, as reading your simplest words — about 10 hours later, the broadcast suddenly announced that the train had arrived. Within 1 second, people rushed to the door, tired, hot and in bad mood. 5 minutes later, the train started. I think almost every our Chinese has been and still be suffuring from that experience. Even worse things you should be prepared for, like although you spent a lot of energy and got a TICKET, but you are blessed to find your seat were already taken by someone whom shows you the same TICKET of the same seat, no one can tell you which one is genuine, Oh poor man, this time you have to stand all through the trip hours again! I am wondering how can a foreigner imagin you under such situation are the same person who wears stiff white shirt and tie strolling in radiant shopping mall and sitting in STARBARK by only using credit cards! I must say, that is what we should be proud of — a incredible adaptation. Look, you still used a smiling mark to grummble about the bitter matter.

    While, I appretiate it that you always look things forward by putting the good news at the end. Were the all carts including hard seats and three-lay berths air-conditioned? What is the difference between air-circulation and air-condition?

  2. Xu, All the carts are air-conditioned for K series trains. I think air-ciruclation and air-condition are the same. Not sure if I am correct on it.

  3. Hello Mr Wang:

    I love to travel by train, and hope to someday visit China. I now live in Milwaukee Wisconsin, USA, and have traveled all over the United States, by train, and by automobile. Train travel is a bit different here. I have some photos of a recent trip posted at

    I have taken trips in a sleeper car, and hope to get some sleeper car photos posted. I also have some detailed photo tours of the train stations in Milwaukee, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Winslow, Seattle, New York, and a few others, which I am getting ready to post latter. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your site, and that despite the photos of the hot waiting room, I will probably take a train tour of China, when I visit. Long waits, hot rooms, and late trains are all part of the adventure. China looks like a beautiful country, and the people appear to be decent, honest, and a bit more polite than many here in America.


  4. Hi, This is not really a comment but more of a question. I would like to reuse the second picture on this page in a documentary we are making on Beckett’s play ‘Waiting for Godot’. I am looking for images of waiting, for a particular sequence in the documentary and the photo wold be perfect. Did you take it? would you be able to give me permission to use it. Please email me directly with your reply,

    Kind regards,


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