Railway is the “standard” travel options for normal people in China. Richer (minority) people travel by air and short distance traveler go by bus; the rest typically take trains.
For transition passengers in Shanghai, to take train maybe an option if the destination is near. I’d like to devote some time on the train system in China. I hope this guide will be helpful to visitors who want to use railway.
Types of Seats/Sleepers
There are several times of seats. The most basic is the hard seat, soft seat, and hard sleeper, soft sleeper. I know the translation is quite confusing but I couldn’t found a better one. Someone asked me “How difficult are the hard seats?” It is amusing. Actually, hard seat is not completely wooden. It feels soft when you touch it.
Typically, “hard seat” cars have 10 persons in a cubicle, 6 on the left and 4 on the right.
|o o o o o|
|o o o o o|
| is window
= is back of seats
o is seats.
There are about 100 – 120 passenger seats in one train cart.
Bryan Tutt’s A Hard Seat Train is a vivid description about what a crowded “hard seat” train is. Fortunately, it should be the experience of several years ago. Now the train are getting better, faster with fewer people. The train has been upgraded to new models with better equipment. If you travel from Shanghai to nearby cities, like Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, the train are more likely to be the newest and most advanced model. If you travel to Beijing, the train from Shanghai to Beijing are among the best in China.
Train Stations in Shanghai
In Shanghai, there are two train stations – the Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai Southern Railway Station. Most of trains will start and arrive at Shanghai Railway Station except those to Zhejiang and southern provinces. Always check where the railway station you need to go to. The Shanghai Southern Railway Station will be expanded to as large as Shanghai Railway Station and the construction is undergoing at the time when this article is posted. There are 12 stops in Metro Line #1 between the two stations.
To be continued