After my previous post about train, JC asked the following question:
Hi Jian Shuo,
I love train travel, specially after reading your blog about Z train report from Beijing to Shanghai. I did train travel in Europe for my honeymoon back in 1999: Leaving from flight SFO to Paris, then took train for the rest of the trip. Paris->Milan->Lausanne->Rome->Barcelona->Paris, then flew back to SFO. We will do again in 2009 to celebrate our 10 years anniversary.
My family and I are traveling to China(Shanghai and Beijing) for vacation. Arriving PVG from SFO(UA857) on May 11,2007, leaving from PEK for SFO(UA888) on May 26. Planning to take Z14 train from Shanghai to Beijing on May 18, can we check our luggage in Shanghai train station for the train we are taking? So, I don’t have to carry luggage and attending the youngsters(4 and 2 year old) at the same time while boarding the train? Is ‘Z’ train still holding up its standard? Thinking about doing day trip to Hangzhou via CHR train, any recommendation for transportation, place to visit and eat in Hangzhou?
We will be staying at service apartment ‘Regalia’ in Shanghai, any comment on this place?
Also, worth to mention that the adult air ticket is only $887.81, purchase on March 7 as multi-city SFO-PVG(outbound) and PEK-SFO(inbound), which is $200+ cheaper as to SFO-PVG-SFO!! Bought thru UAL website directly.
Posted by: JC on May 5, 2007 08:16 AM
This is a typical question: checking-in luggage for the train.
At Least, I Never Had the Experience to Check-in Luggage on Train
In my last 20 years of train experience, I never checked-in any luggage. The previous trains didn’t really provide the same kind of service like checking-in luggage. The best (and maybe the only solution) you have is to bring the luggage with you on to the train.
There ARE luggage service, it is completely separate from the passenger service. If you check-in your luggage, it is like the cargo service that you go to difference location than the railway station, and pay for posting the luggage (or cargo in their term). When the train arrives, you should go to another cargo pickup location – different that the passenger building, and wait for 4 hours (I heard) for the luggage to be cleared.
In short, in my past experience, there is no such a thing to check-in luggage when you travel with train in China. It is completely different from airline or U.S.
Again, this is just my previous experience. I don’t take long train trip as much as before, and I don’t have any luggage when I travel. The recent D-series, or Z-series train may offer something different.
So, bring the luggage with you. The recent Z and D trains are very clear and comfortable, and the entrances of the train is at the same ground level as the platform, so it is pretty easy for you to get on board with luggage. Also, there are plenty of time – 30 minutes – at the origination station, so take your time to take care of the luggage and the kids.
JC: There are porters at the train stations of both cities that will help you with your luggage for a couple of US$, some even have golf carts that you can ride along with. They usually wear red caps or red vests and can be found near the special waiting lounge for Z trains passengers.
Good to know about your 2 one-way UAL tickets, I’m in SF too. Have a wonderful trip!
A follow-on question to JC’s comment: I know it is not too hard to find redcaps (hong maozi) when you come to your origin station and try to check in. But how can you get service to help you with your luggage when you arrive on the platform? For example, I will travel from Nanjing to Shanghai next week with a lot of luggage. How can I get the redcaps or some other service to help me with my bags from the train platform in Shanghai, through the station, and to a taxi outside?