Riding the New Iron Rooster

by Gary Hawkins, October 23, 2018

I wonder when Paul Theroux wrote, "Riding the Iron Rooster" (that describes a year of traveling by mainly steam trains in the China of the Eighties) whether he could have, even in his wildest dreams, imagined the bullet train that now runs from Shanghai to Beijing.  Formally known as the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway (or Jinghu high-speed railway, from its name in Mandarin), this railway connects these two metropolitan centers via Nanjing.  With a maximum operational speed of a staggering 380kmh (236mph), the end-to-end journey time can be as fast as 4 hours and 30 mins.  If your interested in reading more about this service, there's an excellent Wikipedia page on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway.

Nanjing South Train Station Entrance

Nanjing South Train Station Entrance

Suffice it to say when Yafei decided to take Xaria to Beijing for a week to meet with friends and have Xaria get her first look at the capital, there was only one way to travel.  A Business Class ticket from Nanjing to Beijing was 748RMB, over just over $100.

Nanjing South Train Station Ticket and Waiting Area

The Vast Expanse of Nanjing South Train Station Ticket Area

Nanjing South Train Station Platform

Platform Area At Nanjing South Railway Station

Training Arriving on the The Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway (Jinghu high-speed railway)

Bullet Training Arriving in Nanjing South Station

Enjoying Business Class Accommodation on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway (or Jinghu high-speed railway

Business Class Accommodation

Xaria on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

Watching the Speeding Countryside Go By

Here are a few outstanding facts relating to this incredible technologic marvel that opened for commercial service on June 30, 2011:

  • At 1,318 kilometers (819 mi) long, it's the world's longest high-speed line ever constructed in a single phase;
  • The two longest bridges in the world were built for this railway. The 164 km long Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge and the 114-km long viaduct bridge between Langfang and Qingxian;
  • Trains can carry up to one thousand passengers;
  • It has been labeled the most profitable railway in the world, operating revenues in 2016 approached $4B, with net profits exceeding $500M.

Nearing Max Operational Speed on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

OMG, That's 345kph or 214 mph!

Xaria Goes Exploring

Xaria Making Friends on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

Making New Friends In First Class

 Checking out the bed seat on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

Checking Out the Sleeping Arrangements in First Class

Checking out the toilet on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

And, Of Course, You Should Always Check the Bathroom Facilities Where Ever You Go!

Xaria and Mom Horsing Around on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

Mom and Xaria Enjoying the Ride 

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