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Old June 15th, 2011, 10:41 PM   #2401
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There won't be conventional trains at Shanghai Hongqiao or Guangzhou South because the signalling there is especially designed for HSRs.
I am talking about the seated waiting halls on the old conventional lines.
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It's not about how people think, its about how MOR operates. If people have the choice of getting straight onto the platform and straight onto the next train, then they won't go red in the face and shout 'I've paid high price for this so it's my right to waste 30 minutes of my time in the waiting hall'. It's just a long-distance metro system.
when online booking or any reliable pre-booking is unavailable, there is no way people can get in their trains within a short amount of time, whether they can wait on the platforms or not can not change this. suppose you buy a ticket at the station for a train leaving in one hour, what are you gonna do? stand in moving crowds on the platform complaining about no seating areas, or sit on a seat in the waiting hall?

The reason I believe that the waiting process can be eliminated or at least significantly reduced in the future is the re-introduction of the online booking system. the system was unavailable before because train tickets were so cheap(compared to buses and airlines) that the extremely high demand and ticket scalpers simply paralyzed the beta version in 2000. Now at least HSR capacity is much higher and thus the online booking system can work for HSRs, it becomes possible that you can arrive at the station right before the departure, and then make the huge waiting halls unnecessary.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 11:07 PM   #2402
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I am talking about the seated waiting halls on the old conventional lines.
Of which there is none at Shanghai Hongqiao and Guangzhou South, so we shouldn't really be thinking in the old ways when talking about the new HSR-only stations.

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when online booking or any reliable pre-booking is unavailable, there is no way people can get in their trains within a short amount of time, whether they can wait on the platforms or not can not change this. suppose you buy a ticket at the station for a train leaving in one hour, what are you gonna do? stand in moving crowds on the platform complaining about no seating areas, or sit on a seat in the waiting hall?
You don't really need online ticketing for that, you just need flexible ticketing. A good number of people already pre-purchase their tickets at ticket outlets, and if you allow people to buy return tickets up to 3 months before travel, you eliminate the bulk of ticket-purchase at stations even without online ticketing. Introducing anytime tickets (and off-peak anytime) and season tickets that don't (completely) restrict the train you can travel on could almost eliminate station ticket purchase altogether. Compared to conventional railway HSR has a healthy degree of capacity redundancy, so all this is entirely realistic.

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The reason I believe that the waiting process can be eliminated or at least significantly reduced in the future is the re-introduction of the online booking system. the system was unavailable before because train tickets were so cheap(compared to buses and airlines) that the extremely high demand and ticket scalpers simply paralyzed the beta version in 2000. Now at least HSR capacity is much higher and thus the online booking system can work for HSRs, it becomes possible that you can arrive at the station right before the departure, and then make the huge waiting halls unnecessary.
I certainly agree with your assessment that with the advent of HSR the amount of damage ticket touts can do will be massively reduced. Especially with ID-matching this problem is pretty much gone.

At the moment the HSR market is still in its infancy, and new stations are operating at way below capacity, the massive waiting halls are unecessary. In the future by the time the market has matured, online and innovative ticketing will have matured rendering waiting halls unnecessary again. So at no point of the HSR lifetime do we actually need those gigantic waiting halls.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 11:14 PM   #2403
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But surely the idea of HSR is that trains are turn-up-and-go and waiting time is short enough not to NEED a seated waiting hall?! Why not simply get rid of the waiting stage altogether and and send passengers straight onto the platform? With platforms so wide I'm fairly certain there's room for a few benches and even some enclosed waiting rooms. Hell even Birmingham New Street manages that.
That would be ideal but not exactly practical on Chinese HSRs. For one CRH has standing tickets so if everyone waits on the platform people with such tickets will just jump on the first train they see. Just like subway the tickets are checked at the gate to the waiting hall, so it's possible for people with tickets of a later train to get onto the platform early.

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You don't really need online ticketing for that, you just need flexible ticketing. A good number of people already pre-purchase their tickets at ticket outlets, and if you allow people to buy return tickets up to 3 months before travel, you eliminate the bulk of ticket-purchase at stations even without online ticketing. Introducing anytime tickets (and off-peak anytime) and season tickets that don't (completely) restrict the train you can travel on could almost eliminate station ticket purchase altogether. Compared to conventional railway HSR has a healthy degree of capacity redundancy, so all this is entirely realistic.
It'd be nice if this can be implemented, they just need to figure out a way to manage a "black out" period during Chinese New Year.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 11:27 PM   #2404
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That would be ideal but not exactly practical on Chinese HSRs. For one CRH has standing tickets so if everyone waits on the platform people with such tickets will just jump on the first train they see. Just like subway the tickets are checked at the gate to the waiting hall, so it's possible for people with tickets of a later train to get onto the platform early.
It shouldn't be a problem if the system is advertised as a long-distance metro, which it should be. With a lot of journeys on PDLs hardly exceeding 2 hours, there should be no reason why everyone should expect a seat all of the time, though with some redundancy in the capacity most people will get a seat most of the time in any case. Even on the longer distance trains an initially standing passenger can always find a seat mid-route as they turn-around. There are people standing in tilting trains from Glasgow to London all the time, but people accept it as a small cost for flexiblility.

In any case, there can still be the option of seat reservation for anytime and season ticket holders, so in this instance you can get the best of both worlds.

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It'd be nice if this can be implemented, they just need to figure out a way to manage a "black out" period during Chinese New Year.
As long as a simple clockface timetable is still being operated, people still don't need to wait. Platforms might be a little more crowded, but I doubt they'd come close to People's Square in Shanghai.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 11:28 PM   #2405
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Of which there is none at Shanghai Hongqiao and Guangzhou South, so we shouldn't really be thinking in the old ways when talking about the new HSR-only stations.
all right, let me rephrase my words: passengers riding HSRs at the HSR-only stations would complain if there were no seating areas, because other passengers riding slow trains on the conventional lines can sit on seats while they had to stand. This comparison inevitably brings conventional lines into the discussion.

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You don't really need online ticketing for that, you just need flexible ticketing. A good number of people already pre-purchase their tickets at ticket outlets, and if you allow people to buy return tickets up to 3 months before travel, you eliminate the bulk of ticket-purchase at stations even without online ticketing. Introducing anytime tickets (and off-peak anytime) and season tickets that don't (completely) restrict the train you can travel on could almost eliminate station ticket purchase altogether. Compared to conventional railway HSR has a healthy degree of capacity redundancy, so all this is entirely realistic.
all these 'flexible ticketing' methods you listed are pre-booking. current ticket outlets are not very convenient. online ticketing works best for white collar workers who are also the main customers of HSRs, of course there could be more reliable pre-booking systems(order by phones, season tickets, railway credit/debit card used directly as a ticket etc).

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At the moment the HSR market is still in its infancy, and new stations are operating at way below capacity, the massive waiting halls are unecessary.
I doubt this, which comes back to the start of our discussion: are such halls necessary at the moment? my point is, the platforms would be in chaos without the seated waiting halls, at least during peak time.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 11:47 PM   #2406
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NCT, you have some good points of eliminating the need of waiting hall. But in this modern architectural era, I would much rather to see a huge open area "welcome" me to the station, and sit a bit in a relax environment before getting to the next train. Architecture is suppose to create an environment for you to balance between life and work.
Also, i don't think using the platforms as mini waitng hall would work either. In transportation infrastructure design (airport terminal, subway station, train station etc), it is all about separation of people flow to maximize efficiency and minimize over-crowding. If platforms act as waiting hall, the arriving train passenger won't be happy about seeing huge crowd already at the platform trying to get into the train, while they have to fight for space to get out of the train.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 12:42 AM   #2407
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all right, let me rephrase my words: passengers riding HSRs at the HSR-only stations would complain if there were no seating areas, because other passengers riding slow trains on the conventional lines can sit on seats while they had to stand. This comparison inevitably brings conventional lines into the discussion.
But they don't need to wait, that's the whole point. In any case, I doubt these HSR travellers would be thinking about their poorer counterparts 10 miles away, and if they do, it'd probably take the form of 'awwwwwwww, imagine those poor darlings kettled in the waiting hall ...'

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all these 'flexible ticketing' methods you listed are pre-booking. current ticket outlets are not very convenient. online ticketing works best for white collar workers who are also the main customers of HSRs, of course there could be more reliable pre-booking systems(order by phones, season tickets, railway credit/debit card used directly as a ticket etc).
Why would current outlets be not very convenient? All it needs is more advanced purchase enabled in the software. And why should you not be able to buy a season ticket at the station or at an outlet?

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I doubt this, which comes back to the start of our discussion: are such halls necessary at the moment? my point is, the platforms would be in chaos without the seated waiting halls, at least during peak time.
Railway platforms would never be half as bad as metro stations.

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NCT, you have some good points of eliminating the need of waiting hall. But in this modern architectural era, I would much rather to see a huge open area "welcome" me to the station, and sit a bit in a relax environment before getting to the next train. Architecture is suppose to create an environment for you to balance between life and work.
Also, i don't think using the platforms as mini waitng hall would work either. In transportation infrastructure design (airport terminal, subway station, train station etc), it is all about separation of people flow to maximize efficiency and minimize over-crowding. If platforms act as waiting hall, the arriving train passenger won't be happy about seeing huge crowd already at the platform trying to get into the train, while they have to fight for space to get out of the train.
I really doubt the average punter cares about this so called 'modern architectural era'. Travel is a means to and end, and as a means, most people want to spend as little time on it as possible. As a semi-frequent railway user, I can assure you I don't particularly want to linger in if you can help it. Of course for the first-time traveller there's a bit of novelty, but this group will increasingly be the minority as the population becomes more mobile. That 'huge open area to welcome you' becomes that inconvenient extra bit of concrete you have to walk over the second time you encounter it. When you are going on a business trip, go home for the weekend or see your cousin-who-lives-200-miles-away you don't go 'hmmm I fancy spending an extra 30 minutes sitting in the waiting room'. You might catch an odd person going 'ah' at the brick work or the train shed or whatever while power walking along the platform towards the train door, but that's about it.

The last bit about 'crowd management' - such excessive 'separation of flow' is so 60s, for those people stuck in their ways of cars and planes even if a railways station were constructed on their doorstep. These days it's all about intellegent use of space - multiplicity of use, consideration of other flows and all that, which make for much more efficient use of resources and and much more compassionate society.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:41 AM   #2408
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But they don't need to wait, that's the whole point. In any case, I doubt these HSR travellers would be thinking about their poorer counterparts 10 miles away, and if they do, it'd probably take the form of 'awwwwwwww, imagine those poor darlings kettled in the waiting hall ...'



Why would current outlets be not very convenient? All it needs is more advanced purchase enabled in the software. And why should you not be able to buy a season ticket at the station or at an outlet?



Railway platforms would never be half as bad as metro stations.



I really doubt the average punter cares about this so called 'modern architectural era'. Travel is a means to and end, and as a means, most people want to spend as little time on it as possible. As a semi-frequent railway user, I can assure you I don't particularly want to linger in if you can help it. Of course for the first-time traveller there's a bit of novelty, but this group will increasingly be the minority as the population becomes more mobile. That 'huge open area to welcome you' becomes that inconvenient extra bit of concrete you have to walk over the second time you encounter it. When you are going on a business trip, go home for the weekend or see your cousin-who-lives-200-miles-away you don't go 'hmmm I fancy spending an extra 30 minutes sitting in the waiting room'. You might catch an odd person going 'ah' at the brick work or the train shed or whatever while power walking along the platform towards the train door, but that's about it.

The last bit about 'crowd management' - such excessive 'separation of flow' is so 60s, for those people stuck in their ways of cars and planes even if a railways station were constructed on their doorstep. These days it's all about intellegent use of space - multiplicity of use, consideration of other flows and all that, which make for much more efficient use of resources and and much more compassionate society.
For the passengers that don't want to wait, they can always time themselves and arrive at the absolute last min at the waiting hall and then go through the ticket gates.

From a feasbility standpoint, I just don't see how the train station can eliminate the waiting hall area (or whatever you want to call it), you at least need some kind of space or floor for people to pass through right after the security check points, and then moving down to the platforms.
If you look closely, I calculated that the Shanghai Hongqiao station has about 3100 seats total at the waiting hall. It is really not that much considering there will be a train departing every few minutes when the station meet full capacity, and each train can carry around 1000 people. You just can't assume majority of the people will just arrive a few mins before the train departure time. The rotation of certain percentage of people that want to sit down, and rotate out to board the train can't happen that quickly. And again, as someone pointed out earlier, the waiting hall is needed to account for extreme over-flow condition such as the chinese new year.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:53 AM   #2409
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By the way, separation of crowd and crowd management is definitely not 60's, at least not in infrastructure like airport terminal design. The implementation of such idea didn't even surface until the 1990's. I see countless airport's design nowadays still throw departing passengers right in the mix of arriving passengers, especially in the boarding gate areas.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 05:53 AM   #2410
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But they don't need to wait, that's the whole point.
they have to wait at the moment due to lack of convenient pre-booking systems. when they do wait, the stations need to provide seating areas for them.

I understand after a lot of things are done, it is possible that the passengers don't need to wait. but the prerequisites have not been done, not even as of today.

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Why would current outlets be not very convenient? All it needs is more advanced purchase enabled in the software. And why should you not be able to buy a season ticket at the station or at an outlet?
the additional services have nothing to do with the convenience of the agencies themselves. current agencies are inconvenient because you have to make a trip to those agencies just for tickets, and this extra trip time varies depending on the availability of agencies in different cities. if train tickets can be purchased in many convenient stores like the way you can re-charge transportation cards, then it is a whole different story. if the current agencies are so convenient, why are so many people buying tickets at the railway stations? compared to online booking, they are really not that convenient.

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Railway platforms would never be half as bad as metro stations.
they are not comparable. average queuing time and duration at metro stations are much shorter than at (HSR) train stations. capacity issue aside, if you can make the HSR train station waiting process as short as the metro, then of course metro stations are sufficient.

again, we are talking about operation under current conditions. Ideally, things can run smoothly without glitches. In practice, they don't. It is just a much safer option for the authorities to build waiting halls. Plus, those gigantic waiting halls are almost always located at the railway hubs, and most stations along the line are quite small (for instance, HSR stations in Kunshan, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang and Xuzhou generally have station house on the scale of 2000 square meters to 6000 square meters). But even for railway hubs, I hope they can also minimize the waiting period and simplify the whole boarding process, and then make good use of the spare space for future plans.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #2411
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For the passengers that don't want to wait, they can always time themselves and arrive at the absolute last min at the waiting hall and then go through the ticket gates.

From a feasbility standpoint, I just don't see how the train station can eliminate the waiting hall area (or whatever you want to call it), you at least need some kind of space or floor for people to pass through right after the security check points, and then moving down to the platforms.
If you look closely, I calculated that the Shanghai Hongqiao station has about 3100 seats total at the waiting hall. It is really not that much considering there will be a train departing every few minutes when the station meet full capacity, and each train can carry around 1000 people. You just can't assume majority of the people will just arrive a few mins before the train departure time. The rotation of certain percentage of people that want to sit down, and rotate out to board the train can't happen that quickly. And again, as someone pointed out earlier, the waiting hall is needed to account for extreme over-flow condition such as the chinese new year.
It's not that the majority of people will arrive just before their train, but more that they want to catch the next train to leave whenever they arrive at the station. Platforms are used at waiting space for virtually all other HSR systems, Europe, Japan to name the typical examples, why is it only the Chinese who can't be trusted to manage space effectively amongst themselves? And compared to those systems Chinese platforms are huge.

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they have to wait at the moment due to lack of convenient pre-booking systems. when they do wait, the stations need to provide seating areas for them.

I understand after a lot of things are done, it is possible that the passengers don't need to wait. but the prerequisites have not been done, not even as of today.
But the stations will be operating way below capacity for some time to come. At the moment they are so empty they feel positively COLD.

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the additional services have nothing to do with the convenience of the agencies themselves. current agencies are inconvenient because you have to make a trip to those agencies just for tickets, and this extra trip time varies depending on the availability of agencies in different cities. if train tickets can be purchased in many convenient stores like the way you can re-charge transportation cards, then it is a whole different story. if the current agencies are so convenient, why are so many people buying tickets at the railway stations? compared to online booking, they are really not that convenient.
Ticket outlets are not that inconveniently located at all actually - there is usually one near every neighbourhood. You can pick up some railway tickets on your average shopping trip. Very few people get their tickets on the day at the station already. Also, if you introduce multi-buy or season tickets, then even if you have to get it at the station, you only get a ticket for say 1 trip in 10. So even without online ticketing a lot can be done.

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they are not comparable. average queuing time and duration at metro stations are much shorter than at (HSR) train stations. capacity issue aside, if you can make the HSR train station waiting process as short as the metro, then of course metro stations are sufficient.

again, we are talking about operation under current conditions. Ideally, things can run smoothly without glitches. In practice, they don't. It is just a much safer option for the authorities to build waiting halls. Plus, those gigantic waiting halls are almost always located at the railway hubs, and most stations along the line are quite small (for instance, HSR stations in Kunshan, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang and Xuzhou generally have station house on the scale of 2000 square meters to 6000 square meters). But even for railway hubs, I hope they can also minimize the waiting period and simplify the whole boarding process, and then make good use of the spare space for future plans.
Then MAKE them comparable. There is no logic why HSR shouldn't be operated as a long-distance metro, even under current conditions.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 12:12 PM   #2412
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It's not that the majority of people will arrive just before their train, but more that they want to catch the next train to leave whenever they arrive at the station. Platforms are used at waiting space for virtually all other HSR systems, Europe, Japan to name the typical examples, why is it only the Chinese who can't be trusted to manage space effectively amongst themselves? And compared to those systems Chinese platforms are huge.
Most seats on the Shinkansen are reserved seats.
Usually there are only three cars out of 16 that are open seats.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #2413
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Most seats on the Shinkansen are reserved seats.
Usually there are only three cars out of 16 that are open seats.
But they don't have huge waiting halls where people are expected to spend 30 minutes, do they?
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Old June 16th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #2414
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But they don't have huge waiting halls where people are expected to spend 30 minutes, do they?
Why would they?
They know their seats are secured so they can arrive 5 minutes before the train leaves the station and go to their assigned seats with a boxed lunch and a can of beer in their arms.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #2415
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But they don't have huge waiting halls where people are expected to spend 30 minutes, do they?
After watching this thread for a year or so, I've come to realise that High Speed Rail in China is becoming an awful lot like air travel, with the stations being a long way fromt he city centre, a (relatively) difficult booking process requiring I.D. cards, the Stations themselves bearing a strong resemblance to airports.
It seems that it is the capacity, eco-friendliness and the lack of delays that are what differentiate the services from air travel.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems those who planned the HSR network have shot themselves in the foot a little with this?
Maybe a Chinese forumer can explain what motives were behind this?
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:49 PM   #2416
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After watching this thread for a year or so, I've come to realise that High Speed Rail in China is becoming an awful lot like air travel, with the stations being a long way fromt he city centre, a (relatively) difficult booking process requiring I.D. cards, the Stations themselves bearing a strong resemblance to airports.
It seems that it is the capacity, eco-friendliness and the lack of delays that are what differentiate the services from air travel.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems those who planned the HSR network have shot themselves in the foot a little with this?
Maybe a Chinese forumer can explain what motives were behind this?
Political showpiece / lucrative contracts for friends and relations / little red envelopes under the table.

Delete as appropriate.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #2417
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After watching this thread for a year or so, I've come to realise that High Speed Rail in China is becoming an awful lot like air travel, with the stations being a long way fromt he city centre, a (relatively) difficult booking process requiring I.D. cards, the Stations themselves bearing a strong resemblance to airports.
It seems that it is the capacity, eco-friendliness and the lack of delays that are what differentiate the services from air travel.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems those who planned the HSR network have shot themselves in the foot a little with this?
Maybe a Chinese forumer can explain what motives were behind this?
So, what can be done instead of high speed trains? Slower, regular train lines?

People who are against this infrastructure project mostly belong two groups: 1) Airliners. 2) People who has political agenda.

I cannot think any other mode of transport other than high speed rail to move people in an efficient, fast, reliable way. With all my honesty I cannot think anything bad about high speed rail.

In high density places like China, Japan, Europe, India, some regions of USA high speed rail is the best way to move people.

Only "negative" thing about these trains may be relatively high ticket prices which is really a null point when you see full trains running every 5 minutes with 1000 people on each.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 07:49 PM   #2418
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So, what can be done instead of high speed trains? Slower, regular train lines?

People who are against this infrastructure project mostly belong two groups: 1) Airliners. 2) People who has political agenda.

I cannot think any other mode of transport other than high speed rail to move people in an efficient, fast, reliable way. With all my honesty I cannot think anything bad about high speed rail.

In high density places like China, Japan, Europe, India, some regions of USA high speed rail is the best way to move people.

Only "negative" thing about these trains may be relatively high ticket prices which is really a null point when you see full trains running every 5 minutes with 1000 people on each.
I think I have come across a little wrong.. I am entirely for the construction of HSR where appropriate, what I was questioning was the how the Chinese government chose to implement it, with the points I mentioned in the previous post.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #2419
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So, what can be done instead of high speed trains? Slower, regular train lines?
Slower, regular trains have their uses, I'm sure we can all agree. But the point he was making was not that HSR is bad, but rather that the stations are poorly placed and seem to function far too much like airports with complicated check-ins and such. Look at Tokyo and Paris: the HSR doesn't end outside the city with a subway line connecting into the city, the HSR there stops right in the thick of it!
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Old June 16th, 2011, 08:05 PM   #2420
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After watching this thread for a year or so, I've come to realise that High Speed Rail in China is becoming an awful lot like air travel, with the stations being a long way fromt he city centre, a (relatively) difficult booking process requiring I.D. cards, the Stations themselves bearing a strong resemblance to airports.
It seems that it is the capacity, eco-friendliness and the lack of delays that are what differentiate the services from air travel.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems those who planned the HSR network have shot themselves in the foot a little with this?
Maybe a Chinese forumer can explain what motives were behind this?
They build stations long way from city center because there is no space in the city center left, and even if they do the land acquisition cost is way too high. Another motive is to trigger new developments in the outskirts of the city, creating satellite towns in the suburb to channel the population away from city center. The ID requirement is to deter ticket tout that's rampant at railway stations. The stations are huge for crowd control reasons during peak travel season. Besides the fact that new stations are almost as far away from city center as airports, I don't see any problem with the latter two characteristics.
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