Next leg of the trip is the train journey from Shenzhen to Shanghai. It's an early morning taxi ride to Shenzhen North station because metro opens only 6:30 which is too late to catch a train from Shenzhen North at 7:00 in the morning.
The 07:00 D2282 train bound for Tianjin, along with a couple of other trains originating at the same time, seems to be the first train departing Shenzhen North. This train will take me to Shanghai. The distance is 1623km and it takes precisely 12 hours to get from Shenzhen to Shanghai. It may seem like a long and tiring journey but in reality it was anything but.
It may have been helped by the fact that I booked 1st class ticket (larger seats with plenty of room all over the place even for a tall person like myself) but the overall comfort and smooth ride of the train was a major factor too. The experience was simply top-notch. And of course the views along the way.
Given that this entire railway route opened less than a year ago and that previously there wasn't ANY railroad along the same route it gives a good idea what a game-changing factor this was for people who travel along China's Eastern coast. Modern hi-speed trainsets, state of the art railway stations some of which can be compared to modern airports in terms of complexity and size, nice on-board service, smartly dressed (and pretty ) on-board attendants offering food and drinks, constant mobile network coverage at any speed including tunnels. Pretty amazing when you realize that none of this existed just a few years ago.
Train travel in China has gone from complicated and messy to smooth and sexy (and very fast) almost overnight. And it was a great pleasure to experience this.
I made a 5 minute video compilation capturing the entire 1600km 12 hour journey.
Before departing a quick glimpse at Shenzhen North Railway Station.
Opened at the end of 2011 it's one of many ultramodern mega-stations that popped up (and keep popping up) in all major cities in China to serve new hi-speed railway lines. Just one of the links in what is probably the largest transport infrastructure development to have ever taken place in the world.
The station is located about 8km to the North from the Civic Center (Futian CBD) and can be reached by two different metro lines. Much of the surrounding areas seem to be under heavy development with residential and infrastructure projects underway.
Personally I find Shenzhen North to be the most architecturally and aesthetically pleasing station building in China. It simply looks amazing.
CRH2B trainset which is made up of 16 cars and can travel at a cruising speed of 250km/h. Most of the time (between Shenzhen and Ningbo) top speed didn't exceed 202km/h while between Ningbo and Shanghai (via Hangzhou) it pushed up all the way to 250km/h
Train tickets. Tickets can be bought at any station for any route. Tickets are checked at least 4 times: once upon entering the main station waiting hall, then while boarding the train at the gate, then inside the train by on-board attendant and finally after exiting the train at the destination (automatic gates). A bit of an overkill perhaps
Inside of the 1st class carriage of the CRH2B train. The seats are spacious and comfortable. Even a 12 hour ride didn't cause any problems in terms of comfort or fatigue. There is a dining carriage (might be hard to get a seat though) and quite a few options of food for purchase including beer. Overall a great travel experience
Between the cars
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