Ningbo to Nanjing

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by XHRTSP, Nov 16, 2018.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Nov 16, 2018 #1

    XHRTSP

    XHRTSP

    XHRTSP

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    327
    I’ll be deadheading tomorrow from Ningbo to Nanjing, China via one of the high speed G trains.  Anyone here with Chinese HSR experience have any tips or useful knowlege to share for a first timer on this system?
     
  2. Nov 16, 2018 #2

    flitcraft

    f

    flitcraft

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    146
    You probably already know this, but you will need your passport to buy a ticket. This is a relatively new rule, and I almost got caught out last year when I tried to buy a ticket in the Shanghai station without mine. I ended up arguing that my Global Entry card was just about the same as a passport, identification-wise, and after several huddled consultations with supervisory staff, they decided to let me on!  Security at Shanghai involves both a metal detecting wand of one's person and xray of your luggage, so be sure to keep metal items off your person till after security or you will get a free, if impersonal, massage. Again, I would guess Ningbo has similar security.

    There are three classes of travel: second class, first class, and business class. The difference between second class and first class is that second class seating is three and two, so you might end up in the middle seat. The seats are okay on legroom, but they are pretty narrow. First class seats are better in width and legroom, and a bit more padded, and they feature an outlet at every seat pair that works with Chinese, European, or North American plugs.  The price difference is minimal, so I'd pick first class for the greater seat comfort. For the ultimate in train seat comfort, though, think about business class.  They have two and two lie-flat seats, with snacks and an economy-airline-quality meal included on the Shanghai-Beijing run--I would guess the same would be true on Ningbo-Nanjing.  Business class also has some amenities provided--the ubiquitous disposable slippers, eyeshades, and a blanket. The price increase for business class is pretty substantial, so I personally do not think it is worth the money for lie-flat seats for such a short time. But YMMV.

    There is a buffet car on the train where you can buy snacks and instant noodles, available to all classes of passengers.  Food quality is not the selling point here; eat first or afterwards and just snack on the train. 

    The train is surprisingly smooth and quiet, so quiet that I don't bother with noise-cancelling headphones. In business class you have your own foldout TV monitor for watching Chinese TV; in the other cabins there is a TV monitor suspended from the the ceiling of the car. Personally I bring my own electronica for amusement. 

    This train will spoil you for ordinary train travel, I'm afraid...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2018
  3. Nov 16, 2018 #3

    XHRTSP

    XHRTSP

    XHRTSP

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    327
    I’ll have a biz class ticket since this is a business trip paid by the company.  I’m sure after this the Cascades will never again measure up :-(
     
  4. Nov 16, 2018 #4

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm curious now, if Business Class offers lie flat seats and individual TVs, how long a ride can it be? I feel like you'd have to be traveling quite a distance for a high speed train to take so long that lie flat seats need to be offered.
     
  5. Nov 16, 2018 #5

    flitcraft

    f

    flitcraft

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    146
    My impression (without having ridden all of the HST lines in China by any stretch), is that the hard product is identical for all G level trains. So, even those that are 4 or 5 hours long feature the lie-flat seats in Business Class. (At least, I can vouch that all the G trains that I have taken have the same standard hard product.) For the Hong Kong to Beijing route, you'd definitely want to consider lie-flat if it were in your budget!

    As for whether lie flat seats are generally needed or not, I think status differentiation is the root of the need for a dramatically different hard product for Business Class. Ironically, in the airline world, that has tended to doom true international First Class, since it is hard to provide enough of a status differentiation between today's business class, with lie flat seats and privacy pods. Of course, the ultra first class suites of a few airlines do provide that differentiation, but by and large, three class international flights these days tend to be business class, premium economy, and economy, rather than first class, business class, and economy class as was more common in the past. (Not that I know anything about the tonier digs of first class from experience, sadly...)
     
  6. Nov 17, 2018 #6

    XHRTSP

    XHRTSP

    XHRTSP

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    327
    I just finished my trip and I have to say the Chinese trains are quite impressive.  They were fast, smooth, and on time.  The biz seats were nice too.  Now if only we could have this in the US...

    When we got down to the platform one of my first officers stated we must not be on a high speed since all the track was just simple steel rails.  High speed trains after all have to float on magnets.  I had to go all AU on him and explain curvature and grade seperations and all that.  I definitely got to fly my train geek flag.
     
  7. Nov 17, 2018 #7

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    You don't necessarily even need curvature or grade separations for high speed rail. And I really have no idea how your first officer got the impression that high speed trains are exclusively maglev, since it's basically the other way around - there are only a couple operational maglev trains in the world, and it is a vastly harder and more complex technology to implement than conventional rails.  :huh:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2018
  8. Nov 17, 2018 #8

    flitcraft

    f

    flitcraft

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    146
    Well, lots of folks who ride trains (even a lot) know very little about them from a technical perspective. Take me, for example. I've ridden trains both in the US and all ovrr the world, enjoy train travel very much, but being on AU I can see how much I have no understanding of. In fact, when I first started reading this forum, I knew nothing technical about rail travel, now I know next to nothing. So, keep up the good work of educating me!
     
  9. Dec 5, 2018 #9

    Steve4031

    S

    Steve4031

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    5,541
    Location:
    Chicago
    Those lie flat seats would be interesting on Amtrak.   Thank you for the trip report.  
     

Share This Page

arrow_white