© 2012 stephan

Super Size Train

Like everything in china the trains are as super sized as the rest of the country. I recently had to opportunity to take the new high speed railway from shanghai to Beijing.

And what’s not to like: 5 hours for a 1000km journey, the flights between shanghai and Beijing are always crowded and sold old and even more annoyingly late – like super late stuck on the runway and waiting for take off for 2 hours late.

The first thing you notice arriving at the new Hongquiao train station in Shanghai that just opened next to the equally new hongqiao airport is that the train terminal and the airport terminal are the same size. The raw immensity of this only becomes apparent when you enter the terminal hall – the size of an airport – and one single, giant hall about 1,2 km in length. Wow.

After you board the trains, which are disappointingly spartan (especially compared to other high speed trains like the ICE) the train quietly accelerates to its top speed of 310 km/h. It’s quite impressive to see the sub-urbs of Shanghai (chinese sub-urbs are 25 floor high-rises) fly by at 3 times American highway speed.

While the Shanghai Beijing express is not setting any speed records (the maglev to Pudong airport in shanghai operates at 427 km/h and the French TGV holds the land speed record with 574 km/h) it’s still impressive to see the Chinese countryside zip away in front of your eyes.

After the jump some shots and a video. Enjoy.






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