COMPARED to the first bullet train that will leave Shanghai for Beijing on the new high-speed line, other forthcoming services have received a lukewarm response – at least for now.
Rail officials said business travelers and students were most likely to opt for the high-speed train and also “many others would like to experience the journey at the very beginning.”
The Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail will have 90 pairs of service along the route each day. At Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, the high-speed trains will leave between 7am and 5:55pm.
All the tickets, including luxury seats costing 1,750 yuan (US$270.50), on the 1,000-seater maiden train which leaves at 3pm tomorrow were taken.
However, high-speed services with stops at several stations along the 1,318-kilometer route are seemingly out in the cold.
Take G154, which will depart from Shanghai in the afternoon on July 1, for example. Only 100-plus seats out of more than 1,000 tickets on the high-speed train were sold out by late yesterday.
However, regular trains, though slower, are turning out to be more popular.
And the night trains between the two cities are seeing a rush of passengers.
Starting from Friday, the rail operator would cut 10 sleeper train services between the two cities, leaving only one night service – T110.
The tickets for the T110 train by July 6 were all booked, according to the railway customer service record.
Despite the journey on the T110 lasting nearly 14 hours, passengers said the prices are much lower and they would “save accommodation cost by sleeping on the train.”
Railway officials explained that the ticket prices range from 655 yuan to 730 yuan on the sleep berth trains, but tickets for standard seats on the high-speed train cost 410 yuan to 555 yuan, which makes the latter less competitive.
The operator said it has no plan of introducing night trains for the high-speed service as most passengers would not choose to leave Shanghai at 8pm or 9pm and arrive in Beijing early next morning.