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Domestic airfare

Domestic airfare

Old Jun 5, 2023, 9:47 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by narvik
It depends on quite a few things.
The train is generally more reliable as far as on-time arrival is concerned.
I have done plenty of train trips on this route, and prefer it to flying, but I usually book BUSINESS class train tickets (better than FIRST).
Yes that's what I have been told to book Business class as when they started they had First and economy so now Business class is better than the First class. How would you consider the comfort of traveling in Business class on the fast train?
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Old Jun 5, 2023, 10:00 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Davvidd
Yes that's what I have been told to book Business class as when they started they had First and economy so now Business class is better than the First class. How would you consider the comfort of traveling in Business class on the fast train?
Comfort wise, it's much better than F on narrow-body flights, and on par with CA and MU biz on bigger planes. But, the train food is god awful (even if you don't eat it, there's no escaping the odors),, train stations are not nice places, and many HSR stations are inconvenient to access. Flights on PEK-SHA and other trunk routes have been MUCH more reliable ever since X took over (the army doesn't seem to mess with him).

BTW, I know many people are confused by the business class terminology, but the official English translation is "executive class" on these trains. First class was already a standard product before HSR existed, so they needed something else and got lazy, I guess.
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Old Jun 5, 2023, 10:06 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by Davvidd
Is it better to fly from Shanghai to Beijing or take the fast train?
The train will be more comfortable, and probably faster on average, but it depends a bit on where in Shanghai are you starting from, and where in Beijing are you going to. SHA is co-located with Shanghai's main HSR station. But PEK is quite far from Beijing West. You should optimize for travel time from the transit station to your final destination.
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Old Jun 5, 2023, 10:07 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog
BTW, I know many people are confused by the business class terminology, but the official English translation is "executive class" on these trains. First class was already a standard product before HSR existed, so they needed something else and got lazy, I guess.
They copied the European train class system (on the fancier trains like some TGVs), which is Executive (or Business or Premier)/First/Second
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Old Jun 5, 2023, 10:14 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by boat stuck
The train will be more comfortable, and probably faster on average, but it depends a bit on where in Shanghai are you starting from, and where in Beijing are you going to. SHA is co-located with Shanghai's main HSR station. But PEK is quite far from Beijing West. You should optimize for travel time from the transit station to your final destination.
At least for Beijing-Shanghai, my door-to-door average times have been consistently better on planes than trains for the past 3+ years. Remember, you're talking about 2 hours v 5 hours en route, which is a pretty significant buffer. On shorter distances, the calculus is different.
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Old Jun 6, 2023, 4:00 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by Davvidd
How would you consider the comfort of traveling in Business class on the fast train?
It's pretty nice. There's also [basic] lounge access pre-departure.
I find the whole train experience less stressful overall than flying.

But it's true that the distance Beijing-Shanghai is just around the cutoff where I'd even consider the train.
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Old Jun 6, 2023, 4:36 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by narvik
It's pretty nice. There's also [basic] lounge access pre-departure.
I find the whole train experience less stressful overall than flying.

But it's true that the distance Beijing-Shanghai is just around the cutoff where I'd even consider the train.
I find the PEK-SHA express experience (I think all flights on the route qualify except for maybe 9C in SHA because they use T1, but that's easy anyway) to be far less stressful than dealing with most busy train stations. Check-in is always fast, I can check my bag, and the terminals are civilized places with good food options, whether or not I visit a lounge. When I do end up on the train, I find myself loading up on KFC at the station instead of going to the basic lounges...not because I like KFC, but because it is portable, and I don't want to starve on the train itself.

Some of the airports I fly to are almost as chaotic as train stations, but I wouldn't dream of taking trains from Nanning or Guilin to Shanghai (too far), I deal. And, even those airports have decent, if way overpriced, restaurants.

If I do happen to be going to Xuzhou or another non-busy station stop on HSR, then the train is a more civilized experience, at least on that end.

I still enjoy taking slower overnight trains when I'm traveling for leisure because deluxe soft sleepers are quite comfortable, and they have actual kitchens (as opposed to the microwaves G and D trains are stuck with). The Beijing-Shanghai overnight trains used to be quite nice (no deluxe, though), in fact. But, the D trains pretty much destroyed that glamour. Sure they are 2 hours faster than the Z trains they replaced, but just like G trains, they are soulless. I'm not sure why they still exist.
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Old Jun 6, 2023, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by moondog
But, the D trains pretty much destroyed that glamour. Sure they are 2 hours faster than the Z trains they replaced, but just like G trains, they are soulless. I'm not sure why they still exist.
They exist so China Railways can jack up the fare somewhere from 30-70%.
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Old Jun 6, 2023, 1:14 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by boat stuck
They exist so China Railways can jack up the fare somewhere from 30-70%.
I do seem to recall that D prices were significantly higher than T/Z prices during the ~5 year period that D existed and G didn't, but these current prices below aren't a huge leap from what Z cost when it was still offered on SH-BJ. I suppose the potential appeal of the D trains is that you get a (4 beth per cabin) soft sleeper for roughly the same price as a second class (seat) ticket on a G train, and can save on a night's hotel room (endpoints at Shanghai Stn and Beijing Stn are a minor advantage, as well). Regardless of the economics, it's simply not a nice experience. There are definitely still great overnight trains in service today....just not between Beijing and Shanghai.

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Old Jun 6, 2023, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
I do seem to recall that D prices were significantly higher than T/Z prices during the ~5 year period that D existed and G didn't, but these current prices below aren't a huge leap from what Z cost when it was still offered on SH-BJ. I suppose the potential appeal of the D trains is that you get a (4 beth per cabin) soft sleeper for roughly the same price as a second class (seat) ticket on a G train, and can save on a night's hotel room (endpoints at Shanghai Stn and Beijing Stn are a minor advantage, as well). Regardless of the economics, it's simply not a nice experience. There are definitely still great overnight trains in service today....just not between Beijing and Shanghai.

Oh these.

These aren't even real D trains (which are high speed electrical multiple units capable of at least 250km/h). The 700-series D trains are basically the Z trains (160 km/h max) repackaged to look like a high speed train, but underneath the streamlining it's a locomotive pulling type 25T carriages, same as the Z trains. Chinese railfans call them garbage bins 桶 since they're the same shade of light green as Chinese garbage containers, not white like the EMUs.

There are real D overnight sleepers on Beijing-Guangzhou, Shanghai-Guangzhou, and a few others on the weekends (250 km/h). They're all D9XX. For Shanghai-Guangzhou at least, the prices are 115% of the Z soft sleeper and 210% of the Z hard sleeper, but still cheaper than second class G.


Last edited by boat stuck; Jun 6, 2023 at 3:21 pm
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Old Jun 11, 2023, 2:03 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by moondog
I do seem to recall that D prices were significantly higher than T/Z prices during the ~5 year period that D existed and G didn't, but these current prices below aren't a huge leap from what Z cost when it was still offered on SH-BJ. I suppose the potential appeal of the D trains is that you get a (4 beth per cabin) soft sleeper for roughly the same price as a second class (seat) ticket on a G train, and can save on a night's hotel room (endpoints at Shanghai Stn and Beijing Stn are a minor advantage, as well). Regardless of the economics, it's simply not a nice experience. There are definitely still great overnight trains in service today....just not between Beijing and Shanghai.

D7XX trains aka the garbage bins exist solely for CR to price their own tickets, they only got a max speed of 160km/h and are just 25T trains that have a redeveloped interior, typical Z/T/K trains haven't had a fare rise in 25 years and any attempts to increase the price need approval from 发改委. Typical D trains on the other hand, usually represent High-Speed Railway Services that have a maximum speed of 250km/h.
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Old Jun 11, 2023, 11:07 pm
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While we're on the topic of sleepers and pricing, opinions on the Q sleepers (Beijing/Shanghai to HK)? I haven't taken one in a long while and I'd like to give it another go. Although I guess that's not strictly domestic.
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Old Jun 12, 2023, 10:11 pm
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Originally Posted by jamar
While we're on the topic of sleepers and pricing, opinions on the Q sleepers (Beijing/Shanghai to HK)? I haven't taken one in a long while and I'd like to give it another go. Although I guess that's not strictly domestic.
I think the Beijing/Shanghai-Hong Kong Hung Hom "through trains" that used the conventional rail network are permanently gone, now that the high speed rail link to HK is up and running.
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Old Jun 13, 2023, 6:35 am
  #29  
 
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Flying from Daxing in Beijing is a very slick experience. I'd fly to Shanghai from there for sure, but I'd take the train over going to PEK.
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Old Jun 13, 2023, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by j223
Flying from Daxing in Beijing is a very slick experience. I'd fly to Shanghai from there for sure, but I'd take the train over going to PEK.
It likely depends where you are in Beijing though; for me, both PEK and PKX are about the same distance/time, but if I'd have the choice, I'd prefer PKX. Unfortunately it's still limited in the destinations (and airlines) I can get to from there.


PKX during Covid especially nice!



Last edited by narvik; Jun 13, 2023 at 3:09 pm
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