Continuing my recent theme of travels across mainland China, today we’re retracing my journey from Shanghai to Beijing by high speed train.
Getting to the station
I made my way from my hotel across Shanghai by metro.
Arriving at Hongqiao Railway Station.
I rode the escalator up a level.
Until I could finally see the sky again.
Now – which ticket office do I need to go to?
Luckily I had already organised my ticket ahead of time, so just had to pick it up.
Then head off to the waiting room.
Which was massive.
You need to pass through a security checkpoint on the way in.
And put your luggage through an x-ray machine.
But once inside, there are seats everywhere.
Boarding gates along the walls.
And stalls selling snacks.
Finally time to board.
Everyone lines up to have their tickets checked.
Then down an escalator to platform level.
Time for a quick photo before departure.
And at 11am on the dot, away we go.
I was sitting in first class.
A copy of the ‘People’s Railway Daily’ newspaper in my seatback.
After leaving the station, we paralleled a CRH2 high-speed train out of Shanghai.
And passed through an array of flyovers leading back towards the platforms.
Down below, the Hongqiao EMU Depot.
With sidings that went on for seemingly forever.
Maintenance facility for the hundreds of high-speed trains based in Shanghai.
And into the countryside
The outskirts of Shanghai were covered with tiled roofs.
Our train soon hit it’s top speed of 301 km/h.
We soon passed the shores of Yangcheng Lake.
Located 60 kilometres out of Shanghai.
Apartment blocks beside European-style houses.
Our train passed over many freeways.
Fields and village houses.
And even a ferris wheel atop a shopping centre!
First stop – Nanjing South
For much of the journey, we were speeding through minor stations at 300 km/h.
Until we approached the junction station of Nanjing South.
We passed over roads leading to nowhere.
As the number of tracks multiplied.
Until we arrived into the platform.
Then after a quick stop, we were off again.
Into the mountains
As we continued north towards Beijing, we passed the shadows of Mount Tai.
Running parallel to the ‘old’ Beijing-Shanghai railway.
Overtaking slower locomotive hauled passenger trains.
And even slower freight services.
Second stop – Jinan West
We came back into urban life on the outskirts of Jinan.
Greeted by railway viaducts.
And a traction power substation.
Before we arrived at Jinan West station.
We were timetabled there for a few minutes, I stepped out for a quick photo.
As did the smokers for a cigarette break.
Then away we went, passing another railway junction.
And over the Yellow River.
Into Hebei province
Fields and apartment blocks greeted me to Cangzhou.
And a massive coal fired power station.
We flew over a ‘normal’ speed railway.
And a freeway.
A third one.
And a fourth.
A “confinement farm” for dairy cows.
Chinese-style ‘passive solar’ greenhouses.
And new apartment developments creeping across the countryside.
Third stop – Tianjin West
New apartment blocked towered over the traditional houses of Tianjin.
Tower cranes everywhere.
We sped past the offices of German engineering firm Siemens.
And a sea of blue roofed industrial buildings.
And another coal fired power station.
Then a quick station stop – and off again.
And finally into Beijing
Our high-speed train was now running parallel with the ‘conventional’ railway.
Our train speeding past loaded freight trains.
And shunting yards.
We passed People’s Liberation Army equipment located onto a military train.
And slower local passenger trains.
Chimneys welcoming us to the outskirts of Beijing.
Along with telecommunication towers.
Traffic on the roads.
And an Ikea store.
Finally, more tracks joined our route.
And we finally arrived into Beijing South railway station at 3:55pm – 4 hours 55 minutes after we left Shanghai.
Time to say goodbye to our train.
A train driver salutes his departing colleague.
As the train sets off into the sunset.
As I end the day the same way I started – a subway ride to my hotel.