New railway provides another option for travelers during Spring Festival rush

World Today

Amid the travel rush of the Spring Festival, some will have another way to get around this holiday.

A brand new railway route has opened in southern China.

And it’s already a big hit.

CGTN’s Frances Kuo has more.

A man named Gao wanted to be the first – and he got his wish.

“I told myself to be sure to take the first train, as I dreamed,” he said.  “I tried very hard, and finally I got my ticket for this first train.”

Gao was one of the first passengers on a newly built railway, connecting the cities of Chongqing and Guiyang, about 350 kilometers to the south.  It’s a trip that normally takes 10 hours.  Now, it will take two.

The trains will carry passengers at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour with a dozen stops along the route. 

“As the elder brother in my family, I have quite a few brothers and sisters. Every year, I had to travel hours for our reunion, which was quite troublesome,” said Gao.

It’s already proving to be a popular line, not just for reuniting families.  The provinces linked to the railway are major job markets.  The railway’s debut also comes amid the busy Spring Festival.

“This year, the transport pressure of this line will be alleviated greatly, and its capacity for passengers will be significantly larger,” Qin Fei, senior engineer for China Railway Nanning Group said.

Enhancing the experience are special-themed train cars that promote the local culture.

“It is more beautiful than other high-speed trains I have taken before,” said one passenger.

China currently has the world’s largest high-speed rail network.  By 2030, Beijing plans to extend high-speed lines to a total of 45,000 kilometers.

“My daughter works in Guangxi,” said passenger Chen Qin.  “It would normally take me more than 20 hours by traditional trains to reach her. Now the high-speed trains are open, it will save time and the fare is cheap, too. It is really amazing.”