Catching on to the thrill of a truly memorable experience

10:05, December 28, 2009      

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It took me around 1 hour by taxi to travel from downtown Guangzhou to the north railway station in the city's Huadu district on Saturday morning.

Yes, I was catching the first high-speed train departing at 9 am from the southern city to Wuhan in Hubei province.

"The train, for sure, is faster. But like taking a flight, you need to leave for the railway station from the downtown area at least 2 hours before the train departs. To some degree, that also costs you some time," the taxi driver surnamed Fan said.

Neither I, nor the taxi driver, had been to the railway station before, although both of us are natives of Guangzhou.

The city's north railway station, which was renovated before the high-speed rail between Guangzhou and Wuhan started operation, is located in the suburban district of Huadu, more than 40 km away from downtown Guangzhou.

Although I spent a total of 2 hours in the taxi and waiting for the train to depart, this was my first experience of the world's fastest passenger train - it took only 2 hours and 45 minutes from Guangzhou to Wuhan.

I failed to notice buildings as I walked out of the Wuhan station - a truly magnificent building - except for red banners and flags welcoming the train's first run.

The train started on its return journey to Guangzhou at 12:45 pm. This time, the whole journey took more than three hours as the train stopped for about three minutes at each of the designated 14 stations on its route.

To prepare for the high-speed train service, all stations along the Wuhan-Guangzhou rail have either been built recently or renovated.

But passengers have to leave their homes earlier to catch the train as most of the stations are far from urban areas.

The Guangzhou south railway station in Panyu district will also become operational before Spring Festival and cater to the high-speed train service, Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said.

That will mean many residents like me, who live in the southern part of the city, will use the new line more often.

I won't need to get up at 6 am to catch a train departing at

9 am, that's for sure.

Source: China Daily
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