Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail to remove luxury seats

14:21, April 20, 2011      

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The operators of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail that is scheduled to be put into operation at the end of June will remove luxury train seats and lower the operating speed in order to better meet the needs of common passengers by charging lower fares, the railway authorities said on April 19.

Earlier, the new trains for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway were all produced under the standard of running at the maximum speed of 380 kilometers per hour and at the normal speed of 350 kilometers per hour. However, according to the latest provisions by the Ministry of Railways, the maximum speed of the trains will be lowered to 300 kilometers per hour and the aviation-grade luxury seats will be replaced by standard seats.

"China's high-speed railway sector has set safety, reliability, economy and availability to common people as the new emphasis, attempting to enable more common passengers to enjoy the convenience of high-speed railways," a transport expert who declined to give his name told reporters.

Although foreign high-speed trains also run at speeds up to 400 kilometers per hour and some even more than 500 kilometers per hour, foreign operators all left sufficient safety redundancy for the trains when putting them into actual operation. This is why the highest operating speed of high-speed railway trains in developed countries stands at only at 320 kilometers per hour.

Furthermore, after the speed of a railway train exceeds 320 kilometers per hour, the costs of energy consumption for the train will double for a rise of every 10 kilometers per hour in the speed. Therefore, high-speed operators cannot focus only on lifting operation speeds but rather select an operating mode that can best fulfill practical needs and is most economically feasible.

After the operation speed for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway is lowered, a non-stop high-speed train is expected to complete the journey between Beijing and Shanghai in five hours instead of four hours as originally planned.

To compete for high-end commercial passengers with the aviation sector, the operators of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway once planned to use aviation-grade train seats as its biggest selling point. They added not only VIP cabins similar to first-class aircraft cabins to the trains but also commercial cars equipped with flatbed seats.

However, luxury facilities on most high-speed trains are being removed and will be restored into common high-speed trains with only first and second-class seats. This will help enlarge the fare difference between the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway and air travel, as well as lift the passenger occupancy rate.

By People's Daily Online
 
 
     
 
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(Editor:张茜)

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