VIP seats could be stripped from Beijing-Shanghai high-speed trains

10:32, May 14, 2011      

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The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train operational timetable has been decided but it remains unclear whether luxury seats will be removed from trains on the route, according to a Ministry of Railways official.

Trains reached 300 kilometers per hour Wednesday, the first day of the one-month trial. The fastest train, which only stops once in Nanjing station, took four hours and 48 minutes. The slowest train, stopping at seven stations, took five hours and 30 minutes.

Trains will make a total of 90 journeys in each direction running at average hourly speeds of either 300 or 250 kilometers when commercial operation begins in June, a ministry press officer surnamed Wang told the Global Times on Thursday.

"There are three types of schedule, including trains that stop once at Nanjing, trains that stop at provincial capital cities and trains that stop at some others of the 24 stations along the route," he said.

The Beijing Morning Post had reported that luxury seats on the trains would be replaced by normal seats in order to keep ticket prices down, but Wang said on Thursday that he had no information about this.

VIP carriages on test trains had curtains drawn across their windows, the Shanghai Youth Daily reported.

Two types of high-speed train, the CRH380A and CRH380B, designed to travel at up to 380 kilometers per hour, will ply the route. Both have 16 carriages, including three first-class carriages, 10 second-class carriages, two engines and one dining car.

The trains are equipped with baby nursing sets, luggage cabinets, garbage cans and LCDs.

The varied schedule will suit passengers with different travel demands but the luxury seats are a bad idea, according to Wang Mengshu, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University's School of Civil Engineering.

"Trains are supposed to serve as many passengers as possible and therefore luxury seats have no place on them," he told the Global Times on Thursday.

By Zhou Ping, Global Times
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