Tickets on sale for Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail

08:49, June 24, 2011      

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Retired teacher He Zhijun shows newly-bought tickets of the Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway at a ticket agency in Shanghai, east China, June 24, 2011. Ticket selling of the Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway started at 9 a.m. Friday. The 1,318-kilometer rail, which will officially start operation on June 30, is expected to significantly ease the transportation strain between the two metropolises and promote development and coordination between regional economies. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)

Finally, it's official! China's railway ministry yesterday announced June 30 as the start date for the Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail service. The first trains will leave both cities at 3pm that day.

Passengers will be able to buy tickets in advance, from 9am today, at prices ranging from 410 yuan to 1,750 yuan (US$270).

The service will be the first in Shanghai to offer paperless boarding, meaning that Chinese travelers holding the latest version of IDs need only scan their ID cards to get on the train.

Older versions of the ID cards doesn't work with the check-in scanner.

The Beijing-Tianjin high-speed link already uses paperless boarding.

However, the paperless service will not be available to foreigners, officials said. They will still need paper tickets before boarding.

But with their passports, they can purchase tickets from the national railway service's website, www.12306.cn.

Having obtained a voucher number, they can then go to designated ticket booths at the city's three railway stations or other outlets in the city to pick up tickets, officials said.

Railway officials say the new service will boost Shanghai's total rail capacity by 14 percent, or 270,000 passengers.

Some current train services will be cut after the opening of the new route, especially on the Shanghai-Nanjing line, and timetables will be updated.

"Locals should watch out for the changes, which would affect many of the current shuttle times," Zhu Wenzhong, Shanghai's chief railway official, said.

All the high-speed trains will arrive and leave from Hongqiao Railway Station, which will replace Shanghai Railway Station as the city's busiest railway terminal after July 1.

The earliest service to Beijing will leave the city at 7am and the latest at 5:55pm, officials said.

About 54 percent of the new bullet trains will travel at speeds of up to 300kph, the rest will operate at 250kph, officials said.

The travel time to Beijing's South Railway Station, where the line terminates, will be 4 hours 48 minutes, 4 hours 55 minutes or 5.5 hours, depending on the number of stops.

The 250kph service, which stops at more stations, will take just over eight hours.

The railway authority yesterday also announced a 5 percent reduction in ticket prices on the Shanghai-Nanjing bullet train. A second-class ticket at present costs 146 yuan.

Officials wanted to lower fares on the older service to avoid losing too many passengers to the new one.

Railway officials also said they had signed an agreement with China Eastern Airlines to integrate services in future. An initial program would allow passengers booking airline tickets to and from Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong, to also book train tickets between Shanghai and cities in the Yangtze Delta Region.

Ma Xulun, general manager of China Eastern Airlines, said the high-speed service was expected to take 15 percent to 20 percent of passengers from domestic airlines initially.

But after six months, air passenger volume on the route would recover to the same level as before, Ma said.

Source: Shanghai Daily
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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