Peter Geran took the new high speed rail service from Shanghai Hongqiao to Beijing South last Monday August 29 and thought Plane Talking might be interested in his photos and trip notes because of our interest in competing modes of travel.

Not just interested. Fascinated!

The tranquil alternative to any major airport in China: Photo by Peter Geran

First Hand travel experiences, illustrated and annotated,  on all modes of travel, are most welcome here, including those from the past, where all too often the tickets, the photos, and the notes, have deteriorated before being digitally scanned and cataloged.

This isn’t just an invitation for readers to share their product experiences, but in another sense, provide an insight into the times, into how people travelled, what the cities and towns are like, or were like. The photos don’t have to be good, or super smooth, like the manipulated, enhanced and perfectly prearranged images or videos that airlines, or rail systems offer and often place on social media.

First class seat on G16 from Shanghai to Beijing: Photo Peter Geran

A candid or casual photo that contains relevant information may be of much more use to a traveller than something created with promotional or sales intent. (But hey, promotional art like the old airline and railway posters for Qantas Empire Airways or the Spirit of Progress, circa 1949 are to be treasured.)

Our China traveller caught train G16 for his trip to Beijing from Shanghai, and using a hand held GPS unit, tracked the 1318 kilometres journey as taking 4 hours 55 minutes, and arriving some 45 seconds later than scheduled.  It cruised at more than 300 kmh much of the way, and he travelled in a first class seat in a four across carriage configuration for the equivalent of $148, compared to $88 in second class (with much denser seating arranged two by three across), or $276 for the business class product (arranged two by one in cars similar to those in the premium carriages on Eurostar and many HSR services in Europe.)

So you want space? Business class on G16: Photo Peter Geran

The business class seats resemble those used on Qantas A380s. Peter Geran paid around $25 more for his tickets by buying them online from a service that has always promptly couriered his tickets to his hotel, saving time and the potential frustration involved in finding the right train ticket window and navigating a book and purchase process that he compares unfavorably to the ease of station purchases of shinkansen HSR tickets in Japan, where he was based for some years.

Peter Geran’s photos here are taken with permission from his album of Shanghai-Beijing photos on Facebook.

He lives in Australia but travels extensively in Asia, and notes that:

In Asia, I have been on the high speed rail in Japan ( everywhere), Korea (KTX), on the Taiwan HSR , and now in China.

The amazing thing in all of these countries, is that the trains are clean, and with no graffiti, unlike the more developed countries like Australia. ( ????? ).  I live in Nerang, and take the train to Brisbane airport.  The maximum speed is  briefly 140 km/ hour, and mostly at 80km/ hour or less. Graffiti is on the windows, and the trains just look dirty.  Which is the ” advanced country,”  I wonder?