Passengers praise overnight high-speed trains linking Hong Kong with Beijing, Shanghai

Bullet trains running between Hong Kong and Beijing operated only daytime services in the past.

Wu Kunling and Atlas Shao

Wu Kunling and Atlas Shao

China Daily


Passengers of the first sleeper train from Hong Kong to Beijing pose for a group photo with Hong Kong government officials and lawmakers before departure on June 15, 2024. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

June 18, 2024

BEIJING, HONG KONG – Passengers traveling on the first overnight high-speed trains linking Hong Kong with Beijing and Shanghai gave the thumbs up to the services, saying they’ve had a convenient and comfortable ride.

They said the sleeper trains, which began operations on Saturday, allowed them to have more time and energy to enjoy after arriving at their destinations for family reunions, meeting friends, visiting tourist attractions or doing business.

The first high-speed sleeper trains connecting the special administrative region with the nation’s capital and Shanghai, departed on Saturday evening and arrived at their destinations on Sunday morning. Such services will be available from Friday to Monday every week.

Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung took the inaugural sleeper train from Hong Kong and arrived in Beijing after 6 am on Sunday.

“I am grateful for the central government’s care for Hong Kong, and I am very delighted to come to Beijing to thank China Railway and various mainland authorities in person,” said Lam, who was received by representatives of the China State Railway Group Co, Ltd at the Beijingxi Station.

Lam and Mass Transit Railway Corp Ltd representatives later attended a meeting with China Railway officials to discuss how to further enhance the services of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

At Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Station on Saturday night, many people took group photos to mark the launch of the services. The MTR put up welcoming banners at the station and handed out souvenirs to arriving passengers.

Ordinary-class sleeper carriages can each accommodate four passengers, while premium-class carriages, which are available only on the Hong Kong-Shanghai route, have two passengers each.

The cabins are clean and well-lit, equipped with tables, lights for reading, charging sockets, slippers, clothe hangers, and cushions. Each cabinet can be independently adjusted for lighting and temperature.

Passengers gathered in groups of four or five on the lower berths to chat and enjoy the food and snacks provided, while some played poker games.

Passengers praise overnight high-speed trains linking Hong Kong with Beijing, Shanghai

One of the cabins of the first sleeper train from Hong Kong’s West Kowloon to Beijing consist of four berths, providing a clean, bright, and fully equipped environment. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

Leaving Hong Kong on the first sleeper train to Beijing, a 60-year-old traveler surnamed Low said the most important reason for choosing the sleeper train service is the comfort it provides.

She said for elderly passengers, being able to lie down during the journey is much more comfortable than sitting up on a high-speed train or an aircraft. She and her husband joined a tour group on an 8-day trip to Beijing, planning to visit landmark sites like the Summer Palace and Yonghe Lama Temple.

Richard Wang, who traveled on the same train, is from Beijing and has lived in Hong Kong for two years. He said the sleeper train service offers a better choice for him to visit his family in the capital. He had booked a ticket for the first train to Beijing immediately after the sleeper train service was announced.

Bullet trains running between Hong Kong and Beijing operated only daytime services in the past. With the overnight sleeper train service, Wang said he can leave the SAR on Friday night and return to the city on Monday morning, having more time to spend with his family.

Song, a 30-year-old dental professional took the sleeper train to return to Beijing after a week-long trip to Hong Kong. He said that, compared to airports, the sleeper train destination, Beijingxi Station, is much nearer to the capital’s downtown, and this saves him a lot of commuting after arrival there. A regular visitor to Hong Kong, he believes the overnight train service offers a big advantage to many people who need to travel between the two cities or do business.

A railroad photography enthusiast, surnamed Wong, who has taken pictures of various types of the nation’s high-speed trains, said he booked a ticket for the sleeper train to experience and record the launch of the new service.

He said the sleeper carriages are spacious, but the upper berth is a bit cramped. He suggests that further improvements could be made to enhance the comfort of passengers. He hopes that the national rail network can be further expanded to link up with more overseas countries.

Many mainland passengers also took the inaugural overnight sleeper train ride to Hong Kong.

Liu, a 75-year-old passenger, who has worked in Hong Kong for 18 years, said she normally returns to her hometown in Hebei province once every three months on the through train or by plane.

“It’s the first time I’ve traveled on the high-speed sleeper train and the bed is so comfortable. I don’t even feel like getting off the train,” she said.

Passengers praise overnight high-speed trains linking Hong Kong with Beijing, Shanghai

Passengers on first sleeper train from Hong Kong to Beijing enjoy the morning view along the railroad from the corridor seats on June 16, 2024. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

A passenger from Shanghai, surnamed Wang, said she took advantage of Father’s Day on Sunday to take his father to Hong Kong for a visit. Compared to other transportation modes, the new service allows them to save costs for an overnight stay in the SAR and allows them extra time for sightseeing.

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