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What a Lotta World!

semi-overcast 12 °C

There's a whole lot of world out here, and we're only going to see a minuscule part of it.

We love travelling by train, that's why Stuart and I planned our Journey to Oz involving as few aircraft trips as possible. So far this only numbers one and that one was at the beginning and so doesn't really count…

!*!CLICHE ALERT!*!

When travelling by train the world passes by your window. Well actually it doesn't. Only the bits where the train tracks go, and what I've seen out of the window of our numerous Chinese trains, there's going to be a whole lot more of China visible through train windows in the future.

We've travelled over a thousand of miles on Chinese trains and nearly everywhere you look you can see the construction of pillars to carry new high speed train tracks. Maybe they're showing off by putting the trains on stilts or maybe they think digging a tunnel is a waste of effort like London's CrossRail or most of HS2 or the Chunnel (perhaps a tunnel was necessary for the last example...)

China is definitely not ashamed of showing their economic boom and progress in building infrastructure. I quite like the pillars (unlike wind turbines, don't get me started on those monstrosities...) It'll be a shame if nobody can afford to travel on the high speed trains when they arrive over the next decade, not that Chinese train travel is expensive, in fact compared to Western European train travel it's pennies, or yuannies. But the Chinese economy could collapse and all the infrastructure would litter the landscape like a ghost of the hopeful past

We have just spent 25 hours on a train from Guilin to Chengdu for a mere £49, you can't even go from Euston to Morecambe for that!

Chinese trains all have boiling water for a cuppa tea or a pot of noodles; a restaurant carriage and trolley service where you can buy anything from fresh fruit to a toy train; and they even have smoking areas. They have a guard or two in every compartment and security is tight, you're sometimes not permitted to move from class to class.

Glamourous?...well...

For those of you who haven't been on a train in China, or a train in any other country outside of Western Europe, they range in comfort from business class, airline style seats on high speed trains to hard beds, stacked three high and 66 to a carriage on rural long distance trains. It looks like a mobile mortuary, all you'd need are the toe tags.

The cleanliness also varies from operating theatre clean to needs fumigating or incinerating. Don't get me wrong, as I said, I like travelling by train and I'm sure more people would do a lot more of it in the UK if the price was affordable, without losing the standards.

Posted by ChipFondue 06:00 Archived in China

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