We Can’t Wait! A Look INSIDE China’s New HSR Trains

This is original content from an earlier constituent site, and dates from before April 2012. There are very minor edits to the original text.

The new CRH380 series of express trains are China’s best things on the rails yet. Thankfully, there’s now the option of a “private seat” as in one where there are no “neighbours” seated next to you. (In Europe, especially in Switzerland and Germany, that seat is nearly always available.)

That “private seat” can be a godsend. There have been cases when the un-dear passenger next to me burped, farted, or opened his mouth and let out a breath chock full of tobacco. It was worse than imprisonment (I would imagine!), and that would certainly make a trip on those train less “harmonious”! I fork out the extra cash for a VIP seat on the HSR to Tianjin simply because it’s by itself, and because I want to work undisturbed and/or because I’ve had a recent bad case of a fart machine / tobacco addict seated next to me.

That, dear passengers, can be total hell.

So how do the new HSR trains stack up in terms of seat layout? Well, here’s good news: they’re better. There are four individual seats in the whole train on HSR trains now bound for Tianjin. With those new monsters on the rails, there’s a fair bit more than just four “hot seats”.

(A seat on its own is also cool if you’re working on something private or even “secretive”!)

So let’s get on with the show. The pictures… (note: they were taken at this recent event in Beijing called Modern Railways 2010. It was cool if you were there!)

Here’s the dining car. An extended seat: good for (at least) two people. Big enough seat. Cinnamon in colour. Not bad.


Second class riders (or Standard class — as I prefer) will have to deal with the much detested “middle seat” syndrom. But hey, it’s still 2+3: there will only be one middle seat per row. (If the rail gods are smart they’ll offer that at a lower price.) All seats are blue.


First class. The middle seats are gone; it’s now 2+2 and all seats are now red. They’ll probably have better recline, too.


VIP class. A godsend. Finally, your own private seat (1+2). Also, you’ve your own bed, as the seat can become a lie-flat slumberette. Absolute heaven on the rails. Cinnamon-ish seats.


Best seats at the front and the back of every train. God’s gift for those who travel by train. Private seats basically throughout, with very few exceptions. All in royal-deluxe-esque cinnamon.


OK. That’s got me onto something. I need a CRH380 dosis real bad on the Shanghai-Hangzhou HSR real quick…

By David Feng

David Feng — founder and publisher, Tracking China, a Street Level China website.

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