CRH @ 10 is a year-long (2016-2017) series focusing on China’s HSR developments as it celebrates 10 years of CRH express train services in 2017.
Granted, nature makes a call at the most unexpected times. But the issue in China is less if you can successfully outfox your “competing fellow passenger” for entry to the loo, or to “successfully” master the art of using squat toilets; it’s more a question of can you answer the call in the first place!
Rail rules require train crew to shut and lock toilets on regular trains whenever trains are in the metropolitan areas of larger cities, or are actually calling and stopping at stations. The rule is simple — most older toilets simply empty, well, whatever is — you know — straight onto the tracks. (It has, sadly, included the odd mobile phone.)
CRH trains marked the first time newer-type toilets were introduced, which were far more hygienic, and allowed you to basically use them wherever you wanted to (or need to, rather). This was a small move, but was to the benefit of the majority of passengers. Today, it is safe to say that all CRH trains come with “anytime-on” toilets which permit use even when the train is at a standstill.
CRH trains also introduced other new technologies. First Class seats, notably those with a leaning backrest, in essence made a debut, making travel much smoother (and price differences between the two weren’t astronomical, especially in the earlier days). Trains also benefitted from automated announcement systems, and wholly automatic doors that didn’t require train crew to operate.
Detail by detail, CRH trains made train travel, hitherto a struggle at times, that bit less stressful.