(Netease) Starting on January 11, 2011, bullet trains with sleepers will be put into operation between Shanghai and Chongqing as well as between Shanghai and Chengdu. It is the most advanced soft sleeper cars presently used in China. Every soft sleeper is equipped with independent video system and the luxury soft sleepers even have small meeting rooms. Tickets have been for sale at the Chengdu Railway Station since December 23, 2010. From Chengdu to Shanghai the highest ticket for one advanced soft sleeper costs up to 2330 Yuan (after 30% off), as expensive as the rooms at five-star hotels.
Many migrant workers from Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality come to Yangtze River delta, and in spite of added trains for the busy holiday season, the train system every Spring Festival in China leads to a difficult situation where a ticket from Shanghai to Chengdu and to Chongqing is difficult to buy. Now an increasing number of high-speed bullet trains have been put into operation from Shanghai to Chengdu and Chongqing. What is beyond comprehension is that there are just 122 soft seats available on every train, but the remaining are all expensive soft sleepers! Some experts, therefore, are saying that demand and supply is seriously mismatched.
luxury soft sleepers with couch and wardrobe
The Chengdu Railway Bureau is responsible for the bullet trains with soft sleepers between Shanghai and Chengdu as well as between Shanghai and Chongqing. These trains all adopt CRH1E multiple units. Each train is 430 m of 16 cars, with a capacity of 618 people. There are 13 soft sleeper cars that can accommodate 496 people and second-class coach for 122 people as well as a dining car.
The sleeper cars consists of rooms for 2 people or for 4 people: In every soft sleeper room there are 4 berths, which is 10cm wider than those of hard sleepers; every luxury soft sleepers has two berths and the couch and wardrobe are well-furnished. Every berth is equipped with an independent TV, an air-conditioner and an adjustable lamp.
2330 yuan–The highest ticket price for soft sleepers
Starting on December 23, 2010, tickets for January 11, 2011 from Chengdu and Chongqing to Shanghai for soft sleeper bullet trains are available at Chengdu Railway Station. From Chongqing to Shanghai the whole journey takes 15 hours. The price of ticket for a second-class soft seat is 473 Yuan, for a common soft sleeper it is 980 Yuan and 1100 Yuan, and for an advanced soft sleeper the price is 1955 Yuan and 2200 Yuan.
From Chengdu to Shanghai it takes 15 and a half hours. The second-class soft seat costs 501 Yuan, the common soft sleeper 1035 Yuan and 1165 Yuan, the advanced soft sleeper 2075 Yuan and 2330 Yuan, after a 30% off discount.
The tourist-class ticket for flights from Shanghai to Chengdu and Chongqing is nearly 1500 Yuan.
Voices from experts
The seriously mismatched demand and supply
Sun Zhang, professor of urban rail transit and railway construction at School of Transportation of Shanghai Tongji University, criticized the new rooms as seriously mismatching demand and supply by saying that this will give rise to a conundrum where many people cannot buy tickets at all while the luxurious and exorbitant sleepers will be left empty.
Gu Jun a sociologist maintained that this is actually a “product with full of flaws” by China’s Ministry of Railways as there is no need to furnish the bullet sleeper at a five-star standard for such a short journey. “Who wants this luxurious experience on a train? It is dark outside at night and sightseeing is almost impossible. In this day and age, a business person won’t spend a couple of hours on a train.” “Perhaps some passengers that are afraid of traveling by air would lavish more than 2000 Yuan on such bullet sleepers,” Gu Jun said.