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HK high-speed sleeper service praised on debut

By Wu Kunling in Beijing and Atlas Shao in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-17 09:25
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Passengers on the D907 Shanghai-Hong Kong high-speed sleeper train await departure from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station on Saturday. YIN LIQIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Passengers traveling on the first overnight high-speed trains linking Hong Kong with Beijing and Shanghai praised the services, describing the rides as convenient and comfortable.

The sleeper trains, which began operations on Saturday, provide passengers with more time and energy to enjoy their destinations, whether for family reunions, meeting friends, visiting tourist attractions, or conducting business.

The first high-speed sleeper trains, whether northbound or southbound, all departed on Saturday evening, arriving at their destinations on Sunday morning. The services will operate from Friday to Monday each week.

Ordinary-class sleeper carriages accommodate four passengers each, while premium-class carriages on the Hong Kong-Shanghai route accommodate two passengers each. The cabins are clean and well-lit, equipped with tables, reading lights, charging sockets, slippers, clothes hangers and cushions. Each cabin allows independent adjustment of lighting and temperature, and a dining car offers meals priced from 15 to 68 yuan ($2.07 to $9.37).

Passengers gathered in groups on the lower berths to chat and enjoy food and snacks, while others played card games.

A 60-year-old traveler surnamed Low, who left Hong Kong on the first sleeper train to Beijing, said comfort was the most important reason for choosing the service. For elderly passengers, being able to lie down during the journey is much more comfortable than sitting up on a high-speed train or airplane. Low and her husband joined a tour group on an eight-day trip to Beijing, planning to visit landmarks such as the Summer Palace and Lama Temple.

Richard Wang, a Beijing native who has lived in Hong Kong for two years, said the sleeper train service offers a better choice for visiting his family in the capital. He booked a ticket for the first train to Beijing immediately after the service was announced.

Bullet trains between Hong Kong and Beijing previously operated only daytime services. With the overnight sleeper train, Wang can leave Hong Kong on Friday night and return on Monday morning, giving him more time with his family.

A railroad photography enthusiast surnamed Wong, who has taken pictures of various types of high-speed trains, booked a ticket to experience and document the new service. He found the sleeper carriages spacious but noted that the upper berth is a bit cramped, suggesting further improvements to enhance passenger comfort.

Many passengers from the Chinese mainland also took the inaugural overnight sleeper trains to Hong Kong.

A passenger from Shanghai, surnamed Wang, took advantage of Father's Day to visit Hong Kong with his father. He said the new service saves the cost of an overnight stay in Hong Kong and provides extra time for sightseeing.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung took the first sleeper train to Beijing. He said the SAR government will closely monitor the service's operations. If demand rises, it will collaborate with mainland railway authorities to explore the possibility of adding more trips or introducing sleeper train services to more destinations.

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