We have discussed Shanghai’s new bullet trains before, and last week we actually had a chance to ride one. Condensed review: We like.
The obvious advantage, of course, is time. We went to Nanjing, what was once at least a three hour journey (and in some cases five or six) is now between two and two-and-a-half hours, depending on the number of stops. (We also like arriving at Shanghai Railway Station — compared to, say, one of the airports — so we can hop on the subway and be home after six stops.)
Those who have never taken a train in China, may not fully appreciate the bullet train’s interior. It’s very similar to that of an airplane (there are even airsickness bags) and is an upgrade (in some cases a giant one) from most other trains we have experienced in China. The seats are a little narrow, but there is ample leg room and, hey, at least everyone has a seat — so you can leave your adult diapers at home. Speaking of which, toilets are not squatters, although we wouldn’t recommend sitting on them, and the three-in-one sensor sinks are not to be missed.
FYI, bullet trains are not called bullet trains in Chinese — that’s an English translation of a Japanese term. In China, these trains are called 动车组 (dong che zu, which literally means something like “powered train combination”). If you look at a train schedule, bullet trains will all start with a “D.” On the trains themselves, and some signs in the train station, you will see “CRH,” which stands for China Railway Highspeed.
The bullet trains have been rolled our pretty much nationwide. You can find a translated timetable here. Here’s another nice online tool for searching train schedules (in English). It includes all train types, including D trains. Our ticket to Nanjing, by the way, was 84 kuai one way.