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China becomes smaller for tourists

Updated: 2015-10-08 07:47
By Xinhua (China Daily)

Huang Wankang and his family took a pleasant holiday trip on a new high-speed rail line linking two cities in Northeast China's Jilin province.

"I have always wanted to visit Hunchun," Huang said from Changchun, adding that his family marveled at the scenery as the train passed Changbai Mountain and the Songhua River.

The line, already referred to by Chinese netizens as Northeast China's most beautiful high-speed rail line, went into operation two weeks ago. It cuts the journey from a grueling nine hours to only two hours and 11 minutes.

With a high-speed rail network crossing 28 of China's 31 provincial regions, China is getting smaller despite its geographical vastness. People are no longer discouraged by the distance of faraway destinations.

On Oct 1, the first day of the weeklong national holiday, a record 12.5 million trips were made by train, up 6.9 percent from last year. The number is expected to exceed 100 million for the whole holiday and is largely due to high-speed rail.

China becomes smaller for tourists

"High-speed trains operate like intercity shuttles and have changed people's perceptions of time and space. Their willingness to travel has grown remarkably," said Sun Zhang, a professor at Tongji University.

Pan Jinkui, a migrant worker in Foshan, in the southern province of Guangdong, said, "Now, I can go back to my hometown in Guizhou province many times a year to see my family."

The railway that Pan uses opened at the end of last year and connects Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province, with Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. At a speed of up to 300 kilometers per hour, travel between the two cities has been cut to four hours from more than 20 hours.

The Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway, which extends for more than 2,000 km and is the longest of its kind in the world, cuts travel time between the two cities to only eight hours.

Bullet trains have made the experience of traveling on Chinese railways - once cramped and with pungent odors and long lines for the restroom - a distant memory.

Bullet trains not only take tourists to areas of natural beauty but also to places with famed delicacies. The Chengdu-Mianyang-Leshan line has given food aficionados great opportunities to taste snacks in cities along the line.

(China Daily 10/08/2015 page5)

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