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The Fastest Train in the World

Minutes after our arrival in Shanghai, workers get to work cleaning our train

As you take your seats on the fastest train in the world, a silent movie featuring Charlie Chaplin made nearly 100 years ago appears on flat screen monitors hanging from the ceiling of our car

They are showing a scene from “The Little Tramp.” Later, as we get off, a scene from “Modern Times” appears, which is weirdly ironic.

The train car resembles that of a cabin of a plane, including a magazine in the seat pocket in front of you – Jessica Alba is on the cover. There also is beverage and food service and the coffee is greatly appreciated by some people in our group, as we left for the station at 7:45 a.m. in the morning.

All high speed trains in China are called “Harmony,” and after the bus rides we’ve had the last three days, we appreciate the relative tranquility suggested by the name. The ride is smooth, even at 210 miles an hour.

It also is a contrast to the chaotic activity of the well-worn train station at Hangzhou, where thousands of travelers, including many coming in from other parts of the country for employment nearby or the tourism of the West Lake area. They compete for our attention with the venders and a few pain-handlers.

Sadly, one older gentleman asking for money was very persistent with me, probably because he saw the camera hanging from my neck. Once we get past security and baggage screening machines, people like him no longer appear. However, the push of travelers continues.

We have reserved seats on the train, but not everyone has luggage like us.

Our train will make two stops between here and Shanghai. Between stops, the train slows to speeds between 60 and 70 miles per hour at times, likely to accommodate the fact that we are traveling through urban areas. But as he hit elevated tracks, we return to cruising speeds.

A solitary employee keeps the train platform in Shanghai spotless

Speaking of cruising, I see no way humanly possible that Tom Cruise could have done his own stunts while filming the crucial high-speed train scene in “Mission Impossible.” The whole thing seems even more implausible to me now.

Little over an hour and 100 miles later, we arrive at an expansive, fully modern station at Shanghai, which is connected to Hongqiao Airport (Shanghai has two airports). They had also showed David Copperfield on the TV in the train car.

Seems to me the real magic and special effects are already here.




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Tom Cruise, nice one

Comment by jerry on March 25, 2011 12:35 am

That sounds so awesome.
I think I need to add a ride to that train to my bucket list!

Comment by Laurie on July 18, 2011 7:28 pm

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