A few years ago while sitting on a train I decided to calculate just how many hours I had spent on trains during my time as a tour leader here in China. Total time was 2,184 hours or the equivalent of 91 days. (Although to be fair I did include the two times I traveled from Beijing to St Petersburg by train.)
I have always been in awe of the Chinese train system. Both hard and soft sleeper carriages are very comfortable, generally kept pretty clean and I have never had any issues with safety. The system is remarkably efficient given the population and demand, trains usually always departing on time and many also pretty much arriving on time. Sometimes I am not sure that having spent so much time on a train is a benefit or not.
I found myself getting incredibly impatient the other morning when we were late into Guangzhou. The “we will be arriving shortly, please get ready to get off” announcement had been played. The minutes that ticked by over the next hour as we inched our way towards the station were incredibly frustrating. I guess having expectations and being accustomed to a certain level of efficiency even in the most challenging of environments can still be dangerous.