Train travel safe in China?
Replies: 16 - Last Post: May 3, 2012 5:43 AM Last Post By: drumbrake
Apr 10, 2012 7:26 PM
Train travel safe in China?Hey ya'll,
Last month, I heard about the section of high-speed railroad that collapsed in Hubei province, and it's made me consider how safe train travel (and travel in general) is in China. I live here in Shanghai, but I don't travel much by train (when I do get a break from work, I usually fly to take advantage of my time as best as possible).
Do any of you all travel regularly by train in China? Has the Wenzhou crash and the Hubei collapse changed your perceptions of traveling by rail in China at all? It's easy to think about the statistics of crashes and see how low the risk is, numbers-wise, but it still seems unsettling that a section of unused, brand new elevated railroad could collapse under any circumstances.
I still haven't had a chance to take an overnight high-speed train (I planned on taking the Shanghai-Chengdu train last week, but they don't run that route anymore! Drat.), but from what I hear they are incredibly comfortable and an overall smooth experience.
What do you guys think about traveling by train in China? Will you keep doing it?
Apr 10, 2012 8:15 PM
Apr 10, 2012 8:39 PM
Apr 10, 2012 8:57 PM
3What #2 said^^^
Train is my prefered method of travel. Certainly, I don't often get the chance to go on the 高铁,living in the middle of nowhere, but safety isn't a consideration when I do.
However, that said, I predict similar incidents happening quite regularly; due to shoddy construction work. The BIG problem is going to come when they open that Harbin to Hainan Highway they are working on; with all its elevated sections. But that is China all over and very similar to its economic policy. As long as it looks impressive from the outside, it doesn't matter if it isn't based on solid foundation and is heading for imminent collapse.
Apr 10, 2012 9:34 PM
4I take trains very often and almost always choose them over taking a bus if both options are available. Agree that it is MUCH safer to take a train than to travel by bus in China. I have seen some pretty horrific bus/traffic accidents. You take your risks no matter what means of transport you take, even being a pedestrian is dangerous at times! Yes, I will and do continue taking trains, without a second though, despite the occasional accident/derailment/collapse.
Apr 10, 2012 11:04 PM
Apr 11, 2012 1:19 AM
6"OP works for ctrip ..."
that's strange. why would a travel agent (or someone working for one)
log onto a travel forum and pretend to be an uninformed regular zhou?
surely (may i call you surely?) the bidness can't be so bad that you have
to resort to tricks to scare customers away from train travel.
nah, nothing like that could happen in china....
Apr 11, 2012 7:48 AM
Apr 11, 2012 1:55 PM
Apr 11, 2012 11:50 PM
9I do work for Ctrip, and I didn't mean to mislead anyone otherwise (I directly stated it in a response to a Tibet permit situation thread yesterday, and it's on my profile, and the post I linked to is on a Ctrip sponsored blog, so I don't think I've made any effort to hide the fact). I primarily work on the travel guide and the blog.
I wrote the blog post that I linked to because I was interested in what other travelers thought about the situation, which is why I posted it here. The Hubei collapse didn't seem to provoke a ton of discussion, so it seemed relevant to ask some of the veteran China travelers that post here what their thoughts were. I'm certainly not trying to scare anyone away from train travel, nor do I think that if I were to try and do that it would be particularly effective.
As to when the English site will offer train tickets, I don't have an answer, though I would venture to say it won't be soon. Most resources these days are going to the launch of the Korean/Japanese websites, so any major changes in Ctrip English products are likely to be a ways off.
And to agree with what a few people have said, I've taken some sketchy bus/cab/motorcycle rides in China that have really made my insides pickle. The roads might not be collapsing (some of them may be, actually) but there's plenty to be worried about on them.
Apr 12, 2012 6:44 AM
10Thanks for returning to the thread.
I had a minor dig at you in #5, but I agree you are open about working for ctrip, and also you're not blatantly touting for them, so as long you continue in this way, you're welcome to stay posting. Overall we're pretty even handed about ctrip on this branch as can be seen by this post: Do not trust ctrip....
It's a pity that there are no plans for ctrip to sell train tickets but I guessed as much; I guess the number they'd sell through the English page does not make it worthwhile in the short term.
Apr 12, 2012 7:37 AM
Apr 14, 2012 11:40 PM
Apr 20, 2012 9:07 AM
13I was travelling on the high-speed line through Wenzhou on the day of the accident last summer, and only missed it by a few hours. That hasn't changed my travel methods very much: I've often taken China's high-speed trains since then, including the line through Wenzhou where the accident was. I don't feel as secure as I did before the accident, but I still prefer to take the high-speed trains (and the risk) rather than considerably slower forms of transport.
The Wenzhou crash has had a big effect on my perspective on China: when I first took the high-speed train, I thought it was fantastic, and a great example of one of the positive things in modern China. But the accident made me realize how pervasive the problems in China are, and I've viewed much of what I've come across in this country much more cynically since the accident, that I could quite easily myself have been personally involved in...
Apr 22, 2012 8:11 PM
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