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July 6, 2010

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More express trains in service

TWENTY-SIX express trains will be added daily to the newly opened Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway from July 11 after passengers complained that there was not enough non-stop services along the route, Shanghai railway officials said yesterday.

However, some passengers said they are still upset because they feel there is less choice now and that they are being forced to take the more expensive high-speed trains since most old-generation trains have been canceled.

Despite the backlash, rail officials said the high-speed rail line "is welcomed by a large amount of passengers." Turnout along the line, the first high-speed rail in the Yangtze River Delta region, has hit more than 130,000 per day since opening on July 1.

Until July 11, only four non-stop trains will run each day between Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.

Under the new plan, the express trains will depart from both cities every hour between 8am and 7pm.

Additional non-stop trains will depart at 9:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm in both cities, officials said.

There will be 18 express trains between Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Nanjing while the other 12 will run between Shanghai Railway Station and Nanjing.

Complaints began mounting soon after the line opened as passengers said that they usually have to board trains that stop at several stations between Shanghai and Nanjing.

The biggest complaint: ticket prices. A standard ticket costs 146 yuan (US$21.54) for both express and non-express trains.

"It's not worthwhile for me to pay the higher price for slower service," said Pris Wu, deputy editor-in-chief at Map Magazine in Nanjing, who travels between the cities three or four times a week.

An express train takes 73 minutes to travel between the two cities while the trip takes 110 minutes on a non-express train with five stops.

Older generation trains took more than 2 hours to complete the trip with a standard ticket costing 93 yuan each.

Ticket sales for the high-speed railway resumed yesterday at 8pm after being suspended for a day due to the train schedule changes.


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