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June 25, 2011

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Sold-out bullet train off to flyer

SEATS on the first bullet train on the Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail service quickly sold out as advance tickets went on sale yesterday.

The Shanghai railway operator made tickets available in the morning for the service that begins on June 30, and all 1,000-plus seats were snapped up before noon.

Many locals were eager to sample the long-awaited service. "I hope to have a special experience soon," said Liu Wenchao, a local who plans to go with his family for a tour of the capital.

Liu went to a rail ticket outlet in downtown Jing'an District yesterday afternoon to study the timetable.

Liu said one reason why he favored the bullet train over flights was because airlines "seldom give discounts during the summer vacation."

Another passenger, Wu Zhijun, came to buy tickets to Shanghai for next Thursday as she will be in Beijing.

By 2pm yesterday, two booths in the downtown outlet had sold about 20 Shanghai-Beijing bullet train tickets.

The first train G2 will depart from Shanghai Hong-qiao Railway Station at 3pm next Thursday, marking the opening of the 1,318-kilometer-long route. Ticket prices range from 410 yuan (US$63) to 1,750 yuan.

Some passengers chose to buy tickets through an new online booking system, though demand led to delays yesterday.

Chinese passengers with one of five types of ID or certificates and foreigners using their passport can buy bullet train tickets online at One ID can only buy one ticket.

Trains will travel between the cities at 300 kph or 250 kph with the fastest trip taking 4 hours and 48 minutes.


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