High-speed sleeper trains make maiden trips from Hong Kong to Beijing and Shanghai

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The first high-speed overnight trains to Beijing and Shanghai sped out of Hong Kong on Saturday (Jun 15), carrying the city’s transport minister who called the service a “breakthrough” and residents who embraced the rail journey as a more relaxing way to head north.

The China Railway trains were due to arrive in the capital and Shanghai on time early on Sunday morning and deliver hundreds of well-rested passengers, the first of what will no doubt be many seizing on a new transport artery slicing through the eastern provinces of China.

But not all passengers were satisfied with the service, with some complaining the lack of Wi-Fi was surprising and left them without their usual forms of entertainment.

Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung, who was among those taking the train to Beijing, hailed the new services as a “breakthrough” which offered an extra option for passengers who wanted to travel overnight and reach their destinations for work or other activities the next morning.

He said the city’s authorities would strive to expand the current four-day operation if demand soared.

“We will continue to work hard to maintain the important transport hub status of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon terminus as the country’s southern gateway,” he said.

Spots on an eight-day tour run by China Travel Service (Hong Kong) were snapped up in just two days. (Photo: SCMP/Edmond So)

China Railway announced earlier in June that it would run overnight high-speed sleeper trains between Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai from this Saturday, with the services to operate from Friday to Monday each week.

The train to Beijing departed from Hong Kong on time at 6.24pm, with the service for Shanghai leaving at 7.49pm.

The former is expected to take about 12.5 hours and the latter will be 11 hours, halving overnight rail travel times while offering both regular seats and a range of sleeper cabins.

Brenda Yuen Choi-bik, 62, who works at a ch...

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