Tuesday 8th March
Today was a ‘getting there day’ and part of our circumnavigation that we didn’t expect to be making. However, Chinese railways have provided a way of seeing more of this wonderful country. The day broke with strong winds and drizzle and there had also been a dramatic drop in temperature. We did manage to find an English language bookshop, took lunch and afterwards went by taxi in monsoon like conditions to Shanghai’s main railway station. Having exchanged our e-tickets for paper ones we passed through the usual tight security to wait for the boarding time of train T138, an overnight sleeper train for the nearly 17 hour journey to Xi’an. This was a soft sleeper and so our compartment was shared by two other people. We had a good conversation with one of them and having travelled north across the mountains turned west to the steppes and Xi’an. We are due there at 08:21 tomorrow.
This is a double decker train for short journeys and is like a high speed train. Our train with red and green coaches is pulled by an electric locomotive.