China Rail goes English

By Xinhua

Beijing : Foreigners will find it easier to buy train tickets in the Chinese capital, now that the city's major railway station has begun to provide services in English.

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Beijing Railway Station in the downtown area will staff two English-language information and ticket sales windows during the 62-day summer transport period starting Sunday.

The railway station will open a total of 120 ticket windows during the hectic months of July and August, including windows for senior citizens and the physically challenged.

The station expects 5.99 million departures in the two busy months, up 6.5 percent from the same period last year. Coastal cities such as Dalian, Qingdao and Yantai are expected to be popular with tourists and students anxious to escape the sweltering heat and pollution of the big cities.

Up to 15 additional trains will operate on some busy routes, according to the office.

Beijing West Railway Station, the capital's busiest, expects a record 7.55 million departures in the two peak summer months with a daily average of 122,000 passengers, up 12.8 percent over the same period last year.

The station will arrange one extra inbound and one extra outbound train on nine routes, bringing the total number of services each day to 121.

China's railway authorities raised the maximum train speed for the sixth time in April, and 286 trains now run at up to 250 km per hour every day.

China's trains carried a quarter of the world's total passenger and freight rail transport last year. But the country has just six percent of the world's operational track, according to the ministry of railways.