Visions of opulence and luxury arise from stories of various
incarnations of the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul or other destinations, but never to China
(some with sleeping cars from England via Dover & Calais). (See Wikipedia/Orient Express.)|
The "New Orient Express" is a luxurious train by Chinese standards. Indeed, most sleeper trains throughout the world are fitted with double or triple bunks, whereas the "New Orient Express" has compartments with two single bunks which serve as seats during the day. Washroom facilities are shared, as they were in the original Orient Express (ensuite was not in fashion in the 1800's). (We did not see the facilities of the first class cars in the New Orient Express.)
Unfortunately, in order to accommodate two beds in each of the eight compartments in a car, the bunks are very narrow and very firm. Moreover, since the train has to stay off the main tracks when not in use and most trips were short, we boarded late and got off early most nights, making for some weary warriors. The original schedule called for four nights of train travel followed by one night in a hotel and one more on the train. This was changed to two nights on the train followed by one in a hotel and a morning train trip which allowed us to see the countryside through which we were passing. This provided a very welcome relief from the short nights on the train.
Most trains in China are electric, but ours was pulled by a diesel locomotive.
All of the compartments were along the right side of the coach, leaving a long narrow corridor on the left side (photo taken from the front).
Each compartment had twin beds (narrow and very firm) and was equipped with two towels and two pairs of plastic slippers for travel to the facilities.|
|At one end of each car was a shower, a wash room with two basins, and a Chinese style toilet. At the other end there was a western style toilet. (I did not discover this until about the third day, which led to a somewhat uncomfortable few days, since my crouching ability is long gone.)|
The dining cars featured Chinese food for the two breakfasts we had on the train.|
We had all other breakfasts at restaurants after leaving the train, often in the very early morning.
Each car had an attendant who had a room at one end of the car. Our attendant|
kept everything immaculate, but apparently this was not true for all cars.
Xi'an, Terra Cotta Warriors
The New Orient Express
Jiayuguan & Jiuquan
Fengdu Ghost Town
Lesser Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam, Disembark
Ode to Leo Liu