Nowadays, in China, with the development of the transportation system, trains have become a popular choice for many people. There are two different kinds of trains for people to choose from: one is the green train, which is more ancient and painted green; the other is the high-speed train, which has higher speed and is painted white.  People are more willing to choose high-speed trains for their time-saving and convenience. Although the number and market share of the green trains is far less than high-speed railway, they are still operating and some people stick to choosing them for their low price and wider coverage. The price for green trains is less than one-third of the high-speed train, and in some remote mountainous areas, it is green trains that undertake transportation work.

图片包含 人, 巴士, 站, 小孩

This is a photo of the green train I took from the window of a high-speed train. (Yingru Zhao for On Magnolia Square)

I tried the green train this time when I traveled to Suzhou during the Thanksgiving break. Besides the color, there are other differences between the green train and the high-speed train. For example, there is an inspector at the entrance of each carriage to check whether you have the ticket and if you truly belong to this carriage while the high-speed trains don’t have it. On high-speed trains, if the seats are improperly occupied, the inspectors can detect it with electronic devices and then they will come for a check. Also, the green train is more crowded inside and its speed is much slower compared with the high-speed train. On the green train, every six seats share a small table and people sit facing each other. Passengers can do almost nothing except sit still. Privacy also can’t be protected. While on the high-speed train, each seat has one small table and wider space for passengers.


I was queuing to check in. (Yingru Zhao for On Magnolia Square)

One thing I found very interesting was that the train didn’t have a broadcasting system, which means that all of the propagation of the information relies on manual work. While on the high-speed train, information such as which station the train is going to reach and what terminal the train is at is released by a uniform broadcasting system. A crew member had to walk by to inform passengers which station the train was about to arrive in. 

For me, this was my first time taking the green train. I just sat still for an hour and couldn’t do anything, which was unusual for me since I am accustomed to the high-speed train. The interior of the train looked old too. Although the trip was not as comfortable as I expected, it was definitely unforgettable and interesting. I obtained a completely new experience and saw the progress of the railway system.


  We shared this small table among four people. (Yingru Zhao for On Magnolia Square)