On the fast train from Hong Kong to Beijing

China correspondent Chong Koh Ping goes on a nine-hour ride from Hong Kong to Beijing on the high-speed rail.
A passenger paying for his food using a mobile phone. Attendants on China's high-speed trains prefer passengers to scan a QR code, which can be found at every seat, with their phones to pay or to order food. Travellers can get an array of snacks, hot
The Fuxing (Rejuvenation) train from Hong Kong to Beijing is China's fastest train, boasting an average speed of 300kmh and making the journey of nearly 2,500km in just under nine hours. The high-speed rail link was launched last September and is one of the 13 long-haul lines connecting Hong Kong with some 40 major cities on the mainland.ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING
A passenger paying for his food using a mobile phone. Attendants on China's high-speed trains prefer passengers to scan a QR code, which can be found at every seat, with their phones to pay or to order food. Travellers can get an array of snacks, hot
A passenger paying for his food using a mobile phone. Attendants on China's high-speed trains prefer passengers to scan a QR code, which can be found at every seat, with their phones to pay or to order food.ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING
A passenger paying for his food using a mobile phone. Attendants on China's high-speed trains prefer passengers to scan a QR code, which can be found at every seat, with their phones to pay or to order food. Travellers can get an array of snacks, hot
Travellers can get an array of snacks, hot drinks and fruit as well as bentos comprising steamed rice, vegetables and meat from the dining carriage.ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING
A passenger paying for his food using a mobile phone. Attendants on China's high-speed trains prefer passengers to scan a QR code, which can be found at every seat, with their phones to pay or to order food. Travellers can get an array of snacks, hot
A passenger putting on warmer clothing as the train travels northwards. There are eight stops on the route, which covers almost two-thirds of China.ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING

On the new high-speed rail linking Hong Kong and mainland China, many things unfold at top speed, from food orders to the changing of the seasons.

The last time I rode more than 2,000km across China, it was on the fastest "slow" train from Beijing to Kunming.

It was the summer of 2012 and the train, which chugged along at an average speed of 68kmh, was packed.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 10, 2019, with the headline 'On the fast train from Hong Kong to Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe