|Eight train tickets bought by Wang Dong, a PhD student in Shanghai, which will get him from Shanghai to his home city Deyang, Sichuan province. The trip is about 2,000 km, including transfers at fi ve cities, but is 12 hours quicker than taking a direct train. (Photo source: China Daily)
By Luo Wangshu
BEIJING, Feb. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- With eight train tickets and five transfers, it may sound like someone is heading for the South Pole, but in fact it is how one young man plans to return home during the holiday crush.
The modern day Phileas Fogg, Wang Dong, a native of Deyang, Sichuan province, is a second-year PhD student at Fudan University in Shanghai. Rather than going through the hassle of buying a direct train ticket from Shanghai to Deyang, the 27-year-old designed a unique railway route home to avoid having to buy train tickets during the holiday crush.
The trip is about 2,000 km, including transfers in five cities. He will leave Shanghai at 1:20 pm on Feb 8, travel through Nanjing, Hankou, Yichang, Dazhou, Chengdu and arrive at his final destination, Deyang at 11:50 am on Feb 9, Lunar New Year's Eve.
Wang researched the railway sections that have readily available tickets and arranged to transfer at those stops.
"I had barely any difficulty buying tickets in these sections," Wang said.
Tickets on the direct trains from Shanghai to Deyang are in short supply.
"There are only two direct trains. The first year in Shanghai, I lined up for five hours at the train station to buy the ticket," Wang said.
As Lunar New Year approaches, millions of Chinese are traveling home by any means possible. A record 3.4 billion trips are expected to be made during the crush, which runs from Jan 26 to March 6. The rail network is expected to handle 225 million trips.
Buying a train ticket may become a challenge.
In 2011, Wang designed his roundabout route home. "People assume that the transfers will take time, but in fact, my trip is 12 hours quicker than the direct train," he said.
The direct train between Shanghai and Deyang takes 34 hours, while Wang's trip takes about 22 hours.
Wang, who is a big fan of railways, also enjoys the experience. His micro blog is full of photos of trains.
"My roundabout trip will allow me to take four types of trains, from high-speed to regular trains," Wang said, adding that he loves the view along the journey. "Sometimes in one day, the train can take me from an white, icy world to a tropical beach. It's magic," Wang said.
He also enjoys the stories on the train along the trip.
"I can walk into any train station, watch the passengers around me and imagine their travel stories. Sometimes when I am standing in the middle of the train station hall, time seems to cease. People come and go, in a hurry or taking their time. It is like I am in a movie."
His love of trains began in high school. "My high school is next to the train station. I liked to watch the train come and go, and listen to the whistle."
Wang's friends always consult him about train routes.
Last year, he used his micro blog to document his train travel.
"I traveled about 30,000 km by train in 2012," he said.
He takes advantage of his expertise to design routes and buy train tickets during Spring Festival, but netizens have questioned whether more transfers could raise the risk of delays and missing the train.
"I am not a green hand in transfers. I make plans," Wang said.
His practice with train transfers comes with a love story. Wang's girlfriend works in Xiamen, and he studies in Shanghai. The direct train leaves in the morning and arrives at night. Wang designed a roundabout trip to spend a night on the train so he could spend time with his girlfriend in the day.
"The monthly trip to Xiamen is practice," he said.
(Source: China Daily)