The fully loaded “Chang An Hao” Silk Road tourist train Y206/207 set off from Xian for its first trip on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. The train travels between Xian and Urumqi with stops at Liuyuan and Beitun, and Turpan on the return way. During the 11-day slow-paced journey, passengers have plenty of time to visit attractions along the Silk Road, including Dunhuang, Mogao Cave, Echoing Sand Hill, Crescent Spring, Heavenly Lake, Kanas, Five-color Beach, Turpan and Grape Valley.
When the train stops at a station, passengers will be picked up by air-conditioned tourist buses to attractions and hotels in the city. The train will not leave the station until all passengers get back, then the journey continues. Passengers travel by the same seat on the same train for the whole trip, avoiding hassles and troubles of transferring between trains or buses to different destinations. The price for this tour ranges from CNY1,680 to CNY3,480, which includes round-trip hard/soft sleeper train tickets, meals, hotels, travel insurances, tour buses and guides service, and entrance fee to attractions.
The train has 8 hard sleeper and 4 soft sleeper carriages. Fresh fruits are sold in food carts. There is no air conditioner but electric fans are available in each compartment. It is not hot in the carriage even in summer as cold breeze will cool down the temperature when the train is running. The conductors will come to play cards or chess or have the riddle games or chess contests with passengers.
It is said that the Silk Road adventure by train will extend to Yining, Sayram Lake, Khorgos and Ili the next year, and a further route to more Silk Road countries will be open in the future.
Another tourist train “Dun Huang Hao” between Lanzhou and Dunhuang will also be put into service in July. The train departs from Lanzhou at 18:00 and arrives in Dunhuang at 06:48; for the return trip, it leaves Dunhuang at 20:12 and reaches Lanzhou at 07:18. The overnight sleeper train ride saves time and money for hotel. What’s more, passengers will enjoy special waiting rooms and check-in channels, and special guide service of getting on and off the train at both railway stations. Hard sleeper, soft sleeper and luxury soft sleeper are available on the train. Passengers can also have meals and drinks at two dining cars and a bar.