China has a penchant for building things bigger, faster, higher, longer than ever before and last week, it took one more step towards yet another superlative with the opening of the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed rail link, which forms part of what will be the "largest high speed rail network in the world."
The service runs out of Shanghai Railway Station but the very fastest trains, the ones that knock 80-minutes off the normal journey time, only run out of the brand new, opened on July 1 though not quite finished yet, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station.
Yes indeed, Hongqiao International Airport now has its very own train station to add to an ever-growing list of amenities. At present the furthest you'll get is Nanjing as it's the only route open, but in the future it'll be a high speed hub for both Beijing and Hangzhou. That's another few years down the line but it's a beast of a building that's been built with Chinese holiday crowds in mind, but for the moment it's relatively calm and peopled by a few commuters, travelers and a whole team of workers busily adding the finishing touches (and taking a nap here and there.)
Local Shanghai gal Cook Hoo has kindly posted a very useful guide on her site covering the layout, long distance buses and metro. For train schedules and prices head to www.cnvol.com.