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Panda train offers special journey for passengers

By Huang Zhiling and Peng Chao in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-19 09:21

Attendants of the tourist train pose for a group picture at Chengdu West Railway Station in Southwest China's Sichuan province on April 18, 2024. [Photo/chinanews.com]

A special train decorated with giant panda images inside and out left Chengdu West Railway Station on Thursday, bound for cultural and scenic attractions such as the Sanxingdui Museum and Jiuzhaigou Valley along the Sichuan-Qinghai railway.

It is the first panda-themed tourist train named after Shifang, a county-level city in Sichuan, and is also painted the color of the bronze artifacts unearthed from the Sanxingdui Ruins in Sichuan.

Launched in 2021, the panda train is a high-end boutique tourist train operated by China Railway Chengdu Bureau Group.

The Shifang panda train, created through the cooperation of Shifang Hengyang Cultural Tourism and Sichuan Chengdu Railway International Business Travel Group, is an upgraded version of the previous panda train.

Chen Xuan, head of the travel group's Sichuan Southwest Rail International Travel Agency, said the Shifang panda train is capable of accommodating more passengers and providing more comprehensive functions to better meet the demands of tourists.

With a total capacity of 466 seats, it has 17 carriages, including three high-end soft sleepers, 10 high-end hard sleepers, one dining carriage, one multifunction entertainment carriage, one caravan carriage and one power generating carriage.

The train is also equipped with professional "panda butlers" to provide one-stop services that integrate catering, accommodation, transportation, travel and entertainment, Chen said.

To meet individual demands, the train can also provide tailor-made services, including afternoon tea, karaoke and a specialty restaurant, she said.

A tourist surnamed Li from Beijing said she was traveling with her husband and four-year-old grandson to experience the panda train.

"There are panda elements everywhere on the train, and my grandson loves it so much," she said.

Song Qiu, deputy director of Sichuan's culture and tourism department, said the panda train, which has made 75 trips and carried more than 20,000 passengers, has received a good response from the market and industry.

She said the panda train regularly showcases Sichuan's intangible cultural heritage such as face-changing acts from Sichuan Opera, and prepares a rich variety of Sichuan cuisine for passengers.

"It not only offers visual appeal, deliciousness and entertainment, but also allows tourists to deeply experience the unique charm of Sichuan's Bashu culture," Song said.

Zhong Shu, head of the tourism management department at Sichuan Chengdu Railway International Business Travel Group, said the company will launch several themed routes for the Shifang panda train, covering major tourist attractions and distinctive landscapes across the country.

"These routes will include historical and cultural journeys, natural scenery journeys and special gourmet journeys, offering passengers diverse travel options," he said.

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