Express train number 98 waited to ceremoniously transport passengers to The People's Republic of China.
Customs formalities were completed at the station in Hong Kong, and the hostesses waited by the train doors on the platform for their charge.
A group with clearly written surnames on green China Travel Badges looked like tagged schoolchildren on an outing to the War Museum.
Lace curtains hung at the windows, but it looked as though the headrest covers hadn't seen soap powder for a few journeys across the border.
"This is crazy," the blue-rinsed American woman said to her partner, "it's definitely a Chinese train."
It certainly wasn't an American train, but it all seemed simple enough to me. Everyone had to book through the China Travel Service and in return received a coach and seat number.
Every seat was taken and the racks were overloaded with cheap hand-luggage, but it was hardly crazy.