Giant panda cubs
Cubs playing in the kindergarten at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.PDXWildlife / Grace Russell

There are plenty of ways to brighten up a train journey, such as a good book, a few calming tunes or even a short, invigorating nap. A new subway line in China has instead opted for a slightly more unorthodox method of cheering up its passengers with pandas.

On 31 July, 2016, the provincial capital of South West China's Sichuan province celebrated the debut of its fourth subway line and in doing so treated the first wave of commuters and tourists to Chengdu's 'Panda Train' - an otherwise regular subway train that has adorned its walls, chairs and even hand-holds with panda-themed prints and designs in honour of the region's much-loved black and white bears.

With the exception of the usual subway maps and advertisements, the train's carriage walls are decorated with cartoon panda faces, while a central strip on the floor is covered in pink paw prints.

The panda-style seating ranges from a subtle print on the arm rest to comfy-looking carriage chairs that go full-panda. Ever wanted to sit on a panda's lap? Now you can, sort of.

The panda-themed paraphernalia also includes poles painted to look like bamboo and hand-holds on the ceiling that are shaped like, you guessed it, panda faces. Even the exterior of the train is smothered in panda cartoons, although the announcements that are broadcast in a child's voice could be a shot of cute too far for some.

Running at just over 20km long, the Chengdu's fourth subway line stops at 17 stations, including the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding - a non-profit facility aiding conservation efforts for the dwindling species.