Backgrounder: The development of China's high-speed rail network

20:27, December 07, 2010      

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China's high-speed rail network has been developing quickly over the past years, with a combined length totaling 7,531 kilometers, the world's longest, announced Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun in Beijing Tuesday.

The following is the timeline of China's high-speed railway development:

The State Council, China's cabinet, approved the Medium and Long-term Plan for Railway Network in 2004, the start of China's development of high-speed railways --railroads capable of accommodating trains with a traveling speed of 200 km per hour and beyond.

According to the plan, by 2020, the total length of operational railways in China will exceed 120,000 km, with newly built high-speed railways accounting for over 16,000 km.

On April 18, 2007, China launched its sixth round of comprehensive train speed hiking drive, marking the start of a new era in high-speed rail development in the country, while China's indigenously developed railroads cars bearing labels featuring "China Railway High Speed" or CRH began to appear in growing numbers.

On trunk railroads linking Beijing to three other Chinese cities of Harbin, Shanghai and Guangzhou, for instance, high-speed trains were traveling at speeds between 200 km per hour and 250 km per hour in that very year.

On April 18, 2008, construction started on the Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway. According to designs, trains on the line will have a top operational speed of 380 km per hour, and the entire journey, extending 1,318 km, will take just four hours.

Upon completion, the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will be the longest and the fastest with the highest standards in the world.

On Aug. 1, 2008, the first inter-city express line, the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, began service. Trains on the line have reached a speed of 350 km per hour.

On Dec. 26, 2009, the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-speed Railway was put into service. It has an operating speed of 350 km per hour. With the high-speed railway service, the time for a single trip to travel from Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, with a distance of 1,069 km, is cut down to three hours.

The Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity High-speed Railway opened on July 1. The high-speed line is believed to be the shortest of its kind in China with the most number of stops.

On Dec. 3, 2010, a CRH-380A train set a new speed record of 486.1 km per hour on a test run on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway.

Source: Xinhua


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