Bullet train linking Beijing and Shanghai to begin in June

10:48, January 05, 2011      

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A high-speed rail link between Shanghai and Beijing will open in mid-June with bullet trains traveling at an average speed of 350 kilometers per hour, the Ministry of Railways said yesterday.

The journey will take less than five hours. Currently, a rail trip between the two cities can take from 10 to 18 hours.

The new high-speed line will link Shanghai's Hongqiao Railway Station and Beijing's South Railway Station.

No ticket prices have been announced but analysts say a reasonable price would put the trains in direct competition with the air service between the two cities. Flights cost around 1,200 yuan with a journey time of about 90 minutes.

Construction of the 1,318-kilometer line is said to have cost 220.9 billion yuan (US$33.4 billion) - the most to have been spent on a single national infrastructure project in China, railway authorities said.

The new line is not only expected to be a boost for passengers traveling between Shanghai and the capital but, more importantly, to strengthen transport capacity in the northern, eastern and middle regions of the country, railway experts said.

The Shanghai-Beijing High-speed Railway will run through Tianjin Municipality and Hebei, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces.

A rail trip from Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, to Beijing will be shortened to 1.5 hours compared to between 3 hours 15 minutes and 7 hours at present while the trip to Shanghai will be 3 hours 30 minutes compared to the current 8 to 15 hours.

Bengbu Station in Anhui Province and Xuzhou Station in Jiangsu Province, both major railway traffic hubs and regional exchange centers, will also be among the 24 stops on the new Shanghai-Beijing line.

According to industry analysts, the rail lines between Shanghai and Beijing constitute just 2 percent of the national network in terms of length but handle 10.2 percent of the country's passenger turnover and 7.2 percent of its cargo.

During the early stages of the new service, speeds will be restricted to 300kph, making the journey about 4 hours and 37 minutes, railway authorities said.

Eventually, however, speeds of up to 380kph will be achieved, making the journey just under four hours.

The service will use 16-carriage trains with each train carrying 1,004 passengers. Each train will have a VIP carriage with sleeper chairs that can be laid flat and which feature LCD TV screens.

By the end of last year, China had 8,358 kilometers of high-speed railways in service with 1,200 bullet trains in operation.

Railways Minister Liu Zhijun said the country plans to open another 5,000 kilometers of high-speed lines this year.

He said China would invest another 700 billion yuan in railway construction in 2011 with 70 new projects starting this year, including building 15 new regional high-speed railways and inter-city direct train services. Among the projects is a direct link between Shanghai and Nantong City in Jiangsu Province.

Source:Shanghai Daily
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