World's longest, fastest railway goes online in China

16:08, July 01, 2010      

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The Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway, the longest and fastest inter-city high-speed railway with the highest standards in the world, started operation at 8 a.m. today.

China currently has nearly 7,000 kilometers of high-speed railways. Its high-speed railway has the longest operational mileage, the highest speed and largest scale in the world.

The Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway covers a distance of 301 kilometers with 21 stations and a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour. It links eight cities around the Yangzte River Delta and has become a powerful engine for modernization in that region, said Wang Yongping, spokesman of China's Ministry of Railways.

The railway line crosses the core area of the Yangtze River Delta, China's most dense urban circle group with the most advanced productivity and powerful economic growth. Statistics show that that region creates 22.1 percent of China's GDP, 24.5 percent of its fiscal revenue and 47.2 percent of total imports and exports though it only accounts for 2.2 percent of China's land area and 10.4 percent of population.

In 2009, GDP of the cities along the railway line, including Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, Wuxi and Suzhou, amounted to 2.1 trillion yuan (around 306.72 U.S. dollars), accounting for 61 percent of the GDP in Jiangsu province.

The Shanghai-Nanjing railway line, completed in 1908, is one of the earliest major railway arteries in China. It is also one of the busiest railway arteries in China and the world. According to estimates, total traffic in the Yangtze River Delta will exceed 3 billion passengers in 2010, and traffic will reach 5.5 billion passengers in 2020.

China's State Council approved the plan for the inter-city transportation network in March 2005. The Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway, with investments by the Ministry of Railway, Jiangsu provincial government and Shanghai municipal government, started construction on July 1, 2008.

After its completion, there will be 120 pairs of high-speed trains arranged to join daily operation. In its initial period of operation, 92 pairs will be put into operation. It will take only 73 minutes from Shanghai to Nanjing. A one-hour urban circle between the two cities will be made.

The completion of the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway meets the requirement of the Yangtze River Delta, taking a vital step in achieving full modernization in China. The railway, along with the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed railway, will strongly improve the network level of regional urban systems and modernization. It is critical to speed up the cooperation, linkage and integration process in that region and offer a wider platform for the development of the Yangtze River Delta, said Shen Yufang, professor of the Yangtze Basin Development Institute at East China Normal University.

Yanli, mayor of Suzhou city told reporters that Suzhou's economy is dominated by industry and the service sector only accounts for 39.4 percent of the tertiary industry. After the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway starts operation, it will be more convenient for Suzhou to absorb Shanghai's radiation effects, which will be vital to promote the service industry— especially for high-end and modern service sectors such as finance, consultation and media industries.

The total length of track for China's high-speed railway (including the newly-built high-speed railway and existing railway lines with speeds of over 200 kilometers per hour) will reach 6,920 kilometers after the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed rail officially joins the operation. China will be the country with the most comprehensive high-speed railway system technology, strongest integrated capacity, longest operation mileage, highest operation speed and largest on-going construction scale of high-speed railways in the world.

By People's Daily Online


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