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New high-speed rail starts operation

(China Daily)

07:58, July 01, 2013

A train conductor whistles for passengers to board during a trial run of a high-speed train linking Ningbo and Hangzhou on June 26. Su Yang / China News Service

Line connecting Nanjing to Ningbo greatly shortens travel time in region

The opening of a new high-speed train line linking Nanjing, Jiangsu province, with Ningbo, Zhejiang's only deepwater port, will not only make the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region a possibility, but almost a certainty.

The new high-speed rail line passing through Hangzhou, Zhejiang's provincial capital, will commence operations on Monday.

It is the latest leg of a high-speed rail network of eight lines that cross the industrial heartland of East China.

One of the richest regions in the country, the Yangtze River Delta region, with a total area of 99,600 square kilometers spanning two provinces plus Shanghai, has a combined population of 75 million people.

The cities and industrial pockets in the region are linked by the Yangtze River and its many tributaries.

Efforts to better integrate the region with Shanghai as its center have gained a major boost with the completion of the high-speed rail network that will greatly shorten travel time between cities.

Formerly, it took more than five hours to go from Nanjing to Ningbo, but the high-speed rail line will reduce that time to about two hours.

Providing a faster connection between cities in the region has been a long-term project. According to statistics provided by the Shanghai Railway Administration for the first four months of this year, the Shanghai-Ningbo high-speed railway averaged 210,000 passengers a day, the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed train had 100,000 daily passengers, the Zhejiang coastal high-speed train averaged more than 70,000 passengers daily and the Hefei-Bengbu route was used daily by 13,000 passengers.

Shanghai's role as a transportation center is evident in the scale of its road and rail network, which reached 7,800 km by the end of last year, 1,800 km of which are high-speed rail lines. It is expected the total length of the high-speed rail lines will reach 3,200 km by the end of 2015, all of which are up to international standards.

A close connection between the cities can be seen more intensely in the Hongqiao transportation hub. Located in the western part of the city, the hub connects the airport, high-speed railway and the city's major metro lines, allowing people to transfer between cities with little effort.

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