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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Putting high-speed travel back on track

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)

08:20, December 13, 2011

A train runs on the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed railway as the sun sets in Jiaxing in East China's Zhejiang province. (Photo from China Daily)

Experts call for reforms as ministry looks to restore confidence in rail network. Xin Dingding reports in Beijing.

China's bullet-train ambitions hit a number of snags in 2011 and ultimately slowed down. It was not what the Ministry of Railways had pictured.

Last December, when China became the first Asian nation to host a global high-speed rail summit, Liu Zhijun, the country's railways minister at the time, said China had 7,531 kilometers of railways running at 200 km/h and faster, including 4,322 km of newly laid track.

More than 10,000 km of high-speed railways were also being rolled out across the country, he said, with the majority set to open to public in 2013. By 2020, China's high-speed network would increase by 16,000 km, he said.

"People were excited and optimistic about the prospect," said Li Kun, a researcher specialized in railways at the comprehensive transport institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economy planner.

"Soon after, though, they were gripped by a feeling of insecurity and sadness, and society began to question the development of high-speed travel," he said.

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