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High-speed rail links Zhengzhou and Wuhan

By Tan Zongyang  (China Daily)

08:44, September 29, 2012

Passengers get on board a bullet train at Zhengzhou East Station in Henan province on Friday, as the 536-km high-speed railway to Wuhan, Hubei province, went into official service. Bullet trains shorten the travel time between the two cities to less than two hours, down from four hours and 28 minutes. (Xinhua/Zhu Xiang)

Bullet trains cut travel time between the two cities to less than two hours

A new high-speed railway, which connects the capital cities of Henan and Hubei provinces in Central China, was put into service on Friday, creating a new north-south corridor in the national high-speed rail grid.

The first pair of bullet trains started to run on the Zhengzhou-Wuhan line at 9 am on Friday.

The new line decreases the travel time between the two cities to two hours, down from four and a half hours.

Construction began on the 536 km line, with a total investment of 57 billion yuan ($9 billion), in 2008, with a top designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

For now, the new line will carry 24 pairs of trains every day, with a speed limit of 300 km/h, railway authorities said.

The line is a major part of the 2,300-km Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway, China's longest high-speed line in planning, which is expected to open by the end of the year.

China slowed progress of high-speed railway construction after a deadly train crash in East China's Wenzhou in July 2011, but high-speed railways are still growing to meet the huge market demand. Authorities plan to build more than 16,000 km of high-speed lines by 2020.

Zhang Junbang, head of the Zhengzhou Railway Bureau, said at the line's opening ceremony that the new line is connected with many existing high-speed lines, creating a larger fast-track network in the region with great social and economic benefits.

The line, which extends the Wuhan-Guangzhou line to the north, links many major railway hubs, such as Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an, Guangzhou and Nanjing, on a grid connected by high-speed railways.

"The line will increase passenger flows to stimulate local economic development, which will help build inland Central China as an economic highland and serve the national strategy of going west," Zhang said.

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