China Opens Longest High Speed Rail Line
China launched services on Wednesday on the world’s longest high – speed rail route, the latest milestone in the country’s rapid and — sometimes troubled — super – fast rail network.
The opening of the 2,298 – km line between Beijing and Guangzhou means passengers will be whisked from the capital to the southern commercial hub in just eight hours, compared with the 22 hours previously.
State broadcaster China Central Television showed the 9:00 am departure of the first train live from Beijing West Railway Station and its arrival later in Guangzhou at about 5:00 pm.
It also carried occasional live reports inside the train throughout the day, showing passengers toting cameras to snap commemorative photos, as well as shots from outside as it sped through the countryside.
Another train departed Guangzhou for the capital at 10:00 am and arrived in Beijing at about 6:00 pm.
State media have reported that December 26 was chosen to start the Beijing – Guangzhou service to commemorate the birth in 1893 of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
Four main lines
China’s high – speed rail network was only established in 2007 but has fast become the world’s largest. The official Xinhua news agency said China now operates 9,300 km of high – speed railways.
The state – run China Daily newspaper said on Wednesday that the high – speed rail network is set to jump to 50,000 km by 2020, with four main lines running north and south and another four east and west. China’s domestic network, while a symbol of its emergence as the world’s second largest economy, has also been plagued by graft and safety scandals, such as a collision in July 2011 that killed 40 people. The Global Times newspaper on Wednesday quoted a Ministry of Railways official acknowledging continuing problems despite intense efforts to solve them during trial runs.
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