A high-speed rail network covering 13,000 kilometers is scheduled for completion in three years, cutting train journey times considerably.
A trip between Shanghai and southwest China's Chongqing, for instance, would take only seven hours compared with up to 43 hours now.
The network will comprise eight trunk lines, four running north to south and four east to west, and 42 lines overall. It will serve most major cities in China's east, west and central regions.
In addition, a domestically developed train capable of reaching speeds up to 500km per hour will roll off the production line around the end of next year, China News Service reported yesterday, quoting Zhang Shuguang, director of the transportation department under the Ministry of Railways and deputy chief designer of the rail network.
The network will feature 8,000 kilometers of track designed for train speeds of 350km per hour, and the rest will accommodate 250km per hour travel. Zhang estimated that the new system will be able to carry 7 billion passengers a year.
The four north-south trunks include:
- A line from Harbin in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province to Beijing, passing Dalian and Shenyang in Liaoning Province;
- A line linking Beijing and Shanghai;
- A line connecting Xiamen in east China's Fujian Province and Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province;
- A line running from Beijing to Guangdong's Guangzhou via Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province.
The four east-west trunks:
- A line between Taiyuan in northwest China's Shanxi Province to east China's Jiaodong Peninsula, passing Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province;
- A line connecting Xi'an in northwest China's Shaanxi Province with Zhengzhou in Henan Province and Lanzhou in Gansu Province;
- A line running from Chongqing, the biggest city in southwest China, to Shanghai, passing major cities along the Yangtze River including Wuhan and Hefei;
- A line between Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province to Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan Province, stopping at major cities such as Nanchang, Changsha and Guiyang.
At almost the same time, regional high-speed railway networks will be finished between cities in the Bohai Bay area, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta, Zhang said.
Some of the service is already in operation. On the line between Shanghai and Chongqing, the section connecting Wuhan, Hefei and Nanjing has been running since April. It has cut travel time from Wuhan to Shanghai almost in half to five hours.
(Shanghai Daily September 10, 2009)