From 1990 to 2001, on average some 1,092 km of new railways, 837 km of multiple-track, and 962 km of electrified railways were opened to traffic annually, 2.4-fold, 1.7-fold and 1.8-fold increases respectively over the previous 10 years. At the end of 2004, railways in operation reached 74,200 km, including 24,100 km of multiple track and 18,900 km of electrified railways. On a global basis, China's rail transport volume is one of the world's largest, having six percent of the world's operating railways, and carrying 25 percent of the world's total railway workload. China also leads in terms of the growth rate of transport volume and in the efficient use of transport equipment.
Since 1988, train speed has been raised significantly five times, across some 17,000 km of track. The top speed of express trains increased from 120 km to 160 km per hour, and passenger trains can reach maximum speed of 200 km per hour on some sections of the arterial railways.