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Rapid Beijing-Tianjin train link opens on Friday
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The Beijing-Tianjin high-speed railway will open tomorrow, as scheduled, a railway official said Wednesday.

Tickets for the route linking the capital to the Olympic soccer city, will go on sale today at West Beijing and Beijing railway stations, and from tomorrow at the new Beijing South railway station, from which the new trains will depart, reported the Beijing News.

Tickets to ride the new 350 kph trains will be 69 yuan ($10) for first class and 58 yuan for second class, Zhang Shuguang, deputy chief engineer with the Ministry of Railways, told a press conference at the Beijing International Media Center.

While these are 18 yuan and 16 yuan more expensive than those for the existing bullet trains, which reach a top speed of 250 kph, the journey time will be reduced from about an hour to just 30 minutes, he said.

Forty-seven pairs of trains will run between the two cities each day, Wang Zhiguo, vice-minister of railways, said.

According to a document released last week by the National Development and Reform Committee, some of the slower bullet trains will also use the new line, and ticket prices for those will remain unchanged.

Also, 13 pairs of the slower trains that currently link Beijing to Shanghai, Qingdao and Jinan will, from Friday, leave from Beijing South.

The new railway station will be the biggest in Beijing, but passengers need not be put off by its size, officials have said.

Zheng Jian, deputy chief engineer with the railways ministry, said: "Passengers will never have to walk more than 200 m to get from one train to another."

As well as opening the Beijing-Tianjin intercity rail link, the ministry has added 60 pairs of passenger trains to transport people from Beijing to each of the other five Olympic co-host cities, Zhang said.

A number of trains will also be held in reserve to carry athletes and officials between the cities in the event of bad weather keeping airplanes grounded, Wang said.

Also, the new ticket offices that opened on July 25 to make it easier for passengers to buy Olympic train tickets will remain open until Aug 29.

(China Daily July 31, 2008)

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