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Cover Stories Series 2013> All Aboard
UPDATED: December 29, 2012 NO. 1 JANUARY 3, 2013
Full Speed Ahead

The world's longest high-speed railway was put into operation from Beijing to Guangzhou on December 26, 2012. Connecting the nation's capital and south China's Guangdong Province, the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway runs 2,298 km and proves once again that China's high-speed railway technology and the management of its transport systems have steadily improved.

China's high-speed rail construction began in 1999. Within a decade, China had established several lines in its high-speed railway network, an achievement secured by the country's strength as the world's second largest economy.

The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway was put into operation in 2011, arresting world attention. Compared with that railway, the Beijing-Guangzhou line has achieved breakthroughs in technology, including in ballastless tracks. China has become the first country to wield the complete technologies of ballastless tracks in mountain areas and long-distance tunnels.

As an important north-south corridor in China's railway network plan, the Beijing-Guangzhou line will bring vigor to the economic and social development along the railway. While passing by four provincial capitals—Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Changsha, the Beijing-Guangzhou line is also connected with the other completed high-speed lines covering most metropolitan areas in the eastern and central regions. All densely populated areas lie somewhere along the high-speed network, which will continue to reduce time and costs as well as facilitate the flow of people and goods.

There is no high-speed railway connecting China's eastern and western regions. China needs more high-speed railways to meet the demands of economic and social development. The Beijing-Guangzhou line remains an important piece in the vast puzzle of China's future high-speed rail development, and in the near future it may no longer be the longest.

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