Quake Shocks Sichuan
Nation demonstrates progress in dealing with severe disaster
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: November 1, 2010 NO. 44 NOVEMBER 4, 2010
Speeding Into A New Era
China endeavors to increase its land transportation efficiency by building a much more complicated rail network

DASHING AHEAD: A high-speed train departs from the Hongqiao Station in Shanghai on October 26, marking the beginning of operations for the 202-km Shanghai-Hangzhou High-Speed Railway (CHEN FEI)

A 202-km high-speed railway linking two major Chinese cities was officially put into operation on October 19, the latest landmark in the country's largest railway construction boom.

Two bullet trains equipped with China's CRH380A system jumpstarted simultaneously at 9:00 a.m. on October 26 from Hongqiao Station in Shanghai and Hangzhou Station in Zhejiang Province, marking the inaugural run of the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed railway.

The new railway, with an operational speed of 350 km per hour, shortens the trip time between the two terminuses to 45 minutes from 78 minutes.

During a trial run in September, the train on the new railway set a new speed record of 416.6 km per hour. Construction of the new line began in February 2009 and the track laying was completed this August.

Passengers on the super fast train between the two cities pay 156 yuan ($23.3) for a first-class seat and 98 yuan ($14.6) for a second-class seat.

The new link in the Yangtze River Delta brings China's total high-speed rails, with a speed of more than 200 km per hour, to 7,431 km, the longest in the world. More than 10,000 km are being constructed in China.

China is rapidly expanding and upgrading its railway network amid increased pressures on its transportation system. It launched its first high-speed line, which links the capital and the port city of Tianjin, during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Since then, more lines have been put into service.

The highlight of China's high-speed rail network will be the 1,318-km Beijing-Shanghai line. Currently under construction, the 220.9 billion yuan ($33 billion) line is scheduled to open in 2012. Once completed, train travel time between the country's two most important cities will be cut in half to less than five hours.

According to the Ministry of Railways (MOR), China will have a rail network of 110,000 km by 2012, with 13,000-km high-speed rail forming a national network with four east-west lines and four north-south lines. The network will reduce the travel time between provincial capital cities of neighboring provinces to less than two hours and the travel time between Beijing and most provincial capital cities to less than eight hours.

The Central Government's blueprint on railway construction says China will have a rail network of more than 120,000 km by 2020.

Since construction began in 2004, 30,000 km of railways have been installed with a total investment of 2 trillion yuan ($298.5 billion) by the end of 2009. Investment sources have become diversified as less than 10 percent of the projects are funded solely by the Central Government and funding from local governments and non-government entities account for 30 percent of the total investment.

MOR announced in March that by 2020 China's high-speed passenger rail network will reach more than 90 percent of the population by linking all the provincial capital cities and cities with more than 500,000 residents.

Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University of China, told Jiefang Daily in January that building high-speed railways is particularly necessary for China, which has a huge population and limited land resources and needs to use technology to maximize the transportation efficiency of its rail network.

"The operation of the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed rail line will help alleviate traffic pressure in the Yangtze River Delta region," Liu Zhijun, Minister of Railways, said at the line's inauguration ceremony.

"It will not only promote economic and personnel exchange but also facilitate the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region as well," Liu said.

MOR forecasts indicate passengers are expected to make 3.05 billion trips in and out of the Yangtze River Delta in 2010, with the figure jumping to 5.5 billion in 2020.

Zhou Shaoxiong, a professor of Hangzhou Normal University studying regional economic development, told Shanghai Securities News the inauguration of the high-speed railway enables Hangzhou to enjoy the development synergy between major cities in the Yangtze River Delta. He said this also offers development opportunities to medium-sized and small cities along the new line.

Zhou said tourism and the entertainment industry will be the major sectors benefiting from high-speed rail in Hangzhou, a city eager to establish itself as an international resort city by taking advantage of the fame of the World Expo in Shanghai.

Top Story
-Too Much Money?
-Special Coverage: Economic Shift Underway
-Quake Shocks Sichuan
-Special Coverage: 7.0-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Sichuan
-A New Crop of Farmers
Related Stories
-The Maglev Dispute
-Better Rails, Better Life
-Riding the High-Speed Rails
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved