China is aiming to make a high-speed rail line linking Beijing and Shanghai the world’s fastest when it opens in 2012. This according to Zhang Shuguang, the Ministry of Railways’ deputy chief engineer, so you can take it as pretty official.
The trip will be by Chinese-designed trains capable of speeds up to 380 kilometers (236 miles) an hour.
Previously the trains had been planned to run at up 350 kilometers an hour, the same speed as the current generation of Chinese ‘bullet’ rail services, and take about five hours. Raising the speed takes an hour off the journey.
Construction has begun on the new rail line and is expected to be completed within four years.
The line is part of China’s ambitious plans to build more than 12,000 kilometers of high speed railway to connect its major urban centers.
The government has committed hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade its rail system by 2020. All the new lines will be double track and by 2020 China should have separate networks for passenger travel and cargo. The difference that this will make to logistics is incalculable. One could forecast a new spurt in the Chinese economy which will start as the double tracks open.
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