[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

China launches longest high-speed train line

Trains travelling at 300kph on world's fastest rail line run 2,298km between the capital and Guangzhou.
Last Modified: 26 Dec 2012 19:25
The rail line includes 35 stops in major cities between Beijing and Guangzhou[AFP]

China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs almost 2,300km from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in southern China.

The line officially started service on Wednesday when a train departed from Beijing at 9am for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later. 

Trains on this high-speed line will initially run at 300kph with a total travel time of about eight hours between the two cities, compared with the previous time length of 20 hours.

The rail line includes 35 stops in major cities such as Zhenghzhou, Wuhan on the Yangze River and Gangsha. 

State media have reported that December 26 was chosen as the date to open the Beijing-Guangzhou line to commemorate the birth of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1893. 

Railway is an essential part in China's transportation system, and its government plans to build a grid of high-speed railways with four east-west lines and four north-south lines by 2020.

China's high-speed rail network was established in 2007, but has fast become the world's largest with 8,358 kilometres of track at the end of 2010. That is expected to almost double to 16,000km by 2020. 

The railway network, however, has been plagued by graft and safety scandals, most notably a deadly bullet train collision in July 2011 that killed 40 people and led to public outrage.

The accident was China's worst rail disaster since 2008 and caused a torrent of criticism aimed at the government amid accusations that authorities compromised safety in their rush to expand the network.

Authorities said they had taken steps ahead of the new line's opening to improve maintenance and inspection of infrastructure and emergency response measures.

"The emergency rescue system and all kinds of emergency pre-plans are established to improve emergency response ability," according to a ministry booklet.

297

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.