Inside the world's fastest bullet train

China unveils new service between Beijing and Shanghai, but some question the rail's profitability.

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    China has unveiled the world's fastest passenger train, which will travel at up to 350 kilometres per hour, shaving 30 minutes off the journey time from the Chinese capital, Beijing, to Shanghai.

    The new service, called Fuxing, was launched in Beijing on Thursday.

    Despite the decreased travel time, experts are raising questions about the economic benefits of the new project. 

    "The purpose of raising the speed is mainly symbolic," Zhao Jian, economics professor and commentator, told Al Jazeera.

    "The train is the fastest in the world, which implies the strength of Chinese train technology and science," he added. 

    READ MORE: China's Silk Road project - A trap or an opportunity?

    According to estimates by international think tanks, it costs 90 percent more to build lines for trains that reach 350km/h than for ones that allow a speed of 250km/h.

    Six years ago, there were questions over the future of the network following a high-speed rail crash caused by a signalling failure that killed 40 people near the city of Wenzhou.

    It led the country to reduce its speed limit to 300km/h.

    But, after Thursday's launch, China's government is now looking to build more bullet trains, both at home and abroad.

    "Nobody predicted that the high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai would be profitable when it was built," Zhang Xiaodong, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, told Al Jazeera.

    "But after a seven to eight-year development, it gains, so it can work in other regions as well after eight to 10 years," he added.

    Watch the video above to find out more.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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