Published on : Monday, December 30, 2013
China Railway Corp, the country’s national railway operator, has put seven new high-speed lines into service in the southern, central and western regions of the country, resulting in the national high-speed railway network, consisting of eight major lines — four horizontal and four vertical — taking shape.
With the coming to service of the new lines on Saturday, China’s high-speed railway network now exceeds 10,000 kilometers, or nearly half of the world total, and is expected to hit 18,000 km by 2020.
Shaanxi province’s Xi’an-Baoji line runs at 250 kilometres per hour (kph). The other six lines are being operated at 200 kph and are slower because they traverse trickier topography, according to a China Daily report.
The travel time from Beijing to Guilin, a picturesque city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on the border with Vietnam in the south, has been shortened from about 26 hours to 10.5 hours and it now takes 3.5 hours to travel from Guangdong province’s Shenzhen to Fujian province’s Xiamen by bullet train – eight hours less than before. And travel time from Shanghai to Shenzhen has been cut from 18 hours to fewer than 12.
The high-speed rail along the coastlines of Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong — connecting Shanghai, Xiamen and Shenzhen, which lies across the border from Hong Kong — is crucial to the integration of three of China’s important economic hubs — the Yangtze River Delta, the Fujian city cluster and the Pearl River Delta.
The number of passengers from Guangdong to northern China has risen 20 per cent this year, thanks to the 2,298-km Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway, the world’s longest. It has carried nearly 100 million people in its first year of service.
It is significant that four of the seven new lines are in Guangxi.
Guangxi railway construction office deputy director Luo Wei said the high-speed railway network in Guangxi has extended over six years from nothing to 1,137 km, or one tenth of the national total.
Guangxi, with 230,000 square kilometers and 50 million residents, is China’s first ethnic autonomous region to be integrated into the national high-speed railway network, ahead of the Xinjiang Uygur, Ningxia Hui, Inner Mongolia and Tibet autonomous regions.
The ticket price from Guilin to Beijing is 2,530 yuan (about 415 US dollars) for a business-class seat, 1,250 yuan for a first-class seat and 806 yuan for a second-class seat. The cost is comparable with airline ticket prices.
Guilin’s tourism agencies are optimistic about the new travellers the bullet trains will attract from inland China. Ticket prices for a high-speed train in the region range from 30 yuan to 150 yuan.
Some counties in Guangxi’s economic hubs of Guilin and Liuzhou boast their own high-speed railway stations.
Spokespersons for Guilin’s Quanzhou county and Liuzhou’s Luzhai county said that not only will the counties’ commuters enjoy more convenient travel but also investors and travellers will more easily access these locations. Previously, county-level prefectures could be reached only by expressways.
Tags: Railway News