Beijing-Tianjin High Speed Train Service Launched

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BEIJING, Aug. 1 – The RMB14.3 billion Beijing-Tianjin high speed rail service officially began this morning with the first train setting off from Beijing’s South Railway Station.

Operational just in time for the Olympics, the service reaches 350 kilometers per hour, making it the worlds fastest. Similar trains in Japan and Spain run at 320 kph, while in France, Germany and Italy they run at 300 kph (though France’s TGV holds the record for the world’s fastest train at 574.8 kph).

The service cuts the travel time between the two cities to just 30 minutes as opposed to the current two hours. As China’s fourth port, Tianjin acts as an important manufacturing hub for businesses servicing the capital and oversees most of the imports that come into Beijing. It is also hosting some of the Olympic soccer events.

The service will host 47 pairs of trains that will shuttle between the two cities, with a ticket costing RMB69 for a first class seat. When operating at full capacity, trains will depart every three minutes during rush hour, making Tianjin a viable commuter base for executives working in the capital.

The line has a total length of 113 kilometers, of which roughly 100 kilometers is built on viaducts and the last 17 kilometers on an embankment. The elevated design was chosen due to the flat surface the line crosses. Construction of the line began in July 2005.