China Launches World’s Fastest Train Route

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Dec. 28 – The rail link between Wuhan and Guangzhou opened on Saturday in what is described as the world’s fastest train service covering a distance of 1,068 kilometers at the average speed of 350 kph (217 mph).

The distance between the two cities can now be covered in two hours, 45 minutes, and cuts the travel time between the two cities by more than six hours. The train reached a maximum speed of 394 kph during trail runs, while the regular service will use two trains covering the distance while passing through 20 different cities along the route.

The new service is expected to act as a catalyst in the development of central China that includes backward areas like Xianning by linking it to the highly developed Pearl River Delta, the industrial hub of South China.

The era of high speed railway began in China in 2004 when Guangzhou was linked to Shenzhen, both in Guangdong Province, with a train traveling at 160 kph. This was followed by the launch of a high-speed line linking the capital with Tianjin in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

China has unveiled a massive rail development program, considered to be the world’s biggest plan outside the United States. Beijing announced plans to build 42 high-speed lines by 2012 in order to spur economic growth amid the global downturn. The goal is to take the rail network from the current 86,000 kilometers to 120,000 kilometers.