High-Speed Trains Cut Travel Time to Central China and YRD

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Mar. 25 – Two new high-speed railways will slash travel time to Central China and the Yangtze River Delta when they begin operations on April 1.

The two new railways are the Hefei-Wuhan passenger railway and the Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan railway that connects the north and the west. A journey from Wuhan to Shanghai will be cut in half to four hours and 45 minutes while Wuhan to Nanjing will can be made in less than three hours.

The travel time between the capital cities of Hebei and Shanxi provinces will be whittled down to one hour from the previous five hours. On the other hand, a journey from Taiyuan and Beijing will only take three hours, a saving of more than five hours.

The opening of the new railways is forcing airlines and bus companies to decrease prices to remain competitive. There are reports of airlines already giving discounts of up to 70 percent for flights from Wuhan to Shanghai beginning April 1.  Tomorrow, bus tickets will be offererd at lower price of RMB90 from RMB185.

The chief of the transportation department of the Ministry of Railways, Zhang Shuguang, told Xinhua that  starting next month, the ministry will add 89 pairs of passenger trains on a number of popular routes thus increasing passenger capacity by 10.6 percent.

The agency is considering selling train tickets over the phone and via the Internet. Pilot programs have already begun in Guangdong and Chongqing.

The first high-speed railway in the country, the 350-kph Beijing-Tianjin route,  opened last year.