Many of the trains plying the new railway between Shanghai’s western suburb of Hongqiao and Hangzhou will travel the 126 miles in 45 minutes – about half the time trains usually take to make the trip at their fastest speeds.
The China-made CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 262 mph – a world speed record – though it will usually operate at a maximum speed of 220 mph.
The line was opened as China prepares to have 10,000 miles of high-speed rail in operation by 2012.
The effort to develop China’s own ultra high-speed rail technology is a showcase project almost on a par with the country’s space programme as a symbol of national pride and importance.
Railway officials recently announced they were working on technology to boost speeds to more than 312 mph.
Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said all the technology, design and equipment of the CRH380 is China’s own. However, he acknowledged the project began in cooperation with Japan and other countries.
He said: “Now other countries are wanting to cooperate with us. They all want our technology.”
One of the biggest high-speed rail lines under construction is the 32.5-billion dollar (Â£20.6 billion) Beijing-to-Shanghai railway. The 824-mile line is scheduled to open in 2012.
That line will reduce the travelling time between China’s leading cities to five hours.
Tuesday October 26, 2010