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.