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China's high-speed train sets new speed record
Published on: 2010-09-29
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A high-speed train in eastern China set a new speed record during its trial service Tuesday, highlighting China's leading position in the fast-train industry.

The China-made CRH380A train hit a maximum speed of 416.6 kilometers per hour -- a world train speed record -- on its run between the metropolis of Shanghai and Hangzhou, capital city of east China's Zhejiang Province.

The train is designed to run at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour on the 202-kilometer-long railway between the two cities.

Some 80 million passengers are expected to travel the route every year.

A one-way journey previously took two hours. But the new train shortens that to less than 40 minutes.

"China has 7,055 kilometers of high-speed railway in service. It is the world's longest and the fastest, and boasts the most comprehensive technology," said He Huawu, chief engineer of the Ministry of Railways.

"We have an ambition to lead the world in high-speed railway construction," he said.

China sets its first world speed record on June 24, 2008. Then, the Beijing-Tianjin CRH3 high-speed train hit a top speed of 394.3 kilometers an hour.

After that, more fast-train lines were put into service - the Wuhan-Guangzhou line linking central and south China, the Zhengzhou-Xi'an line connecting central and western China, and the Shanghai-Nanjing line in the country's east.

Liu Zhijun, Minister of Railways, said the opening of the Shanghai-Hangzhou line relieves transportation pressures in the Yangtze River Delta, one of China's most dynamic economic areas.

"It is also significant for regional economic, cultural and social development," Liu said.

Because of railways' importance to economic development, China aims to expand its high-speed rail network.

By 2012, China will have a railway network of 110,000 kilometers, 13,000 kilometers of which will be high-speed rail, according to the MOR.

The 1,318-kilometer Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway is scheduled to open in 2012. Total investment in the line is estimated at 220.9 billion yuan (32.5 billion U.S. dollars).

Once complete, travel time between the country's two most important cities by train will be cut in half to less than five hours.

China's rapid development of high-speed railway technology at a reasonable cost is also drawing the world's attention.

Many nations - including the United States, Brazil and Argentina - have expressed hope Chinese contractors can join high-speed railway construction projects in their countries.
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