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Beijing-Shanghai bullet train testing set to begin
Published on: 2011-02-21
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China's high-speed railway development took another stride forward yesterday with the power being switched on in Shanghai and nearby cities to enable test runs on the Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail link to start.

The line will be fully tested from March 20 when bullet trains traveling at more than 400 kilometers per hour will make the trip to iron out any problems and make adjustments before the new line opens to the public on June 20.

The trains will run between Shanghai's Hongqiao Railway Station and Beijing's South Railway Station during the tests, the national railway authority said yesterday.

The 1,318-kilometer link will cut the journey between Shanghai and the capital to less than five hours from the current 10 to 18 hours.

The line, which runs through Tianjin Municipality and Hebei, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, will also increase capacity in the northern, eastern and middle regions of the country.

There will be 24 stops on the route including regional transport hubs such as Bengbu Station in Anhui Province and Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province.

There will be some non-stop shuttles between Shanghai and Beijing in the future and the railway authority also plans to launch direct trains between Shanghai and other major cities along the way, including Tianjin, Jinan and Nanjing.

The power grid to facilitate the train operation in Shanghai and nearby cities was switched on yesterday, the authority said, and warning signs and posters have been erected along the route. The grid will be carrying 27,500 volts of electricity and people have been warned not to get near the power supply facilities. Balloon and kite flying is also prohibited in an area 300 meters from the tracks.

The new line is designed with a travel speed of 350kph and above. A train reached 486.1kph during a previous test on a stretch between Shandong and Anhui provinces, the railway authority said.

It is not yet known how much tickets will cost. Flights between Shanghai and Beijing cost around 1,200 yuan at present with a journey time of 1.5 hours.

The Shanghai-Beijing bullet train project is said to have cost 220.9 billion yuan (US$33.6 billion), the highest expenditure on a national infrastructure project to date.

Liu Zhijun, a leading initiator of high-speed railway expansion, was removed from his post as railways minister earlier this month in connection with a probe into suspected corruption. Liu said last month that another 700 billion yuan would be invested in construction this year to build more high-speed links and improve facilities.

The railway ministry said it was to boost capacity on the Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed rail lines to make travel to the city's two neighboring provinces easier. There will be an increase in the number of train services from beginning of next month and the extra trains will stop at Changzhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, as well as Haining and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province.

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