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New High-Speed Rail Makes Beijing-Shanghai 4-Hour Traffic Possible

China will open its high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai in June, cutting the journey between the two cities in half to less than five hours. The 1,318-kilometre railway, which has cost 220.9 billion yuan ($33 billion) to build, began construction in April 2008 and was originally planned to open in 2012.

The rail line is the first one designed for 380 km/h commercial running. Once in operation, its train services will become the world's fastest — the position currently occupied by the trains of the Wuhan–Guangzhou line, which opened in December 2009. The non-stop train from Beijing South Station to Shanghai Hongqiao Station is expected to finish the journey in 3 hours 58 minutes, averaging 329 km/h, compared to 10 hours by the fastest conventional trains.

An estimated 220,000 passengers are expected to use the trains each day, which is double the current capacity. During peak hours there should be a train every five minutes.

China's high-speed rail network has been developing rapidly over the past decade, reaching a total of 8,358 kilometres, the world's longest. It was expected to reach 16,000 kilometres by 2015, and China planned to invest 3 trillion to 4 trillion yuan in its high-speed rail network between 2011 and 2015.