China Exclusive: China’s high speed rail track exceeds 20,000 km

China’s high-speed railways now exceed 20,000 km in length with the opening of a line linking Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province with Xuzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province Saturday.

The 360-km line has nine stations and trains run at a speed of up to 300 km per hour in the initial period.

The line connects the west with two major north-south lines, helping cut travel time between west and east.

When another line linking Baoji and Lanzhou is put into operation, high-speed trains will run all the way from Xuzhou to Urumqi in the country’s far west.

Huang Xin of China Railway Corp. said the first 10,000 km took 11 years and has since doubled in only three years, and is expected to nearly double again by 2025 and reach 45,000 km in 2030.

In 2015, China’s high-speed trains carried 961 million passengers, up 237 percent from the number in 2011.

With the coming of high-speed trains, people in Beijing and Shanghai have begun to buy homes nearby cities and commute. Li Miao lives in Langfang in Hebei, 55 km south of Beijing and works in the city. The trip to Beijing takes only 21 minutes.

In mid July, two trains travelling at 420 km per hour in opposite directions passed each other on parallel tracks, fastest event of its kind. In the next few years, trains at a speed of over 500 km per hour will run on the Beijing-Shenyang line.

Chinese bullet trains have also found international customers in Indonesia, Russia, Iran and India.

Construction of a 150-km high-speed link between the Indonesian capital Jakarta and Bandung began in January 2016. It will cut travel time between the two cities by about two thirds.

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