A 250 km-per-hour passenger railway between the coal-rich Shanxi province and neighboring Hebei province went into trial operation on Thursday.
The 190 kilometer rail line links Shijiazhuang to Taiyuan, cities of the northern provinces. It is estimated to carry 15 million one-way passengers a year in 2020 and more than 25 million a year in 2030.
The railway would distribute the passenger flow and let the original passenger-goods mixed lines carry more coal from Shanxi.
The 12.64-billion-yuan project ($1.8 billion) began construction in 2005. The line runs through 94 bridges and 32 tunnels, including China's longest mountain tunnel with a length of 27.8 km.
Another five high-speed passenger lines, mostly in southern China, will go into operation in 2009, according to the Ministry of Railways (MOR).
The MOR plans to have 120,000 km of lines in service by 2020, of which 16,000 km would be exclusively for passenger services. At present, China has more than 79,000 km of rail lines. To meet the 2020 target will cost about 5 trillion yuan, the ministry said.