CHINA> National
China to have world's fastest train by 2012
Updated: 2009-03-06 22:36

BEIJING -- Trains on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railroad under construction will run at 350 km per hour, the fastest in the world, said Li Heping, a researcher at the China Academy of Railway Sciences on Friday.

The 1,318-km-long railway line, with a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour, will beat the fastest rails in the world at present, which has a designed speed of 320 kilometers per hour, he said.

Trains will take less than five hours to make the run from the capital to Shanghai, which is now at least 11 hours.

The new rail line would be used for passenger service, while the existing one for cargo transportation, according to Li.

Related readings:
 Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railroad nears completion
 China to spend $731B on railways by 2020
 CRH sleeper trains debut in Shanghai
 Slowing economy means flat rail cargo volume for 2009

"The railway traffic strain will be greatly eased by 2012 as the country will increase investment and build faster rails and trains," he said.

The Ministry of Railways has said it planned to invest 1.2 trillion yuan ($175.44 billion) to improve the railway system, aiming to have 13,000 km of passenger lines by 2012.

According to Li, 8,000 km of the lines would allow trains to travel between 200 to 350 km per hour, and 5,000 km for trains with a speed from 200 to 250 km.

The money is part of the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package announced by the government late last year, the ministry said.

Currently, there are not enough seats for all the people who want to travel, especially during the Lunar New Year every year, when millions are on the move for family reunion.

"Research on high-speed trains are going on smoothly," he said. The new trains would be batch-produced after trial operations in 2012.

China was developing trains that would run at a designed speed of 350 km per hour, and the speed for test might exceed 380 kilometers, according to Li.

China aimed to put 120,000 km of rail lines in service by 2020, of which 16,000 km would be dedicated to only passenger services, according to the Ministry of Railways.

To meet the 2020 target will require about 5 trillion yuan, the ministry said.