The Beijing-Tianjin Inter-City Express Railway, the fastest of its kind in service in the world, began operation on August 1, 2008, making possible the urban agglomeration of Beijing and Tianjin, which are the only pair of megalopolises in the world with a straight-line distance of around 100 km.
The express railway cuts the journey time between the two cities to just half an hour.
Trains runs at 300 km per hour on the line, and can reach a top speed of 350 km per hour.
Beijing and Tianjin, the two major municipalities in northern China, are situated at the center of the circum-Bohai Bay area, one of the fastest developing and most dynamic regions in China.
At present, there are more than 30 million people, among whom 25 million are permanent residents, living in these two cities.
Since the two cities are the core of the circum-Bohai Bay economic rim, there is an urgent need for the two cities to complement each other's strengths.
In the past, Beijing and Tianjin were mainly connected by one railway and one two-way expressway with four lanes.
It was obvious that this was unable to meet the demands of social and economic development and therefore hampered cooperation between the two cities. It was also not convenient for people to travel.
To solve the problem, Beijing and Tianjin reached an agreement several years ago, determined to build an express railway, expressway and airport to tackle the transport problem and enhance the connection between the two.
Construction of the Beijing-Tianjin Inter city Express Railway kicked off on July 4, 2005 and was completed on December 16, 2007, with the length of 120 kilometers and stations including South Beijing, Yizhuang, Wuqing, Tianjin and Yongle.
The journey time between Beijing and Tianjin is approximately 30 minutes, with the shortest running interval of three minutes.
The operation of the railway has created the most convenient "Half-An-Hour-Traffic Rim" connecting Beijing and Tianjin, two major municipalities in China, making the trip shorter, faster and more comfortable.
The railway will play an important role in enhancing exchange of human resources and accelerating economic integration between the two cities, and promoting social and economic development around the circum-Bohai Bay area.
By 2010, Beijing and Tianjin will have a "seamless traffic link" with Tianjin subway lines 2, 3 and 9, Beijing-Tianjin Inter city Express Railway and Beijing subway line 4 and 14 functioning together.
At that time, taking the subway and railway will be the most speedy and convenient way for residents to travel between the two cities.
The railway not only accelerates the agglomeration and integration of the two municipalities, but also opens a new stage in China's express railway construction.
The Beijing-Tianjin Inter-City Express Railway is the first inter city express railway in operation in Medium- and Long-Term Railway Network Plan and is an important component of inter city track transportation network of the circum-Bohai Bay area.
According to the network plan, by 2010, China's railway in operation will surpass 90,000 km; special railway lines for trains running over 200 km per hour will reach 7,000 km and fast passenger transport lines will total at 20,000 km.
Upon the completion of the Beijing-Tianjin, Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou express railways, the circum-Bohai Bay economic rim, the Yangtze River Delta economic circle and Pearl River economic circle will be connected, involving a population of approximately 800 million people.
(China Daily 09/25/2008 page14)