China's launch of key high-speed railway imminent
Tuesday 14 June 2011
China's much-anticipated high-speed railway linking Beijing and Shanghai is set to open this month, the government said Monday, shrugging off safety concerns after a recent corruption scandal.
"The technologies are advanced, the quality is reliable and safety is guaranteed. It is fully ready for operations and will open in late June," vice rail minister Hu Yadong told a news conference.
One-way ticket prices will range between 410 yuan and 1750 yuan ($63 and $270) subject to further adjustments, he added, compared to about 1,300 yuan for a flight between the two cities.
Hu said the trains would run between 250 and 300 kilometres (155 and 188 miles) per hour on the $33 billion new link, although the line is designed for a maximum speed of 380 kph.
The speed is in line with a nationwide directive made public in April that said all high-speed trains must run at a slower pace than previously announced - no faster than 300 kph - to make journeys safer.
This followed a major corruption scandal in February that raised concerns over the costs and safety of China's high-speed rail links.
Then railways minister Liu Zhijun was dismissed after an investigation into "serious disciplinary violations" - a term that usually results in criminal charges.
He had allegedly taken more than 800 million yuan in kickbacks on contracts linked to China's high-speed rail network.
A month later, China's state auditor revealed that construction companies and individuals had last year siphoned off 187 million yuan in funds meant for the Beijing-Shanghai link.
But the new railway is still highly anticipated, as a journey between the two cities may take only four and three quarter hours - two hours less than the fastest current trip by train.
The Beijing-Shanghai flight takes about two hours. But travel to the airports is in itself time-consuming, and the busy air route is often subject to delays and cancellations.
China has invested heavily in its high-speed rail network, which reached 8,358 kilometres at the end of 2010 and is expected to exceed 13,000 kilometres by 2012 and 16,000 kilometres by 2020.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...