In the next few years, much of China’s rail network will be converted to high-speed rail, allowing travelers and goods to move around the country at unprecedented speeds. Today China took one more step toward its high-speed rail dreams.
China’s newest high-speed rail line, which connects Shanghai with Hangzhou, was unveiled today. Now in less than one hour, one can travel from bustling Shanghai to Hangzhou’s teashops and silk stores, not to mention beautiful West Lake.
Trains left this morning from Hongqiao in western Shanghai for Hangzhou, a substantial 126 miles (200 km) away. Within 45 minutes, the trains completed their journeys, which previously took twice as long.
The Future of High-Speed Rail
Some high-speed rail lines, such as the ones connecting Guangzhou with Wuhan and Chengdu with Chongqing, are already in operation. But there are many more to come.
China is planning on having 42 high-speed rail lines totaling 10,000 miles (13,000 km) in use by 2012. One of the biggest lines to be completed in that time is the 824-mile (1,318 km) line that will link Beijing with Shanghai. The line will reduce the trip between the two cities from 10 hours to five hours
There are other even more ambitious projects underway, including a high-speed line between Shanghai and Kunming in southwestern China. The new rail link, scheduled for completion by 2015, will cut travel time from the current 37 hours to less than nine hours.
If you’re considering a WildChina journey including travel between Shanghai and Hangzhou, like our Hangzhou and Suzhou: Heaven on Earth journey, let us know if you would prefer the convenience of high-speed rail.
Speedy and scenic – and without the hassles of air travel – this is one of the coolest ways to get around China. Watch this space for new lines as they become operational.
Photo credit: Pakistan Defense