BEIJING – High-speed trains linking Beijing and Shanghai made their passenger debut on Thursday, extending China’s high-speed rail network to nearly 10,000 km.
Premier Wen Jiabao attended the railway’s opening ceremony at Beijing South Railway Station and boarded the first train to Shanghai.
The high-speed line, built in only 38 months and open to traffic one year ahead of schedule, marked a new chapter in China’s railway history, he said.
But railway operators must prioritize safety and improve management, as the line’s “safe, scientific, orderly and efficient operation is a challenging task”, he said.
Launched on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, the railway started operations with a sleek-nosed white train leaving promptly at 3 pm from the station’s No 1 platform for Shanghai. Passengers checked in at the station’s No 1 check post before boarding.
The line, designed for speeds of 350 km/h but running initially at 300 km/h, halves the travel time between the country’s two main cities to just four hours and 48 minutes.