China opens the world's longest high-speed rail line

China opens the world's longest high-speed rail line

China opens the world's longest high-speed rail line

Updated 27 December 2012, 2:11 AEST

China has launched the world's longest high speed rail line in time for the Lunar New Year peak travel season. The 2,300 km line is expected to slash the time it takes to get from Beijing to Guangzhou.

China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line.

The two thousand three hundred kilometre rail line will slash by more than half the journey time from the capital Beijing in the north to the economic hub of Guangzhou in the south.

China's high-speed rail network is booming.

Only established in 2007, it has quickly become the largest in the world, with 8,358 kilometres of track at the end of 2010 and expected to almost double to 16,000 kilometres by 2020.

However, the country's high speed rail system has had some problems with part of a line collapsing in central China after heavy rains in March.

A bullet train crash in 2011 killed forty people, and the former railway minister and the railway ministry's chief engineer have been caught up in an unrelated corruption investigation.

Trains on the latest high-speed line will initially run at 300 kilometres an hour with a total travel time of around eight hours.

Before, the fastest time between Beijing and Guangzhou by train was more than 20 hours.

State media reported that the specific date of 26 December for the opening of the line was chosen to commemorate the birth of Chinese leader Mao Zedong.