'Great Train of China' runs 1,400 miles at a super-swift 186 miles per hour
Train connects Beijing to southern economic hub
The world's longest high-speed rail line which stretches a staggering 1,400 miles across China has taken its maiden voyage. Running approximately the distance between London and Gibraltar, the route will halve the traveling time from the country's capital Beijing to Guangzhou, which is an economic hub in the south.
Trains on the line will travel as fast at 186 miles per hour. The journey will last about eight hours. While this seems like an arduous journey, this is a vast improvement as the previous fastest journey time between the two cities had been more than 20 hours.
There are stops in other major cities including provincial capitals Shijiazhuang, Wuhan and Changsha, along the train's expansive route. It's just the latest development in China's expensive high speed railways program.
The project has been met with adversity. A part of the line collapsed following heavy rains last March. There is also the theoretical human cost if the train malfunctions; another bullet train crashed in the summer of 2011, killing 40 people.
That situation enveloped the former railway minister, who spearheaded the bullet train's construction, and the ministry's chief engineer in a scandalous cloud. Both were already under scrutiny for an unrelated corruption investigation months before the crash.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, which cites the Ministry of Railways, the trail line will eventually have more than 150 trains running daily.
Railway is an essential part of China's transportation system, and the government plans to build a grid of high-speed railways with four east-west lines and four north-south lines by 2020.
The opening of the new line brings the total distance covered by China's high-speed railway system to more than 5,800 miles, which is about half its 2015 target of 18,000 kilometers.
The longest line had previously been the Beijing to Shanghai route which is 819 miles in length.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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