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High-Speed Rail (HSR) Trains in China
A China Railways CRH1 Train in Shenzhen. CRH1 is based on Bombardier's Regina.
China Railways CRH2 trains in Jinan. The CRH2 is a modified E2-1000 Series Shinkansen.
A China Railways CRH3 train in Tianjin. The CRH3 is based on Siemens' Velaro.

High Speed Rail in China (simplified Chinese: 中国高速铁路traditional Chinese: 中國高速鐵路pinyin: Zhōngguó gāosù tiělù) refers to any commercial train service in China with an average speed of 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph) or higher. By that measure, China already has the world’s longest high-speed rail (HSR) network with about 6,500km (4,000 mi.) of routes in service, including 3,676km (2,295mi.) of rail lines with top speeds of 350km/h (220mph) and 2,876km (1,795mi.) with speeds up to 250km/h (155mph).[1] Some 10,000 km of rail tracks are capable of carrying trains traveling at speeds of at least 200 km/h. These include upgraded conventional lines, high-speed passenger designated lines (PDLs), and the world’s first high-speed commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) line. With generous funding from the Chinese government’s economic stimulus program, 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) of high-speed lines are now under construction, with plans for a total network of 50,000 kilometres (31,000 mi) by 2020. China’s high speed trains use a wide range of domestic and imported technologies from Germany, Canada, France, Japan and Sweden.

Notable examples of high-speed train service include the Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, a national trunk line that travels 968 kilometres (601 mi) in 3 hours reaching top speeds of 350 kilometres per hour (220 mph) and averaging 310 kilometres per hour (190 mph); the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, an intercity express line that covers 117 kilometres (73 mi) in 30 minutes, reaching top speeds of 330 kilometres per hour (210 mph) and averaging 234 kilometres per hour (145 mph); and the Shanghai Maglev Train, an airport rail link that travels 30.5km (19mi.) in 7 minutes and 20 seconds., averaging 245.5km (152.5mph) and reaching top speed of 431km/h (268mph).



State planning for China's high speed railway began in the early 1990s. In December 1990, the Ministry of Railways (MOR) submitted a proposal to build a high speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai to the National People's Congress. At the time, the existing Beijing-Shanghai railway was already reaching capacity, and the proposal was jointly studied by the Science & Technology Commission, State Planning Commission, State Economic & Trade Commission, and the MOR. In December 1994, the State Council commissioned a feasibility study for the line. Policy planners debated the necessity and economic viability of high-speed rail service. Supporters argued that high-speed rail would boost future economic growth. Opponents noted that high-speed rail in other countries were expensive and mostly unprofitable. Overcrowding on existing rail lines, they said, could be solved by expanding capacity through higher speed and frequency of service. In 1995, Premier Li Peng announced that preparatory work on the Beijing Shanghai HSR would begin in the 9th Five Year Plan (1996-2000) but construction was not scheduled until the first decade of the 21st century.

The "Speed Up" Campaigns: Higher Speed Rail Service on Existing Lines

The China Railways DJJ1 "Blue Arrow" train can attain a maximum speed of 210km/h (131mph) and was first deployed on the upgraded Guangzhou-Shenzhen Railway in 2001.

In 1993, commercial train service in China averaged only 48.1km/h (30mph) and was steadily losing market share to airline and highway travel on the country's expanding network of expressways. The MOR focused modernization efforts on increasing the service speed and capacity on existing lines through double-tracking, electrification, improvements in grade (through tunnels and bridges) and reductions in turn curvature. Through five rounds of "speed-up" campaigns in April 1997, October 1998, October 2000, November 2001, and April 2004, passenger service on 7,700km (4,785mi.) of existing tracks were upgraded to reach sub-high speeds of 160km/h (100mph).

A notable example is the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Railway, which in December 1994 became the first line in China to offer sub-high speed service of 160km/h using domestically-produced DF-class disel locomotives. The line was electrified in 1998, and Swedish-made X 2000 trains increased service speed to 200km/h. After the completion of a third track in 2000 and a fourth track in 2007, the line became the first in China to separate high-speed passenger and freight service on designated tracks.

The completion of the sixth and final round of the "speed up" campaigns in April 2007 brought high-speed service to many existing lines: 846km (525mi.) capable of 250km/h (155mph) train service and 6,009km (3,734mi.) capable of 200km/h (124mph) service. In addition, 14,000km of tracks could accommodate trains traveling at speeds up to 160km/h (100mph).[2] In all, travel speed has been increased on 22,000 km, or 29%, of the national rail network, and the average speed of a passenger train improved to 70 km/h. The introduction of more non-stop service between large cities also helped to reduce travel time. The non-stop express train from Beijing to Fuzhou shortened travel time from 33h 29min to less than 20 hours.[3]

In addition to track and scheduling improvements, the deployment of the CRH series trains also helped to improve travel speed. During the sixth railway speedup, 280 CRH trains (CRH1, CRH2 and CRH5) were put into service. By the end of 2007, there were some 514 CRH trains in operation.[4] The new trains sliced 2 hours off of the 1,463 km trip between Beijing and Shanghai to a journey of just under 10 hours. Travel times from Shanghai to Changsha (1,199 km) fell by 90 min to 7h 30min and the trip to Nanchang was halved.

Higher-speed express train service allowed more trains to share the tracks and improved rail transport capacity. But high-speed trains often have to share tracks with heavy freight -- in some cases with as little as 5 minutes headway.[3] To attain higher speeds and transport capacity, planners began to consider passenger-dedicated HSR lines on a grand scale.

The Conventional Rail v. Maglev Debate

The Shanghai Maglev Train running on a special-maglev track, departing the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The development of HSR network in China was initially held up by a debate over the type of track technology. In June 1998, at a State Council meeting with the Chinese Academies of Sciences and Engineering, Premier Zhu Rongji asked whether the high speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai still being planned could use maglev technology. At the time, planners were divided between using high-speed trains with wheels that run on conventional standard gauge tracks or magnetic levitation trains that run on special maglev tracks for a new national high-speed rail network.

Maglev received a big boost in 2000 when the Shanghai Municipal Government agreed to purchase a turnkey TransRapid train system from Germany for the 30.5km (19.0mi.) rail link connecting Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the city. In 2004, the Shanghai Maglev Train became the world's first commercially-operated high-speed maglev. It remains the fastest train in China with peak speeds of 431 km/h (267mph) and makes the 30.5km (19.0mi.) in less than 7.5 minutes.

Despite unmatched advantage in speed, the maglev has not gained widespread use in China's high-speed rail network due to high cost, German refusal to share technology and concerns about safety. The price tag of the Shanghai Maglev was believed be $1.3 billion and was partially financed by the German government. The refusal of the Transrapid Consortium to share technology and source production in China made large scale-maglev production much more costly than high-speed train technology for conventional lines. Finally, residents living along the proposed maglev route have raised health concerns about electromagnetic radiation emitted by the trains. These concerns have prevented construction to begin on the proposed extension of the maglev to Hangzhou. Even the more modest plan to extend the maglev to Shanghai's other airport, Hongqiao, appears to be stalled. Instead, a conventional subway line is being built to connect the two aiports.

In 2002, the China Star (DJJ2) high-speed train set speed record of 292.8km/h (185mph) on the Qinshen Passenger Railway.

While maglev-boosters focused on Shanghai, supporters of conventional high-speed rail tested their technology on the newly-completed Qinhuangdao-Shenyang (Qinshen) Passenger Railway. This 405km (251mi.) standard gauge, dual-track, electrified line was built between 1999 and 2003 and served as a test-track for conventional high speed technology. In June 2002, a domestically-made DJF2 train set a record of 292.8km/h (185mph) on the track. The China Star (DJJ2) train followed the same September with a new record of 321km/h (200mph). The line supports commercial train service at speeds of 200-250km/h, and now serves as an important segment of the rail corridor between Beijing and the Northeast China. The Qinshen Line demonstrated greater compatibility of conventional rail technology with the rest of China's standard gauge rail network.

In 2006, the State Council in its Mid-to-Long Term Railway Development Plan, adopted conventional high-speed rail technology. This decision ended the debate and gave the greenlight to rapid construction of standard-gauge passenger dedicated high speed rail lines in China.

Current HSR expansion

China's high speed rail expansion is entirely managed, planned and financed by the government. After committing to conventional-track high speed rail in 2006, the state has embarked on an ambitious campaign to build passenger-dedicated high-speed rail lines, which accounts for a large part of the government's growing budget for rail construction. Total investment in new rail lines grew from $14 billion in 2004 to $22.7 and $26.2 billion in 2006 and 2007.[5] The onset of the global economic recession prompted the Chinese government to accelerate the pace of HSR expansion. Total investments in new rail lines including HSR reached $49.4 billion in 2008 and $88 billion in 2009.[5] In all, the state plans to spend $300 billion to build a 25,000km (16,000 mi.) HSR network by 2020.[6][1]

Critics both in China and abroad have questioned the necessity of having an expensive high-speed rail system in a largely developing country, where most workers cannot afford to pay a premium for faster travel.[6][1] The government has justified the expensive undertaking as promoting a number of policy objectives. High speed rail provides fast and reliable means of moving large volumes of people in a densely populated country over long distances, and helps to boost the economy's productivity and competitiveness.[6][7] HSR promotes the growth of urban centers and can alleviate highway congestion and sprawl. It complements another government campaign to build subways in over 20 cities. Electric locomotives can draw power from more diverse sources of energy including renewables than automobile and aircraft, which are more reliant on imported petroleum. The building of the HSR network also creates jobs and stimulates the country's construction, steel and cement industries during the economic downturn. Work on the Beijing-Shanghai PDL mobilized 110,000 workers.[7][5][8] The expansion into HSR is also developing China into a leading source of high-speed rail building technology.[5] Foreign train-makers have been compelled to form joint-ventures in China. Chinese companies have begun to build high speed railways in Turkey and Venezuela and are planning to bid on HSR projects in the United States and other countries.[1]

The Fastest Trains in China

The Transrapid Shanghai Maglev train can reach top speeds of 431km/h (268mph), and is the fastest train in China. Despite its unmatched speed, the maglev train has remained confined to the original 30km (18.6 mi) track. State planners have opted for high-speed trains that run on conventional railway for the national HSR network.

The "fastest" train commercial service can be defined alternatively by a train's top speed or average trip speed.

  • The fastest train service measured by peak operational speed is the Shanghai Maglev Train which can reach 431 km/h (267.8 mph). Due to the short distance of the Shanghai Maglev tracks (30 km)(18.6 mi), the average operational speed for the maglev train is 245.5 km/h (152.5 mph). The Shanghai Maglev also holds the record for the top speed in tests of 501 km/h (311.3 mph).
  • The fastest train service measured by average trip speed is on the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, where the CRH3/CRH2 coupled-train sets average 312.5 km/h (194.2 mph) on the 922km (572.9 mi) route from Wuhan to Guangzhou North. It is the fastest commercial train service in the world.
  • The top speed attained by a non-maglev train in China is 394 km/h (244.8 mph) by a CRH3 train on the Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Rail during a testing run in June 2008.

Conventional High Speed Rail Network

China's high-speed rail system project is ambitious[9] and when the major rail lines are completed by 2020, it will become the largest, fastest, and most technologically advanced high-speed railway system in the world.[8] China's Ministry of Railways plans to build 25,000 km (16,000 miles) of high-speed railways with trains reaching speeds of 350 km/h.[8][10] China will invest $50 billion on its high-speed rail system in 2009 and the total construction cost of the high-speed rail system is $300 billion.[8] The main operator of regular high-speed train services in the People's Republic of China is China Railway High-Speed (CRH).

A map showing the current high-speed rail network in mainland China and Taiwan.     MaglevConventional High-speed railways:     300-350 km/h      200–250 km/h (New lines)      200–250 km/h (Upgraded lines)      Other non-highspeed railways

China's conventional high-speed railway network is made up of four components: (1) upgraded pre-existing rail lines that can accommodate high-speed trains, (2) a national grid of mostly passenger dedicated HSR lines (PDLs), (3) certain regional "intercity" HSR lines, and (4) newly-built conventional rail lines, mostly in western China, that can also carry high-speed passenger and freight trains. Most of the rail lines in the latter three categories are now under construction. [11]

Upgraded conventional railways

4th line of Guangshen Railway in construction (February, 2007)

Following the "sixth national speed-up campaign" in April 18, 2007, some 6003 km of track could carry trains at speeds of up to 200 km/h. Of these, some 848 km could reach 250 km/h. Passenger train service on the Jiaoji Railway and sections of the Hukun Railway (sections between Hangzhou and Zhuzhou), Guangshen railway, Jinghu railway, Jingha railway, Jingguang railway, Longhai railway (from Zhengzhou to Xuzhou) can reach 200km/h. Trains on sections of the Jinghu, Jingha, Jingguang, and Jiaoji lines can reach 250km/h. Upgrade work continues on a number of other lines including the Handan railway, Xianggui railway, and Ningqi railway

National High-Speed Rail Grid (4+4)

The centerpiece of the Ministry of Railway (MOR)'s expansion into high-speed rail is a new national high-speed rail grid that is overlaid onto the existing railroad network. According to the MOR's "Mid-to-Long Term Railway Network Plan" (revised in 2008), this grid is composed of 8 high-speed rail corridors, 4 running north-south and 4 traversing east-west, and has a total of 12,000 km. Most of the new lines follow the routes of existing trunk lines and are designated for passenger travel only. They are known as passenger-designated lines (PDL). Several sections of the national grid, especially along the southeast coastal corridor, were built to link cities which had no previous rail connections. Those sections will carry a mix of passenger and freight, but are sometimes mislabeled as PDLs. High-speed trains on PDLs can generally reach 300-350km/h. On mixed-use HSR lines, passenger train service can attain peak speeds of 200-250km/h. This ambitious national grid project was planned to be built by 2020, but the government's stimulus has expedited time-tables considerably for many of the lines.

In addition, Jinqin Passenger Railway (Tianjin-Qinhuangdao) and Qinshen Passenger Railway (Qinhuangdao-Shenyang) are not the component parts of 8 main lines, but these two lines are still included in the PDL network because they are important in linking Beijing-Harbin Line and Beijing-Shanghai Line.

Passenger dedicated line network in China

North-South Lines in the 4+4 National HSR Grid Operational lines are marked with green background.

Line Description Designed


Start Date
Open Date
Avg. top
trip speed
Beijing-Harbin PDL
(Jingha Passenger Designated Line)
main HSR corridor of Northeast China, consisting of two segments, Beijing-Shenyang & Harbin-Dalian PDLs and Panjin-Yinkou spur. 350 1700 2007-08-23 2014 -
Beijing-Shenyang PDL
(Jingshen Passenger Designated Line)
Beijing-Shenyang segment of Jingha PDL, via Chengde, Fuxin and Chaoyang 350 684 2010 2014 -
Harbin-Dalian PDL
(Hada Passenger Designated Line)
PDL from Harbin to Dalian via Shenyang & Changchun 350 904 2007-08-23 2011 -
Panjin-Yingkou PDL
(Panying Passenger Designated Line)
Connects Yingkou to Qinhuangdao-Shenyang HSR at Panjin 350 89 2009-05-31 2012 -
Beijing-Shanghai PDL
(Jinghu Passenger Designated Line)
Main north-south high speed railway of eastern China, connecting Beijing, Jinan, Tai'an, Xuzhou, Bengbu, Nanjing & Shanghai 350 1302 2008-04-18 2012 -
Hefei-Bengbu PDL
(Hebeng Passenger Designated Line)
Extends Jinghu PDL from Bengbu to Hefei 300 131 2008-01-08 2012 -
Beijing-Hong Kong PDL
(Jinggang Passenger Designated Line)
Main north-south high speed rail corridor through central China, consisting of four segments between Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. 200-
2229 2005-09-01 2012 -
Beijing-Shijiazhuang PDL
(Jingshi Passenger Designated Line)
HSR from Beijing to Shijiazhuang 350 281 2008-10-08 2012-10-01 -
Shijiazhuang-Wuhan PDL
(Shiwu Passenger Designated Line)
HSR from Shijiazhuang to Wuhan via Zhengzhou 350 838 2008-10-15 2012-10-01 -
Wuhan-Guangzhou PDL
(Wuguang Passenger Designated Line)
HSR from Wuhan to Guangzhou via Changsha 350 968 2005-09-01 2009-12-26 313[12]
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link HSR from Guangzhou to Hong Kong via Shenzhen 200-
142 2008-08-20 2014 -
Southeast Coastal HSR Corridor
High-speed railway linking coastal cities from Hangzhou to Shenzhen, built in five segments. 200-
1450 2005-08-01 2011-01-01 -
Hangzhou Ningbo PDL
(Hangyong Passenger Designated Line)
High-speed PDL from Hangzhou to Ningbo 350 152 2009-04 2011-12 -
Ningbo-Taizhou-Wenzhou Railway
(Yongtaiwen Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR line along the coast of Zhejiang Province. 250 268 2005-10-27 2009-09-28 224[13]
Wenzhou-Fuzhou Railway
(Wenfu Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR line from Wenzhou to Fuzhou. 250 298 2005-01-08 2009-07-01 238[14]
Fuzhou-Xiamen Railway
(Fuxia Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR line along the coast of Fujian Province from Fuzhou to Xiamen via Putian & Quanzhou. 200 275 2005-10-01 2010-03-26 -
Xiamen-Shenzhen Railway
(Xiashen Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR line along the coast of Fujian Province. 200 502 2007-11-23 2011-01-01 -

East-West Lines in the 4+4 National HSR Grid Operational lines are marked with green background.

Line Description Designed

Start Date
Open Date Avg. top
trip speed
Qingdao-Taiyuan PDL
(Qingtai Passenger Designated Line)
HSR across north China consisting of three segments connecting Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Jinan and Qingdao. 250 873 2005-06-01 2012 -
Qingdao-Jinan PDL
(Jiaoji Line)
PDL connecting Qingdao and Jinan 250 364 2007-01-28 2008-12-20 162[15]
Shijiazhuang-Jinan PDL
(Shiji Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Shijiazhuang & Jinan via Dezhou 250 319 2009 2012 -
Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan PDL
(Shitai Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Shijiazhuang & Taiyuan. 250 190 2005-06-11 2009-04-01 173[16]
Xuzhou-Lanzhou PDL
(Xulan Passenger Designated Line)
HSR across the Yellow River valley of central China, consisting of four segments connecting Xuzhou, Zhengzhou, Xian, Baoji and Lanzhou. 350 1363 2005-06-01 - -
Zhengzhou-Xuzhou PDL
(Zhengxu Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Xuzhou & Zhengzhou 350 357 2010 2013 -
Zhengzhou-Xian PDL
(Zhengxi Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Zhengzhou & Xian 350 455 2005-09-01 2010-02-06 252[17]
Xian-Baoji PDL
(Xibao Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Xian & Baoji 350 148 2009-11-22 2012 -
Baoji-Lanzhou PDL
(Baolan Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Baoji & Lanzhou 350 403 planning planning -
Shanghai-Wuhan-Chengdu HSR Corridor
(Huhanrong High-Speed Rail Corridor)
HSR corridor through the Yangtze River valley of central China, consisting of the passenger-only Shanghai-Nanjing section of the Beijing-Shanghai PDL, and seven mixed-use HSR segments connecting Nanjing, Hefei, Wuhan, Yichang, Lichuan, Chongqing, Suining & Chengdu. 200-
2078 2003-12-01 2012 -
Hefei-Nanjing HSR
(Hening HSR)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Nanjing & Hefei 250 166 2005-06-11 2008-04-19 185[18]
Hefei-Wuhan Railway
(Hewu Passenger Designated Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Hefei & Wuhan 250 351 2005-08-01 2009-04-01 165[19]
Hankou-Yichang Railway
(Hanyi Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Wuhan & Yichang 200 293 2008-09-17 2012-01-01 -
Yichang-Wanzhou Railway
(Yiwan Railway, Yichang-Lichuan section)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Yichang & Lichuan 200 377 2003-12-01 2010-04-30 -
Chongqing-Lichuan Railway
(Yuli Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Lichuan & Chongqing 200 264 2008-12-29 2012 -
Suining-Chongqing Railway*
(Suiyu Line)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Chongqing & Suining 200 132 2009-01-18 2012-01 -
Dazhou-Chengdu Railway*
(Dacheng Railway, Suining-Chengdu section)
Mixed passenger & freight HSR connecting Suining & Chengdu. 200 148 2005-05 2009-06-30 156[20]
Shanghai-Kunming PDL
(Shanghai-Kunming Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting eastern, central and southwestern China. It consists of three sections connecting Shanghai, Hangzhou, Changsha and Kunming. 350 2066 2008-12-28 2014
Shanghai-Hangzhou PDL
(Huhang Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Shanghai & Hangzhou. 350 150 2008-12-28 2010-04-10 -
Hangzhou-Changsha PDL
(Hangchang Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Hangzhou & Changsha. 350 926 2009-12-22 2012 -
Changsha-Kunming PDL
(Changkun Passenger Designated Line)
PDL connecting Changsha & Kunming 350 1175 2010 2014 -

*A separate passenger designated line connecting Chongqing and Chengdu is being planned Once tracks and lines are ready, testing phase begins, and need to be completed before commercial operation at which maximum operating speeds will be limited by the combination of national law, EMU design, and track design.

Intercity High-Speed Rail

Intercity railways are planned to provide regional high-speed rail service, generally between nearby metropolitan areas of the same province. Intercity HSR service speeds range from 200-350km/h.

Intercity Transport System in Greater China.

Construction Schedule Operational lines are marked with green background.

Lines Length (km) Design Speed (km/h) Construction Start Date Open Date
Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Rail 115 350 4/7/2005 1/8/2008
Chengdu-Dujiangyan Intercity Rail 57 200 4/11/2008 5/2010
Nanchang-Jiujiang Intercity Rail 131 200 28/6/2007 1/6/2010
Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity Rail 296 300 7/1/2008 7/1/2010
Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Mass Rapid Transit 117 200 18/12/2005 2010
Hainan East Ring Intercity Rail 308 200 29/9/2007 2010
Changchun-Jilin Intercity Rail 109 250 13/5/2007 2010
Nanjing-Anqing Intercity Rail 257 200 28/12/2008 6/2012
Nanjing-Hangzhou Intercity Rail 251 350 28/12/2008 28/12/2012
Jiangyou-Mianyang-Chengdu-Leshan Intercity Rail 319 200 30/12/2008 30/12/2012
Wuhan Megalopolis Intercity Rail
Wuhan-Xiaogan, Huangshi, Xianning and Huanggang
160 350 22/3/2009 2011~2013
Beijing-Tangshan Intercity Rail 160 350 2009 2012
Tianjin-Baoding Intercity Rail 145 250 2009 2012
Qingdao-Yantai-Weihai-Rongcheng Intercity Rail 299 250 2009 12/2012
Harbin-Qiqihar Intercity Rail 286 250 5/7/2009 2013
Beijing-Zhangjiakou Intercity Rail 174 200 2009 2013
Chongqing-Wanzhou Intercity Rail 250 350 2009 2013
Shenyang-Dandong Intercity Rail 208 350 2009 9/2013
Chengdu-Chongqing Intercity Rail 305 300 2009 ?

New lines for improving railway network and western development

According to the "Mid-to-Long Term Railway Network Plan" (revised in 2008), the MOR plans to build over 40,000 km of railway in order to expand the railway network in the western part of China, and fill voids in eastern and central China. Some of these new railways are being built to accommodate speeds of 200~250 km/h for both passengers and freight. These are also considered high-speed rail though they are not part of the national PDL grid or Intercity High Speed Rail.

Construction Schedule
Lines Length (km) Design Speed (km/h) Construction Standard Construction Start Date Open Date
Longyan-Xiamen 171 200 Class I 25/12/2006 2009
Nanchang-Putian (-Fuzhou) 604 200 Class I 23/11/2007 2011
Guangzhou-Nanning 577 200 Class I 9/11/2008 2013
Guangzhou-Guiyang 858 300 PDL 13/10/2008 2014
Guiyang-Chengdu 486 350 PDL 2009 2014

PDL standard line

Lines Info Map
Guangzhou-Chengdu Line via Guiyang, Guilin. It is composed of 2 parts: Chenggui Passenger Railway (Chengdu-Guiyang) and Guiguang Passenger Railway (Guiyang-Guangzhou). The line is designed for MOR of 350 km/h. Chengdu-Guangzhou Line.png

CRH service

China Railway High-speed (CRH) (中国铁路高速) is a term used to denote the high speed portions of railways and the trains run on them by China Railways. Any high-speed railway in China whether or not run by China Railways is referred to by the term (中国高速铁路), which means Chinese high-speed rail. In 2007, CRH's service covers the main cities in the east on the upgraded conventional tracks. This by no means implies maximum speed usage throughout the network. However, trains on some lines, such as Guangzhou-Shenzhen Line, are operated at the top speed.

A. Intercity services (typically, listed in schedules as C-series or D-series trains):

B. Long-haul services (typically, listed in schedules as G-series or D-series trains):

Rolling Stock


China Railway High-speed run different electric multiple unit (trainsets), the designs of which all are imported from other nations, CRH-1 through CRH-5. CRH trainsets are intended to provide fast and convenient travel between cities. Some of the trainsets are manufactured locally through technology transfer, a key requirement for China. The signalling, track and support structures, control software and station design seem to be developed domestically with foreign elements as well, so the system as a whole could be called Chinese.

  • CRH1 derived from Bombardier Regina
  • CRH2 derived from E2 Series 1000 Shinkansen. In 2006, China has unveiled (CRH2), a modified version of the Japanese Shinkansen E2-1000 series. An order for 60 8-car sets had been placed in 2004, with the first few built in Japan, the rest in China.[21]
    • CRH2B, a modified 16-cars version of CRH2.
    • CRH2C, a modified version of CRH2 has maximum operating speed up to 300 km/h by replacing two intermediate trailer cars with motored cars.
    • CRH2E, a modified 16-cars version of CRH2 with sleeping cars.
  • CRH3 derived from Siemens Velaro
  • CRH5 derived from Alstom Pendolino ETR600[22]

CRH1, CRH2, and CRH5 are designed for a maximum operating speed (MOR) of 200 km/h and can reach up to 250 km/h. CRH3 and CRH2C designs have an MOR of 300 km/h, and can reach up to 350 km/h, with a top testing speed more than 380 km/h. However, in practical terms, issues such as cost of maintenance, comfort, cost and safety make the maximum design speed impractical and remain limiting factors.

Maglev High Speed Rail

China has only one maglev high-speed train line in operation: The Shanghai Maglev Train, a turnkey Transrapid maglev demonstration line that can reach a top operational speed of 430 km/h and of a top non-commercial speed of 501 km/h. It has shuttled passengers between Shanghai's Longyang Road Metro Station and Shanghai Pudong International Airport since March, 2004. Service was briefly interrupted by an electrical fire in 2006. Shanghai authorities have been trying without success to extend the 30.5km maglev line. An intercity link with Hangzhou was approved by the central government in 2006, but construction has been postponed. Work on a shorter extension to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is also stalled.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "China to Bid on US High-Speed Rail Projects" A.P. Mar. 13, 2010
  2. ^ (Chinese) [1]
  3. ^ a b International Railway Journal - Rail And Rapid Transit Industry News Worldwide
  4. ^ CCTV International
  5. ^ a b c d Keith Bradsher, "China Sees Growth Engine in a Web of Fast Trains" N.Y. Times Feb. 12, 2010
  6. ^ a b c Michael Forsythe "Letter from China: Is China's Economy Speeding Off the Rails?" N.Y. Times Dec. 22, 2009
  7. ^ a b Keith Bradsher, "China's Route Forward" N.Y. Times Jan. 22, 2009
  8. ^ a b c d China's amazing new bullet train CNN Money 2009-08-06
  9. ^ China ready to roll out 35 high-speed rail lines by 2012
  10. ^ China starts work on Beijing-Shanghai express railway Xinhua 2008-04-18
  11. ^ "Passenger Dedicated Lines will spearhead CR's inter-city speed-up". Railway Gazette International. 2007-08-22. 
  12. ^ (Achieved by G1001,G1003) G1003列车时刻表 (Chinese) Wuhan-Guangzhou North/2hr57min)
  13. ^ Travel time of D3107 Train from Ningbo to Wenzhou is 1h12m.
  14. ^ Travel time of D3108 Train from Wenzhou to Fuzhou is 1.25h
  15. ^ Train D6001 travels the Jinan-Qingdao route in 2hr.15min.
  16. ^ Train D2015 travels from Shijiazhuang to Taiyuan in 1hr.6min.
  17. ^ Xian-Zhengzhou train travel time is 1hr.48min.
  18. ^ D3054/3051 Trains travel the Hefei-Nanjing route in 54min.
  19. ^ D3084 Train travels the Hankou-Hefei route in 2hr.10min.
  20. ^ D5102 Train travels the Chengdu-Suining route in 57 min.
  21. ^ "High speed trainsets take shape". Railway Gazette International. 2005-08-01. 
  22. ^ "China's high speed fleet expands steadily". Railway Gazette International. 2007-08-01. 

Zhengzhou-Xian railway PDL: It’s reported that this line is constructed by using “Zueblin Ballastless Track System” from Germany, which is the most economic and reliable system in the world. The highest speed of 394.2 km/h was achieved on Dec.11, 2009 from Xian to Zhengzhou. It’s comment that billions of dollars would be saved if this system were also used on the other new railway lines in China.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

This article is a travel topic.

China is building a high-speed passenger rail network, similar to French TGV or Japanese "bullet trains", but far larger. Many lines are already in service. These are easily the best way of getting around China where available.

The trains are clean, comfortable and modern. Seating is comparable to that in an airplane. Unlike regular Chinese trains, all tickets are for assigned seats; there is no-one sitting in the aisles. Also unlike other trains, no smoking is allowed, including toilet and between carriages. Prices are reasonable and, on most routes, departures are frequent.

The fast trains are called CRH, China Railway High-speed. At some train stations there is a separate CRH ticket office or even vending machines; at others, CRH tickets are sold at separate counters in the main ticket office. In either case, just look for the "CRH" signs or logo. There are just two classes of tickets, first class and second class. Prices are not all that different, for example ¥69 vs ¥88 for Nanjing-Suzhou. Both classes are comfortable, though first has noticeably wider seats.

Train numbers for these trains all start with "C" or "D". Intermediate-speed trains have a "Z" or "T" prefix, the slower and more crowded ones generally have "K" or no letter. Shorter routes have 4 digits and longer routes have 1 to 3 digits.

The speeds attained vary considerably from line to line. Some routes, such as the current (late 2009) Nanjing-Shanghai-Hangzhou link, run on ordinary-looking rail lines with a top speed around 250 km/hr. Newer lines on purpose-built elevated tracks are faster; the Beijing-Tianjin line (opened in 2008, just before the Olympics) covers 115 km in 35 minutes with a top speed of 350 km/h (nearly 220 mph). The Guangzhou-Wuhan line (opened December 2009) is even faster, averaging about 350 km/h. The technology used also varies. Nearly all the rolling stock is now manufactured in China, but much of the technology comes from abroad. Canadian, Japanese and European firms have all been involved.

The overall plan calls for over 12,000 km of lines in a national high-speed passenger network by 2012, plus intercity lines like Beijing-Tianjin and Guangzhou-Zhuhai that are administered separately. As that network comes online, many existing lines will become freight-only lines so overall freight capacity will be improved as well.

See China#Get_around for more general information on rail travel in China.

Lines in service

As of late 2009, the following lines are in service:

Several of those lines are being upgraded and new lines are under construction:

  • A line South from Fuzhou to Putian, Quanzhou and Xiamen, early 2010
  • A Xi'an-Zhengzhou line, due in 2010
  • A line going inland from Putian to Changsha.
  • Guangzhou - Zhuhai, at the border with Macau

When all is complete, Beijing - Shanghai travel time will be cut to five hours and Guangzhou-Beijing to twelve.

There will also be a line running North-South along the coast, Shenzhen - Shantou - Xiamen - Fuzhou - Hangzhou - Shanghai, of which the section from Fuzhou to Shanghai is already open.

Maglev train in Shanghai
Maglev train in Shanghai

Shanghai has a magnetic levitation train out to Pudong airport. Top speed is around 431 km/h (268 mph) during daytime and 300 km/h (186 mph) in early morning or after 5pm.

A maglev line between Shanghai and Hangzhou has been planned, but put on hold.

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