China to open world's fastest rail line ahead of Olympics

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 31, 2008 19:07 hrs

Beijing: China to open the world's fastest intercity rail line linking Beijing with Olympic co-host Tianjin from August 1, one week before the Olympics, the Ministry of Railways announced on Wednesday.

"The Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway will be the world's only rail line on which passenger trains could run at 350 km per hour," Deputy Railway Minister Wang Zhiguo told a press conference.

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The new service would cut the 120-km journey from the 70 minutes now to about 30 minutes, Wang said, adding that there were five stations along the line: the cavernous new Beijing South Railway Station, Yizhuang, Yongle, Wuqing and Tianjin.

The intercity rail line will shuttle spectators, athletes, media people and other passengers between Beijing and Tianjin, which is to host 12 football matches from August 6-15.

"The opening of the Beijing-Tianjin railway ahead of the Beijing Games is undoubtedly good news for athletes and other passengers," Wang said.

The railway, on which construction started in July 2005, was built at a total cost of 21.5 billion Yuan ($3.1 billion), said Wang.

Initially, six trains will be operated on the line.

These sleek trains with aircraft-like cabins, swivel seats, spacious interiors and rooftop solar panels were built by the Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company.

Called the CRH-3 (China Railway High-speed), these trains are China's first self-designed and self-manufactured passengers trains.

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