All aboard: A look at China's high-speed rail 10 years on


A high-speed train runs past the Tianshan Mountain in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 3, 2015. (Xinhua/Cai Zengle)


The first high-speed railway in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was completed Tuesday.

The 287-km-long railway passes the regional capital of Hohhot, the region's Ulanqab City, and Zhangjiakou City in neighboring Hebei Province. It is expected to start operation at the end of 2019 along with the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway.

The two lines will reduce the travel time between Beijing and Hohhot from the nine hours to three hours.

By then, all provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland will have high-speed trains, except the autonomous region of Tibet.

The length of high-speed railway lines in China increased from zero 10 years ago to 25,000 km by 2017, accounting for 66 percent of the world's total.

Over 4,000 bullet trains run in China, carrying 4 million passengers every day, according to the China Railway Corporation.

When Han Yonghui first left his home in Xiangfen, north China's Shanxi Province, to open a small restaurant in 1997, he had to walk for an hour to the nearest train station, wait in line overnight to buy a ticket, before boarding a packed slow train that took him to Tianjin in 18 sweltering hours.

All that changed in 2014 when high-speed trains reached Han's hometown, cutting his travel time to Beijing, where he runs his restaurant, to six hours.

"My high-school children are able to come to visit every summer vocation," said Han.

High-speed railway connecting Beijing and Guangzhou has shortened the traveling time across the 2,300-km distance to eight hours. The new Fuxing bullet trains travel at 350 km/h, going from Beijing to Shanghai in four hours and 18 minutes.

By 2020, China's high-speed rail length is expected to reach 30,000 km, covering 80 percent of major cities.

A network of eight east-west high-speed railway lines and eight north-south lines will be built, according to a railway development plan.

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