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Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 21:10

Two bullet train lines now connect southwest to coast

By Luo Wangshu in Kunming

Two bullet train lines now connect southwest to coast
China put into operation one of the world's longest high-speed railways, linking the country's prosperous eastern coast to the less-developed southwest, on Dec 28, 2016 . (Xi nhua / Ou Dongqu)

China opened two major high-speed rail lines on Wednesday, linking the country's less developed southwest with built-up coastal areas.

It's the nation's longest east-west high-speed railway

It also marks Yunnan province's entry into the nation's high-speed railway network. The new lines link its capital, Kunming, with Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Twenty-nine of 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland are now served by high-speed railways, excluding only the Tibet and Ningxia autonomous regions.

The 2,252-kilometer Shanghai-Kunming rail line traverses five provinces - Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan - and cuts rail travel time between the two cities from 34 to 11 hours, according to China Railway Corp, the nation's rail service provider.

It's the nation's longest east-west high-speed railway. Trains run from 300 to 350 kilometers per hour, depending on topography.

The new Kunming-Guangzhou line cuts travel time from 16 1/2 hours to 8 hours and 52 minutes, running at 200 to 250 km/h.

A high-speed grid of four north-south lines and four east-west lines is taking shape. In 2008, China set a target to build the grid by 2020. Only two sections have not opened yet, the Jinan-Shijiazhuang and Baoji-Lanzhou lines.

Two bullet train lines now connect southwest to coast
This Dec 27, 2016, photo shows a bullet train at the Kunmingnan Railway Station in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. The Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway was put into operation on Dec 28, 2016. (Xinhua / Lin Yiguang)

"The two new high-speed lines and the newly opened transportation hub at Kunming South Railway Station are important basic infrastructure to link with neighboring countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia," China Railway Corp said in a statement.

The system also aims to help eradicate poverty by transforming the high-speed rail industry into an economic driving force.

Two bullet train lines now connect southwest to coast
Passengers sit on a CRH (China Railway High-Speed) train traveling between Shanghai and Kunming line. The maximum speed of the line  -- 2,252 km in length --  is 330 km per hour. (Xi nhua / Ou Dongqu)

Peng Wan, a 28-year-old train fan from Kunming, took a day off work on Wednesday to catch the first bullet train departure from his hometown.

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