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Self-developed World's Fastest Railway Sparkles in 1st Month

The self-developed Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, the world's fastest, has been running soundly and efficiently since its August 1 debut, setting a model for the high-speed railway industry, the Ministry of Railways (MOR) said on Tuesday.

Through August, passengers on the service surged 128.4 percent to 1.83 million. The on-time performance rate achieved was 98 percent.

Rail officials attributed the surge to the Olympics hosted in both Beijing and its neighboring coastal city Tianjin. The line turned out to be the first choice for spectators traveling between the two cities.

MOR deputy chief engineer Zhang Shuguang said with the operation of the Beijing-Tianjin line, the country's high-speed railways were among the best in the world.

MOR chief engineer He Huawu said the line had adopted a ballastless track, which was more stable in structure and more durable. The design, manufacturing and assembly required high accuracy of up to one mm or even 0.1 mm.

The self-developed China Railway High-speed (CRH3) has been running at a speed of 350 km per hour, with the maximum momentum of 8,800 kwh.

Zhang said it was also emission-free and energy efficient.

According to another deputy chief engineer Zheng Jian, the ministry is discussing with the Tianjin government about a 39 km extension line from Tianjin Railway Station to Tanggu Railway Station in Tianjin Binhai New Area.

He added the new line would be constructed in accordance with the high-speed railway standard, and much faster than the current Beijing-Shanghaiguan line. A trip on the line would take about 40 minutes.

He Huawu said the operation of the Beijing-Tianjin line was only the beginning of the country's high-speed rail industry.

He said three lines totaling 1,900 km were expected to be finished in three years and about another 13 lines of 9,400 km would be constructed by 2020.

Zhang added it would take four hours to travel from Beijing to the business hub Shanghai, and less than nine hours to Guangzhou in the south Guangdong Province. It now takes more than 12 hours and almost a day, respectively, to reach the two cities.

The high-speed railway network would stretch more than 50,000 km and connect all provincial capitals and major cities.

(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2008)

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