China has officially opened the world’s longest high-speed train route. The line links the capital, Beijing, with the southern commercial hub of Guangzhou. The first train left on Wednesday morning. They will travel at 300 kilometres an hour, cutting the journey time by half.
That means the train could take the strain from the plane. “I will definitely be using the train,” said one journalist on the maiden voyage, “getting to the station in Beijing is easy, you just get the subway. If you go by plane, you have to check in your baggage and go through all that.”
There will be 35 stops on the 2, 300 kilometre route. The journey previously took 22 hours but will now take less than ten.
The Beijing-Guangzhou line forms a key part of China’s plan to expand and modernise its railway network. But the initiative has been dogged by serious corruption and fatal accidents. 40 people were killed in the worst accident so far in July last year.