China opens super fast rail line

ITN News

by ITN News

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With two trains gliding silently out of a glossy new station, China's latest high-speed rail line has been opened.

Many, but not all, of the trains plying the new railway between Shanghai's western suburb of Hongqiao and Hangzhou will travel the 126 miles in 45 minutes, about half the time trains usually take to make the trip at their fastest speeds.

The China-made CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 262 miles per hour, a world speed record, though it will usually operate at a maximum speed of 220 mph.

China aims to have 10,000 miles of high speed rail in operation by 2012.

The efforts to develop China's own ultra high-speed rail technology is a showcase project seemingly nearly on a par with the country's space programme in terms of national pride and importance.

Railway officials recently announced they were working on technology to boost speeds to over 312 mph.