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A new high-speed rail line between Shanghai and Beijing began testing on Wednesday. The new service will make the trip between the two cities in just five hours. The current high speed train makes the trip in about 10 hours. The project started three years ago but has been plagued by corruption scandals in China's Railway Ministry.
A high speed rail service will cut journey times between Shanghai and Beijing to just five hours. It started a month of test operations, according to Chinese-state media.
At 10 am Wednesday morning, the train left Shanghai's Hongqiao station for the test run. So far, no information has been released about the progress of the test.
The trains were originally supposed to run at 218 miles an hour, but railway authorities have now reduced it to 186 because of safety concerns.
Some passengers at the Shanghai station say they will consider the train over air travel when the service launches in late June.
[Zeng Haisong, Shanghai Resident]:
"It all depends on my schedule. If the plane fits my schedule better I'll take the plane. But if I'm not rushing for something I'll take the high speed train for sure. I feel more at ease taking the train. Planes fly so high that I feel scared."
Ticket prices have yet to be announced, but some fear they will be too high.
[Duan Libin, Shanghai Resident]:
"But another thing is that the train tickets are a bit expensive for ordinary peoples' salaries."
Construction on the 33-billion U.S. dollar rail link started three years ago. Yet the project has been delayed by scandals. Railway minister Liu Zhijun came under investigation in February and was stripped of his position.
According to an official report released in March, over 30-million U.S. dollars that had been assigned for high-speed rail development had been embezzled.