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China showcased the latest addition to its high-speed rail network on Monday - the new Beijing to Shanghai express. A group of foreign journalists were invited to experience the test run, as authorities shrugged off controversy over financing and high debt levels shadowing its fast-growing railway industry.
With its fully reclining airline-style business class seats, China showcased the latest addition to its high-speed rail network, the landmark Beijing-Shanghai express, on Monday, dismissing ongoing controversy over the financing and high debt levels.
Zipping along its elevated track at almost 190 miles an hour, the sleek blue and white train will cut travel time in half on the 820-mile route between the two cities, to under five hours.
The Chinese Communist Party has been investing heavily to build up thousands of miles of high-speed rail network connecting most of the country's far-flung inland cities to the developed eastern corridor.
The route is designed to carry 80 million passengers a year, and should provide competition for the airlines on a route notorious in the business community for its weather and air traffic delays.
A group of foreign journalists were invited to experience the test run between the two Chinese cities on Monday, before it opens to the public on Thursday.
Tickets range from $83 to $270.
Costing $34 billion, the project has triggered public outcry over its high cost. With interest payments to cost more than one billion dollars a year, there are doubts whether the project will bring financial returns. Concerns over the safety and potential speed of the trains have also been raised.