China has always been about fast trains and expanding their high-speed rail lines, and today the country is now home to the world’s longest high-speed train line, spanning 1,428 miles from Beijing to Guangzhou. The train tops out at 186MPH and can conquer the 1,428-mile trip in just eight hours, replacing the previous train route which took about 20 hours to complete.
The new rail line is still technically slower than flying, but it’s cheaper and potentially less stressful than tackling the trip by air. It’s certainly far more viable than the 20-hour rail trip that it’s replacing, and the new rail line could encourage more people to go with the train rather than flying, which wasn’t really a realistic option until now.
A total of 155 different train rides will run on the new line each day, and alternative schedules have been made for weekends and peak travel times. There will still be 183 rides running daily on the old Beijing-Guangzhou line that runs parallel to the new high-speed line, which will diminish concerns that the new line would increase passengers’ travel costs.
A second-class seat on the new high-speed line costs 865 yuan ($138), while a ticket on the old rail line sells for around 430 yuan ($69). Riding the train is definitely a cheaper alternative to flying, especially if you’re not in a big hurry and don’t mind being confined to a rail car for a majority of the day.
With the opening of the new Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed line, China now has almost 5,800 miles of high-speed railway in operation. The new rail line is one of four north-south lines expected to serve as the country’s high-speed railway backbone, which also features four east-west lines. By 2015, China is planning to have around 74,000 miles of railway in operation, including 11,100 miles of high-speed railway.
Image via Xinhuanet