China high speed rail network has passed 20,000 kilometers in total length

China’s high-speed railways now exceed 20,000 km in length with the opening of a line linking Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province with Xuzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province Saturday.

People in Langfang in Hebei, 55 km (34 miles) south of Beijing can commute to Beijing in only 21 minutes using the high speed rail. It is doable to commute 100 miles along high speed rail into major cities.

The 360-km line has nine stations and trains run at a speed of up to 300 km per hour in the initial period.

The line connects the west with two major north-south lines, helping cut travel time between west and east.

When another line linking Baoji and Lanzhou is put into operation, high-speed trains will run all the way from Xuzhou to Urumqi in the country’s far west.

Huang Xin of China Railway Corp. said the first 10,000 km took 11 years and has since doubled in only three years, and is expected to nearly double again by 2025 and reach 45,000 km in 2030.

In 2015, China’s high-speed trains carried 961 million passengers, up 237 percent from the number in 2011.

Chinese bullet trains have also found international customers in Indonesia, Russia, Iran and India.

Construction of a 150-km high-speed link between the Indonesian capital Jakarta and Bandung began in January 2016. It will cut travel time between the two cities by about two thirds.

China’s high-speed rail service costs significantly less than similar systems in developed countries, but is considerably more expensive than conventional rail service. For the 419 km (260 mi) trip from Beijing to Jinan, HSR costs CNY185 (US$30) and takes 1 hour 32 minutes, while a conventional train costs CNY73 (US$12) and takes about 6 hours. By comparison, the Acela train from Washington DC to New York City (one of the most expensive trains in regular service worldwide) covering a slightly shorter distance of 230 mi (370 km) costs US$152–180 (Y930) and takes 2 hour 50 minutes. In comparison, high speed trains in France or Germany cost slightly over ten cents per kilometer [$45 France vs $30 for China] and the various Shinkansen services hover above twenty cents per kilometer [$90-100 vs $30 for China for 419 km]

As of October 2013, high-speed rail was carrying twice as many passengers each month as the country’s airlines.

The spread of high-speed rail has forced domestic airlines in China to slash airfare and cancel regional flights. The impact of high-speed rail on air travel is most acute for intercity trips under 500 km (310 mi)

Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), is a high-speed railway line to be inaugurated in phases between 2011 and 2018. It will connect Beijing, the capital city of China, and Hong Kong (Kowloon) via Canton/Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

The first phase, Shenzhen (North)–Guangzhou (South), commenced revenue operation in December 2011. Services was extended to the city centre of Shenzhen at Futian in December 2015. The final phase, which connects Shenzhen-Futian to Hong Kong (Kowloon), is under construction and planned to be completed by third quarter of 2018