BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to beat its own record for the world’s fastest train service when a new link between Beijing and Shanghai opens by 2012, a state newspaper reported on Monday. The domestically developed train would run at 380 kph (236 mph), slicing five or more hours off the current journey to just four hours, the official China Daily quoted Zhang Shuguang, the Ministry of Railways’ deputy chief engineer, as saying.
China already claims the record for the fastest train service in the world, for the Beijing-Tianjin line, though there are trains in France which have higher operational speeds.
“We have mastered core technologies in terms of manufacturing high-speed trains and made innovative achievements in the process,” he said.
“It is possible that we can start to manufacture 380-kph trains in two years’ time, and put them into service on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway,” Zhang added.
That line was expected to open in 2012, one year ahead of schedule, the newspaper said.
The new trains would also provide a stiff challenge to airlines, which put on dozens of 1-1/2-hour flights between the two cities a day.
China has invested billions of dollars upgrading its rail network, rolling out sleek new trains and extending the line even as far as the remote Tibetan capital of Lhasa.
A new express line from Beijing to its neighboring city of Tianjin which opened last month in time for the Olympics reaches top speeds of 350 kph.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard