Beijing: China has successfully conducted test run of the world`s longest 2,298-km long Beijing- Guangzhou high-speed railway, ahead of its formal launch.
Running at an average speed of 300 km per hour, it only took two-and-a-half hours for the train yesterday to cover the 693 km distance from Beijing to Zhengzhou, the northern section of the whole route that links the country`s capital and the southern economic hub.
Zhou Li, director general of science and technology with the Ministry of Railways (MOR), also aboard the train, told reporters that he was confident in the country`s railway technologies.
"We will keep tracking the condition of equipment in real time and report potential risks immediately," Zhou said.
The railway authorities have taken a string of targeted measures to guarantee a safe trip, such as intensifying the maintenance of fixed equipment and mobile devices on board and improving the control system to address possible problems under extreme weather, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
The measures government expect dispel safety concerns raised after a bullet train crash last year near the southern city of Wenzhou that left 40 people dead.
According to an earlier announcement of the MOR, the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway will open on December 26 and is expected to cut the travel time to about 8 hours from the current 20-odd hours by traditional lines.
This is the longest high-speed network after China launched the Beijing-Shanghai bullet train last year which brought down travel time to around five hours covering over 1,300 km distance between two of China`s largest cities.
The new train covers Beijing with China`s most industrialised provicne Guangdong which houses top developed cities like Guangzhou close to Hong Kong and Maccau.
Designed with a maximum speed of 350 km per hour, the railway has 35 stops in major cities, including Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Changsha.
More than 2,000 tickets have been sold for the Guangzhou- Beijing high-speed journey for December 26 journey.
However, some passengers are still hesitant to take the new rail for relatively higher fares that can nearly rival their flying counterparts.
A second-class coach fare from Beijing to Guangzhou is 865 yuan (USD 138) and the cheapest air ticket for December 26 costs only 25 yuan more, 493 yuan (USD 80) lower than first-class coach tickets.
Zhao Chunlei, a senior official in charge of transportation of the Railway Ministry, said tickets are priced to meet the demands of different people, and fares will fluctuate under market forces.