Intensifying competition for airlines, China has started world’s longest high-speed train line from Beijing to Guangzhou covering a distance of 2,298-kilometer. The fastest bullet-train on the new line has ticket prices starting from 865 yuan ($139), about 73 percent of the lowest air fare on the route. The first train service left Beijing West Station at 9 a.m. as scheduled, sources said. The train will cover the distance in eight hours at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour. Previously it took 21 hours to cover the same distance, according to rail ministry. It is a part of the country’s proposal to connect Hong Kong by building a 16,000-kilometer high- speed rail network by 2015. China has increased spending on rail projects this year as the government sought to revive growth, rail ministry said. The National Development and Reform Commission approved a 63.7 billion-yuan ($10 billion) subway construction plan in Changsha city, Hunan. The line linking capital Beijing with Pearl River Delta’s Guangzhou goes through five provinces from the north to the south.
It also connects to the existing high-speed rail lines including Beijing-Shanghai and Guangzhou-Shenzhen, according to the Ministry of Railways. Work on 26-kilometer underground railway running from downtown Hong Kong to the Chinese border and connect to the Beijing-Guangzhou line at a cost of $8.6 billion is nearing completion. Kowloon Terminus Piling of the underground West Kowloon Terminus has been completed. Excavation and tunneling works are in progress, MTR, the city’s subway operator said. The 11-hectare terminus, which will have customs and immigration facilities, is located next to the city’s tallest building International Commerce Centre and is expected to be completed in 2015. The ministry said the Beijing-Guangzhou line is “one of the most sophisticated high-speed railways” in the country. Disaster prevention and monitoring systems have been strengthened and a risk control system has been set up to ensure the network’s safety, it said.