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China’s 380 km/h rail link to open in June


Beijing: The Beijing-Shanghai 380 km/h high-speed rail link that will slash travel time between the two cities to four hours will open in June, months ahead of schedule.

Railways Minister Liu Zhijun also announced a major expansion of the high-speed rail network.

He told a conference that the network will be extended by nearly 5,000 km this year, taking it past 13,000 km by the end of 2011, the China Daily reported Wednesday.

At the end of 2010, the network stretched to 8,358 km, the world’s longest. A total of 5,149 km of track were put into service last year.

There are plans to invest 700 billion yuan ($106 billion) in railway construction in 2011, Liu said. Last year’s figure was 709 billion yuan.

As a result, China’s rail network expanded from 86,000 km in 2009 to 91,000 km in 2010.

This year’s investment is expected to increased it to some 99,000 km, and the high-speed rail network will be extended by 4,715 km to just over 13,000 km.

The opening of the Beijing-Shanghai line has been rescheduled twice. The initial schedule was for 2012 but last year officials suggested it would be operational at the end of 2011.