Even Superman himself would have a hard time keeping up with what is being described as the world’s fastest train.
While trial runs took place earlier in the month, the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway officially began service in China on December 26, 2009.
Operated by the China Railway High-Speed (CRH) service, the high-speed train currently runs between Wuhan and Guangzhou. Traveling through 20 cities and 200 tunnels, the 600+ mile journey can now be completed in about three hours, compared to ten. With an average speed of 217 miles per hour and maximum speed of 245 MPH, other high-speed trains simply can not compare. For instance, France comes in at 172 miles per hour while Japan comes in at 150 MPH.
The sleek train offers first, second and deluxe class. Tickets went on sale December 19th. Prices for the high-speed express train currently range from $72 to $114 but ticket prices may come down over the next few months. More than 20 scheduled trains and two non-stop trains will travel between Wuhan and Guangzhou each day. The fastest service is expected to take just under three hours, while other services will take about four hours to complete.
Some say train service is more convenient, more punctual and has a better safety record than air. And one thing is for certain the CRH service is expected to give airlines a run for their money! In fact, China Southern Airlines has already slashed ticket prices from Wuhan to Guangzhou in response to the competition.
On Wednesday, passengers found out the hard way that smoking is forbidden on the high-speed train. According to reports, a smoker triggered the alarm system aboard the train, delaying the train for more than two hours. Several other trains were also impacted.
The high-speed service is expected to be operational in most of China’s major cities by 2012. As part of its modernization effort, 42 high-speed lines are expected to be built by 2012, increasing the amount of track in the national network from 53,437 miles to 74,564 miles. The project, which began in 2005, was completed in four years.