China opens game-changing bullet train

Journalists gather beside the high speed train of the new line between Beijing and Guangzhou as it waits to start off in Beijing on December 26, 2012.

The world's longest high speed rail route has officially opened in China. The new bullet train covers 1,428 miles of track between the capital Beijing and the southern commercial hub of Guangzhou. Travelling at 187 miles per hour, the train will make what was a 22 hour journey only 10 hours long.

The BBC's Martin Yip in Hong Kong says it will be a big game changer for business and travel in China, with labor intensive manufacturing now able to move inland where costs are lower. Although official cost figures haven't been released, Yip says the high speed rail link is expected to generate billions of dollars for the Chinese economy.

However, there have been some complaints about the cost to passengers. A second class fare from Beijing to Guangzhou will cost $138 similar to the price of air travel.

The Chinese government plans to expand its high-speed railway system to more than 11,000 miles by 2015. This latest opening means the government is nearly half way to reaching that target.

About the author

Martin Yip is a reporter for the BBC.

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