High-speed rail to link Shanghai, east China cities

Tickets went on sale Friday for a high-speed rail service linking Shanghai and Nanjing, part of a growing rail network to boost the development of cities around China's financial metropolis.

The trains will shuttle between Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, at a speed of 350 km per hour, faster than a Formula One racing car from July 1, said a statement from Shanghai Railway Bureau.

The 200-meter-long CRH3 (China Railways High-speed) train has eight carriages and 557 seats. About 120 shuttles are scheduled everyday, linking Shanghai, Nanjing and six other cities along the route.

Tickets for the full journey between Shanghai and Nanjing are priced at 146 yuan (21.47 U.S. dollars) for second class seats and 233 yuan for first class.

The railway is expected to enhance the economic ties between Shanghai and nearby cities.

A businessman surnamed Wang said his company's factories are in Nanjing while the headquarters is in Shanghai.

"I heard it will take only 73 minutes to get to Shanghai by the high-speed train, which means I can make a shuttle between the two cities in a morning. It feels like travelling within Shanghai."

With more convenient transport links, more people are choosing to live in less expensive cities near Shanghai while working in the metropolis.

Wang Huaping and his wife are among the commuters. With a monthly income of 20,000 yuan, they spent about 1.16 million yuan on a flat of 137 square meters in Kunshan City, a stop on the high-speed railway.

"The same amount of money could only buy a flat of only 40 square meters in Shanghai. After the high-speed train begins, it will take a little more than 10 minutes to get to Shanghai. It's no different from living in Shanghai," Wang said.

The rail network around Shanghai is expected to get a further boost after the central government approved the construction of a maglev railway linking Shanghai and Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, in March.

(2010-06-26 source:china.org.cn)