Passenger Service on Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Rail Line Officially Launched

The newest and perhaps the most important high-speed train service in China, between Beijing and Shanghai, was officially launched on June 30, 2011. 

The first passenger train on the high-speed rail line departed from Beijing Southern Railway Station at 3:00 pm. It arrived at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station at 8:07 pm. It was a ride of 5 hours and 7 minutes, covering the 1,318 kilometers or 819 miles between two of China's largest cities.

Beijing-Shanghai fast trains are currently operating at speeds of 300 km and 250 km per hour. If the speed is raised to the designed level, namely 350 km per hour, total travel time between Beijing and Shanghai will be brought down below 5 hours. 

The high-speed trains are designated with letter "G". They're faster than the "D" trains that have been in service for some time. It takes 7 to 8 hours for a "D" train to travel from Beijing to Shanghai. 

The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail operates trains that make various stops en route. Some of them make just one stop, such as G1, which halts at Nanjing South before moving on to Shanghai Hongqiao. Others make more stops. G139, for example, make 6 stops between Beijing and Shanghai.

Currently a Second Class ticket for a ride on a G train from Beijing to Shanghai costs ¥555. A First Class ticket costs ¥935. The latter is comparable to what an one-way plane flight would cost.

The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao rode on the first high-speed train out of Beijing to show his support.