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High-speed rail in China

20 January 2016

High-speed rail (HSR) in China refers to any railway in China with commercial train service at the speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) or higher as internationally recognized. China has the world's longest HSR network with over 19,000 km (12,000 mi) of track in service as of January 2016, which is more than the rest of the world's high-speed rail tracks combined, and a network length of 30,000 km (19,000 mi) is planned for 2020.[1]

Since high-speed rail service in China was introduced on April 18, 2007, daily ridership has grown from 237,000 in 2007[2] to 2.49 million in 2014,[3] making the Chinese HSR network the most heavily used in the world.[4][5] Cumulative ridership had reached 2.9 billion by October 2014.[6]

The nationwide HSR network, which extends to 28 of the country's 33 provinces and regions, consists mainly of conventional track railways including upgraded mixed passenger and freight lines, newly built passenger designated lines (PDLs) and intercity lines.[7]Notable lines include the world's longest line, the 2,298 km (1,428 mi) Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway and the Shanghai Maglev, the world's first high-speed commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) line.[8] Nearly all high-speed rail lines and rolling stockare owned and operated by the China Railway Corporation, the state enterprise formerly known as the Railway Ministry.

Over the past decade, the country has undergone an HSR building boom with generous funding from the Chinese government'seconomic stimulus program. The pace of high-speed rail expansion slowed for a period in 2011 after the removal of Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun for corruption and a fatal high-speed railway accident near Wenzhou, but has since rebounded. Concerns about HSR safety, high ticket prices, low ridership, financial sustainability of high-speed rail projects and environmental impact have drawn greater scrutiny from the Chinese press.[9]

China's early high-speed trains were imported or built under technology transfer agreements with foreign train-makers includingAlstomSiemensBombardier and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Chinese engineers then re-designed internal train components and built indigenous trains that can reach operational speeds of up to 380 km/h (240 mph)

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