China today began test to restore the maximum speed of bullet train on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway to 350 kms per hour, six years after it was reduced to 300 kms following a major accident. Departing Beijing South Railway Station this morning, a Fuxing bullet train will complete the round-trip from Beijing to Xuzhou, some 700 kilometres away, within about four hours.
The speed hike will cut the Beijing-Shanghai journey to about 4.5 hours, about half an hour faster than the current minimum between the two cities.
If successful, the test will pave way for a new schedule on the Beijing-Shanghai railway starting in mid-September, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. China had reduced the speed to 300 kilometres after a major accident in July 2011. Forty people were killed and over 190 injured when two high-speed trains travelling on the Yongtaiwen railway line collided on a viaduct in the suburb of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province.
Connecting the Chinese capital with its major financial and trade hub, the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway is one of the busiest in the country, carrying over 100 million passengers a year. China had the world’s longest high-speed rail network, 22,000 kilometres at the end of last year, about 60 per cent of the world’s total. Chinese bullet trains have been bought by countries, including Indonesia, Russia and India.