HIGH-SPEED trains departing from Shenzhen will take passengers directly to Changsha and Wuhan starting April 1, cutting the travel time between Shenzhen and Wuhan to four hours, according to rail operator Guangzhou Railway Group Corp. on Monday.
At present, passengers leaving Shenzhen for the two provincial capital cities of Hunan and Hubei have to transfer at Guangzhou South Railway Station.
The railway group will operate 10 pairs of trains — labeled G10 — from Shenzhen to Wuhan, and 10 pairs of trains labeled G60 to Changsha. The group currently operates 28 pairs of high-speed trains between Shenzhen and Guangzhou, carrying 20,000 passengers a day.
The newly connected rail will provide trips of four hours eight minutes to Wuhan and two hours 48 minutes to Changsha.
The railway group didn’t reveal fares or schedules for the new trains. It costs 75 yuan (US$12) for an economy seat from Shenzhen to Guangzhou and 465 yuan from Guangzhou to Wuhan. The fare from Shenzhen to Wuhan, therefore, is estimated to be 540 yuan. The fare to Changsha is about 390 yuan.
The opening of a direct high-speed rail link between Shenzhen, Changsha and Wuhan is expected to stimulate tourism with its cheaper cost and shortened travel time.
Shenzhen-Wuhan high- speed rail is part of the larger Beijing-Hong Kong passenger rail system. The section between Wuhan and Zhengzhou will open this August. The section between Zhengzhou and Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province will open at the end of the year. The Shenzhen-Hong Kong section is expected to open by 2015.
It will take eight hours to travel from Shenzhen to Beijing when the whole line is operating.