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New rail brings delta cities closer

Han Ximin

THE 514-km Xiamen-Shenzhen High-Speed Railway opened Saturday, connecting China’s three special economic zones, including Shantou.

The line’s opening marks the completion of the 1,650-km rail network on China’s southeastern coast and provides the first rail service to eight counties in Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

D2286 — the first train from Shenzhen to Hongqiao in Shanghai — was packed with 1,100 passengers, including Guangdong Party chief Hu Chunhua, Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan, Shenzhen Party chief Wang Rong and Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin. It left Shenzhen North Railway Station at 9:55 a.m., arrived at Xiamen North Railway Station at 1:55 p.m. and reached Shanghai at about 10:15 p.m. The total fare to Shanghai was 478.5 yuan (US$78.38).

The journey between Xiamen and Shenzhen takes eight hours by bus, but has been shortened to about four hours on the new high-speed line. The network extends between Shanghai and Guangzhou, providing new travel connections between the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas, China’s most economically developed regions.

China’s rail network topped 100,000 kilometers Saturday, as several new rail links — including Xi’an-Baoji high-speed rail and the Chong-qing-Lichuan railway — began operations. (Focus on P8)

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