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World's longest fast train line opens in China

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December 25, 2012 10:57 PM EST | AP


BEIJING — China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs 2,298 kilometers (1,428 miles) from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in the Pearl River delta in southern China.

The line officially opened Wednesday when a train departed from Beijing at 9 a.m. for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later.

Trains on this high-speed line will initially run at 300 kph (186 mph) with a total travel time of about eight hours. Before, the fastest time between the two cities by train was more than 20 hours.

Railway is an essential part in China's transportation system, and its government plans to build a grid of high-speed railways with four east-west lines and four north-south lines by 2020.