It used to take more than 22 hours, almost an entire day, to get from Beijing to Guangzhou by train.
But beginning on Wednesday, December 26, that same journey can be completed in only 8 hours.
Traveling through five provinces and more than twenty eight cities, the newest addition to China's high-speed rail lines covers a distance of 2,300 kilometers - 1,428 miles for all you Americans out there. The trains seat 1,028 passengers in 16 different carriages including: first-class, second-class, and business class.
One-way ticket prices are as follows:
865 RMB for Second-Class
1,383 RMB for First-Class
2,972 RMB for VIP Lounge
Picture of G80 Train Ticket (Taken from South China Morning Post)
The line has been completed after seven years of construction. It is impressive that the government in Beijing was able to complete such a large-scale development project amid layers of corruption and extended delays. After a bullet train accident in July 2011 and the firing of the head of the railway ministry, Liu Zhijun, China's rail program seems to be "back on track."
As taken from The Guardian:
"While the ministry has not disclosed the total cost of the Beijing-Guangzhou line, the section between Wuhan and Guangzhou cost £11.56bn, according to Chinese media reports."
In addition, there are plans to extend the line to Shenzhen and eventually to Hong Kong. This portion of the line is slated for completion in 2015. The government has lofty expectations for their country's high-speed rail infrastructure which the ministry envisions linking all four corners of the country: Harbin - Urumqi - Kunming - Guangzhou
The country's first high-speed rail line connected Beijing to neighboring city Tianjin.
At any rate, the opening of this new line will certainly help relieve some pressure on China's transportation system, which faces a gargantuan logistical conundrum each year during Spring Festival, "...when hundreds of millions of urban residents travel back to their ancestral home villages in what is the world's largest annual human migration."
For more information about the launch of the world's longest high-speed rail line, please visit the following news sources:
South China Morning Post
New York Times
P.S. If any of our interns plan on taking this incredible journey, please keep us updated about your experience! Happy adventures.