Tests of trains that will do Beijing to Shenzhen in 9 hours
The first test runs on a high-speed railway that will reduce train trips between Shenzhen and Beijing from 24 hours to nine could begin next month.
Trials began on the final section between the capital and Shijiazhuang , Hebei province, in mid- September.
This meant tests for the entire 2,410 kilometre line could begin by December 20, the 21st Century Business Herald reported yesterday.
Once open, the 294 billion yuan (HK$363 billion) railway will connect 28 cities in five provinces - including Henan , Hubei , Hunan , Hebei and Guangdong.
It will eventually terminate in Hong Kong, after the Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railway opens in 2015.
The Beijing-Shenzhen portion of the railway comprises four sections: Beijing to Shijiazhuang, Shijiazhuang to Wuhan , Wuhan to Guangzhou and Guangzhou to Shenzhen.
Half of the Shijiazhuang- Wuhan section is also expected to be operational before the full line is tested, following the opening of a segment linking Zhengzhou and Wuhan in late September.
Planning experts said the new railway would boost economic development by linking the Bohai Rim economic development area in the northeast, the central plains' economic zones, the Wuhan metropolis cluster and the Pearl River Delta, the 21st Century Business Herald said.
It would also integrate manpower, capital flow and logistics over a much wider area.
The Chutian Golden Daily said a second-class ticket from Guangzhou to Beijing was expected to cost between 900 yuan and 1,000 yuan, as the 1,069 kilometre trip from Guangzhou to Wuhan costs 465 yuan, or 0.435 yuan per kilometre.
Flights from Guangzhou to Beijing take about 2-1/2 hours by air, with a ticket ranging in price from 1,200 yuan to 1,700 yuan.
The mainland's airlines are expected to face increasing competition as the high-speed-rail system grows.