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February 7, 2010

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High-speed rail opens

A HIGH-SPEED railway linking central China city Zhengzhou and northwestern city Xi'an, started operating yesterday.

The 505-kilometer Zhengzhou-Xi'an high-speed railway, the first of its kind in central and western China, cuts the travel time between the two cities from six hours to less than two hours, local railway authorities said.

The first train left Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, at 10:50am and arrived at Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, at 1:15 pm, said Long Jing, head of the Xi'an Railway Bureau.

The train traveled at 350 kilometers per hour, said Long. A total of 14 trains would be traveling between Zhengzhou and Xi'an every day, he said.

Construction of the high-speed link, included in the national railway network plan, started on September 25, 2005, with a total investment of about 35.31 billion yuan (US$5.17 billion).

"The Zhengzhou-Xi'an high-speed railway will meet the growing demand of passenger and cargo transportation in central and western China, and help promote local development," said Wang Yongping, spokesman for the Ministry of Railways.

Henan is one of China's major grain producers and an emerging economic powerhouse as well as host to many sites of historical and cultural interest.


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