Reporters tour China's new high-speed train
On Tuesday, the Chinese government gave reporters a chance to test-ride the new Beijing-Tianjin high-speed train before its official opening next Friday. One Reuters correspondent was impressed, noting that the train had swivel seats, spacious interiors, rooftop solar panels, and a record-breaking top speed of 350 kmph (220 mph).
The railway will open next Friday, in time for next month's Beijing Olympics, and will shuttle people to soccer events in Tianjin, one of the Games' co-host cities. It will chop one hour off the current rail journey, reducing it to a 30-minute hop, taking passengers at a top speed of 350 kmph (220 mph) on special sleek trains with interiors that look more like aircraft cabins. Reporters were given a sneak preview of the ultra-modern trains on a government-organised trip on Tuesday, zipping through the lush countryside past massive housing developments and deserted highways. "This is a revolution in terms of ramping up the speed of Chinese railways," Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping told reporters at the cavernous new Beijing South railway station, which he said was the largest in Asia.
"Its operational speed is the fastest in the world. It's very comfortable and quiet," Zhang said. "There's a French train that has gone 500 kmph in tests, but only in tests."