Passengers leave Nantong Railway Station in Jiangsu province on Sunday. Image: Xu Congjun/China Daily
China's passenger and freight train capacity has increased due to a new railway operating plan.
2,100 pairs of bullet trains are now operating out of a total of 3,400 pairs of passenger trains, with one-third of the additional 300 pairs of passenger trains operating in central and western areas, connecting small cities.
The additional bullet trains, more than 100 pairs, are running mainly in Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Guizhou.
Passenger train capacity has been increased by 8 percent and freight train by 9 percent, the largest such adjustment for 10 years, according to China Railway Corp.
Compared with previous upgrades in recent years, the new plan has added more trains running at normal speeds, connecting medium-sized and small cities, said a deputy director of China Railway Corp's Transportation Service Department. The country's longest rail line now runs for nearly 5,000 kilometers, connecting Qiqihar in Heilongjiang province with Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Travel time on more than 100 lines has been shortened by at least an hour, the official said, adding that it has been cut to 10 hours from 14 hours on a line running between Jilin and Beijing.
The number of lines connecting China with Europe and Central Asia has risen from 45 to 62, while the number of high-speed cargo lines, with trains running at 120 km/h, has increased from 193 to 251.
Sixty-nine lines have been added to connect tourist areas.
Three pairs of trains are scheduled to add between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, host cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Hebei province. The one-way trip takes less than 3 hours.
The new plan aims to meet the nation's surging demand for transportation, according to a transportation expert at Guangzhou Railway Corp. Last year, China had 19,000 km of high-speed rail lines in operation, and the national network carried more than 2.5 billion people.