China began to extend its high-speed rail network only about ten years ago. There are now more than 14,000 miles of high-speed track used by billions of people every year. Speeds range from a cautious 120mph through tunnels to a steady 185mph across the countryside, reducing significantly journey times. Just to give you an idea, it now only takes hours rather than days to travel from Shanghai to Kunming! From Beijing to Ürümqi it only takes one day and this opens up endless possibilities of seeing many of the country’s highlights along the journey by high-speed train.
Meanwhile in the more remote south-west of China, the Chongqing-Kunming railway, with a length of 720 kilometers and an expected investment of 117 billion yuan, is expected to operate by the end this year, according to the China Daily. The railway extends across Chongqing municipality, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.
Travelling by high-speed rail gives us a number of advantages, such as:
- More enjoyable journey - you can see the beautiful sights along the way
- The carriages are clean and comfortable - twice as much legroom as an airplane
- Food & Beverage service
- Charging power supplied
- Train stations are usually more centrally located than airports
At present, high-speed lines connecting Shanghai to Kunming, Xi’an to Chengdu and Chongqing give easy access to the highlands of south-west China along the Yangtze River. As part of a bigger project Kunming-Singapore rail system, high-speed line is being laid from Kunming all the way to the borders with Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Over the next decades, southeast Asia with the major cities of southwestern China will become a paradise for railway travelers.