China High-Speed Rail Network

Written by Vivi Updated Sep. 1, 2021

China has the longest and most extensively used high-speed rail (HSR) network in the world, with a total length of 37,900 kilometers (24,498 miles) by the end of 2020, accounting for two-thirds of the world's total high-speed railway networks.

The current high-speed rail network consists of four verticals (north-south rail lines) and four horizontal (east-west rail lines). These lines are built to accommodate bullet trains traveling at speeds over 200 km/h (124 mph).


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China’s high-speed railways are roughly divided into three categories:

1. High-speed railways with a designed speed of 300-380 km/h, including Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, Shanghai-Kunming High-Speed Railway and Guangzhou – Shenzhen - Hong Kong High-Speed Railway.

2. High-speed railways with a designed speed of 200-250km/h, including Qinhuangdao - Shenyang Passenger Dedicated Line and Jinhua – Wenzhou High-Speed Railway.

3. High-speed railways with a design speed of 200-250km/h which serve both passenger and freight transport, such as the Wuhan – Yichang High-Speed Railway and Tianjin – Baoding High-Speed Railway.

Also read China High-Speed Rail.

Four North-South High-Speed Rail Lines

Four verticals are the Beijing – Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing – Hong Kong High-Speed Railway, Beijing – Harbin High-Speed Railway, and Hangzhou – Fuzhou - Shenzhen High-Speed Railway (Coastal Corridor).

Beijing – Shanghai High-Speed Railway

Beijing – Shanghai High-Speed Railway (Jinghu High-Speed Railway) is a rail route connecting Beijing and Shanghai. It is one of the most popular and busiest rail lines in China’s high-speed rail network.

This rail line runs from Beijing South Railway Station to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, stopping at 24 stations along the way. The designed maximum speed is 350 km/h (217 mph), and it is expected to speed up to 380 km/h (236 mph) in the future.

Beijing - Shanghai high-speed rail route passes through northern and eastern areas of China and connects two major economic zones: Bohai Economic Rim and the Yangtze River Delta.

Click to find out more information: Beijing – Shanghai Trains.

Beijing – Hong Kong High-Speed Railway

Beijing – Hong Kong High-Speed Railway is known as the world’s longest high-speed railway. It runs in a north-south direction from Beijing to Hong Kong, with a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).

This high-speed rail route consists of several sections: Beijing – Shijiazhuang High-Speed Railway (opened in 2012), Shijiazhuang – Wuhan High-Speed Railway (opened in 2012), Wuhan – Guangzhou High-Speed Railway (opened in 2009), Guangzhou – Shenzhen High-Speed Railway (opened in 2011) and Shenzhen – Hong Kong High-Speed Railway (2018).

It is planned to build a branch for the Beijing – Hong Kong High-Speed Railway, a branch leading from Hefei to Taipei across the Taiwan Strait.

Click to find out more information: Beijing – Hong Kong Trains.

China High-Speed train
China High-Speed train

Beijing – Harbin High-Speed Railway

Beijing – Harbin High-Speed Railway is part of the China High-Speed Rail’s system of passenger dedicated lines connecting Beijing and Harbin. After this railway operated, the shortest travel time from Beijing to Harbin was reduced from 6 hours and 32 minutes to 4 hours and 52 minutes. The shortest travel time between Shenyang and Chengde by bullet train is 2 hours and 21 minutes, nearly 9 hours shorter than the fastest travel time by non-bullet trains.

Beijing – Harbin High-Speed Railway is an important part of the “Four Verticals and Four Horizontals" master railway network plan. It is an important rail transit facility connecting the Bohai Rim and the Northeast Industrial Base in Beijing, and also an important transportation support facility for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Hangzhou – Fuzhou - Shenzhen High-Speed Railway

Shenzhen – Fuzhou – Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, also called the Coastal Corridor, is a coastal rail line connecting Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province to Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. It comprised of Hangzhou – Ningbo High-Speed Railway, Ningbo – Taizhou – Wenzhou High-Speed Railway, Wenzhou – Fuzhou High-Speed Railway, Fuzhou – Xiamen High-Speed Railway and Xiamen – Shenzhen High-Speed Railway.

China High-Speed Rail
China High-Speed Rail

Four East–West High-Speed Rail Lines

Four horizontals are the Xuzhou – Zhengzhou - Lanzhou High-Speed Railway, Shanghai – Kunming High-Speed Railway, Qingdao – Taiyuan High-Speed Railway, and Shanghai – Chengdu High-Speed Railway.

Xuzhou – Zhengzhou - Lanzhou High-Speed Railway

The Xuzhou – Zhengzhou – Lanzhou High-Speed Railway, also called Xuzhou – Lanzhou Passenger Dedicated Line, is a high-speed rail line operated by China State Railway Group Company connecting the cities of Xuzhou, a city in Jiangsu Province, Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan Province and Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu Province in northwest China.

Shanghai – Kunming High-Speed Railway

Shanghai – Kunming High-Speed Railway is a high-speed rail line connecting eastern China’s metropolis of Shanghai and Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan Province in the southwest of China. As an important rail route of the “Four Verticals and Four Horizontals" master railway network plan, this high-speed railway is the longest east-west line that passes most provinces in China.

This railway is comprised of three sections: the Shanghai – Hangzhou high-speed rail line (opened in 2010), the Hangzhou – Changsha high-speed rail line (opened in 2014), and the Changsha – Kunming high-speed rail line (opened in 2016).

Seats on China High-Speed trains
Seats on Chinese high-speed trains

Qingdao – Taiyuan High-Speed Railway

The Qingdao – Taiyuan High-Speed Railway starts from Qingdao in the east and ends at Taiyuan in the west. It consists of the Jinan - Qingdao High-Speed Railway, Shijiazhuang – Jinan Passenger Dedicated Line, and Shijiazhuang - Taiyuan Passenger Dedicated Line. After this high-speed passenger dedicated line was opened, the travel time from Qingdao to Taiyuan was shortened from 11 hours to only 6 hours.

Shanghai – Chengdu High-Speed Railway

Shanghai -Chengdu High-Speed Railway, or Shanghai – Wuhan – Chengdu Passenger Dedicated Line, starts from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, passing through the major cities of Nanjing, Hefei, Wuhan, and Chongqing, and ends at Chengdu East Railway Station. It is one of the most important high-speed rail lines connecting the east to the west of the country. After this rail line opened, the travel time from Shanghai to Chengdu was cut by 20 hours.

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