16 Dec 2012

Opening date for Beijing - Guangzhou high-speed railway

6:47 am on 16 December 2012

State media in China say a high-speed rail route running from Beijing - Guangzhou in the south, will open for business on 26 December. The 2298km route will be the longest in the world.

The China Daily newspaper said trains travelling at an average speed of 300km per hour will reduce the journey time from 22 hours to eight hours.

It will have 35 stops including Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Changsha and will be operational for China's Lunar New Year holiday period.

State media said the specific date was chosen to commemorate the birth of Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

AAP reports China's high-speed rail network is expected to almost double to 16,000km by 2020.

However, the network has been plagued by graft and safety scandals. Forty people were killed in a bullet train collision in July 2011.