High-speed rail in China (simplified Chinese: 中国高速铁路; traditional Chinese: 中國高速鐵路; pinyin: Zhōngguó gāosù tiělù) refers to any commercial train service in China with an average speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) or higher. By that measure, China has the world's longest high-speed rail (HSR) network with about 9,300 km (5,800 mi) of routes in service as of December 2012. The world's longest line opened in China on 25 December 2012. It runs 2,298 kilometers (1,428 miles) from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou.
High-speed rail service in China was introduced on April 18, 2007, and daily ridership has grown from 237,000 in 2007 to 796,000 in 2010. China's high speed rail network consists of upgraded conventional railways, newly built high-speed passenger designated lines (PDLs), and the world's first high-speed commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) line. The country has been undergoing an HSR building boom with generous funding from the Chinese government's economic stimulus program. The network is rapidly expanding and the total network length of above 200 km/h lines is expected to reach 18,000 km (11,000 mi) by the end of 2015, or 40,000 km (25,000 mi) total network length under another definition of high speed rail.
China's initial high speed trains were imported or built under technology transfer agreements with foreign train-makers including Siemens, Bombardier and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Chinese engineers then re-designed internal train components and built indigenous trains that can reach operational speeds of up to 380 km/h (240 mph).
The pace of China's high-speed rail expansion slowed sharply in 2011 after the removal of Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun in February pending investigation for corruption and a fatal high-speed railway accident near Wenzhou in July. Concerns about HSR safety, high ticket prices, low ridership, financial sustainability of high speed rail projects and environmental impact have drawn greater scrutiny from the Chinese press.
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