The new high speed line from Nanjing-Hangzhou-Ningbo opened on 1 July.
It is the latest leg of a high-speed rail network of eight lines that cross the industrial heartland of East China.
One of the richest regions in the country, the Yangtze River Delta region, with a total area of 99,600 square kilometres spanning two provinces plus Shanghai, has a combined population of 75 million people.
The cities and industrial pockets in the region are linked by the Yangtze River and its many tributaries.
Efforts to better integrate the region with Shanghai as its centre have gained a major boost with the completion of the high-speed rail network that will greatly shorten travel time between cities.
Formerly, it took more than five hours to go from Nanjing to Ningbo, but the high-speed rail line will reduce that time to about two hours.
Providing a faster connection between cities in the region has been a long-term project. According to statistics provided by the Shanghai Railway Administration for the first four months of this year, the Shanghai-Ningbo high-speed railway averaged 210,000 passengers a day, the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed train had 100,000 daily passengers, the Zhejiang coastal high-speed train averaged more than 70,000 passengers daily and the Hefei-Bengbu route was used daily by 13,000 passengers.
Shanghai’s role as a transport centre is evident in the scale of its road and rail network, which reached 7,800 km by the end of last year, 1,800 km of which are high-speed rail lines. It is expected that the total length of the high-speed rail lines will reach 3,200 km by the end of 2015, all of which are up to international standards.
A close connection between the cities can be seen more intensely in the Hongqiao transport hub. Located in the western part of the city, the hub connects the airport, high-speed railway and the city’s major metro lines, allowing people to transfer between cities with little effort.
- Nanjing-Hangzhou line: 256 km, 11 stations, 51 trains daily in each direction
- Hangzhou-Ningbo line: 155 km, 7 stations, 74 trains daily in each direction
- The two lines are designed with speeds of 350 km/h but operate at speeds of 300 km/h and construction started in April 2009