China railway is undergoing fast development, especially its high speed railway. By now, the railway network in China has totaled 77,000 miles (124,000 km) and will reach 93,200 miles (150,000 kilometers) by 2020. Train has been the top choice of more and more travelers in China. Every year, China railway system accommodates over 2,700 million passengers, which is still growing at a speed of about 10%.
China railway history can be divided into three stages: The first stage, from 1865 to 1949, is featured as the awakening time; only a few railroads were constructed and in use. The second stage, from 1949 to 2014, is a massive construction stage when the old lines were restored and improved, and lots of new lines were built. It was during this stage that the country's railroad network took its shape gradually and was expanded to cover most cities in the country. Since 2004, the country has entered high speed era. High speed lines take place of old busy ordinary speed lines, which greatly increases transport capacity and makes train travel much easier than before.
1865-1949: First Stage
1949-2008: Massive Construction
2008-Present: High Speed Era
To ensure smooth and efficient transport, lots of rail infrastructures are constructed in the vast land of the country, including ordinary or high speed lines, large or small stations, different types of trains, bridges and tunnels for railroads to passing through, etc. All of them are indispensable parts of the dense railroad system.
China Railway Network
High Speed Rail Network
Different Types of Trains
Advanced Technological Level
On account of complex topography, great deals of problems took place during the construction of rail system, especially the rail lines, which may travel through densely populated metropolises, desolate gobi, wavy mountainous regions, and wide rivers, etc. To solve these difficulties, Chinese people has thought out many solutions and gradually acquired many advanced technologies. By now, the country's railway construction technologies have reached world’s top standards. Another reflection of the advanced construction technologies is the Shanghai maglev
, which can run at a speed of 267 mil/h (430 km/h), slower only than a plane.
Challenges of China Railway Construction
It is an organization operating the country's rail system. Its main functions are operation of passenger and freight trains, issuing train tickets, constructing lines and stations. There are eighteen bureaus/companies under its direct jurisdiction.
Rail Transport Capacity
Train, as the most principle transport mode in China, accommodates enormous passengers transport volume. In 2016, it has transferred about 2,770 million passengers with an increase of 11.2% over 2015. Spring Festival Travel Rush is the busiest time of rail system in a year, which usually begins 15 days before Chinese New Year and lasts for about 40 days. During that period of 2016, the passenger volume has reached 325 million.
Passenger Rail Transport in China
In addition to the rail system within the country, China Railway Corporation also operates several international passenger trains to nearby countries, including K3/ K4
and K19/ K20
to/from Russia, K23/ K24
to/ from Mongolia, K27/ K28
to/from North Korea, and T8701/ T8702
to/from Vietnam. In addition, several international rail lines are under construction or planning. When completed, they will connect China with more neighbouring countries.
International rail lines under construction/ planning from China to:
Programming and Prospect in Future
It is planned that by 2020, another three goals will be achieved. First, the four vertical & four horizontal high speed corridors and three intercity passengers transport systems is expected to be completed, which will cover Bohai Costal Region, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta. Second, the whole network will be optimized and new lines in west part of the country will be explored. Third, more existing lines will be upgraded and electrified.
Further Reading: China Railway Museum in Beijing