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The opening of the new $32.5 billion Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link this week marked a significant milestone in the world effort to improve intercity rail systems. Though the development of fast train networks in China has not been without its failings, the connection of the nation’s two largest metropolitan regions — the tenth and nineteenth-largest in the world — is a human achievement of almost unparalleled proportions, especially since it was completed a year earlier than originally planned and just three years after construction began. It comes as the Chinese government celebrates its 90th anniversary.
With ninety daily trains traveling the 819-mile link at average speeds of up to 165 mph, the corridor will likely soon become the most-used high-speed intercity rail connection in the world. Because of safety concerns,