Photo taken on Nov. 15, 2010 shows the ceremony of the completion of track laying of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway in Bengbu City, east China's Anhui Province. (Xinhua Photo)
The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway will be put into operation by the middle of June this year, Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun said at a conference Tuesday.
The high-speed link connecting the country's two most important cities will open ahead of its original schedule, previously set in 2012.
The construction of the 1,318-km railway was started in April 2008 with total investment estimated at 220.9 billion yuan (around 32.5 billion U.S. dollars).
The railway is expected to cut travel time between Beijing, China's capital in the north, and Shanghai, the country's economic center in the east, to less than five hours, compared with the current 10-hour rail journey.
On Dec. 3, 2010, a China-made CRH380A train set a new speed record of 486.1 km per hour on a test run on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway.
Also at the conference, Liu said the combined length of China's operating high-speed railways had reached 8,358 km by the end of 2010.
Total length of high-speed railways would reach 13,000 km by 2011, and 16,000 km by 2015, Liu said.
China plans to invest 700 billion yuan for the construction of railways this year, Liu said.
He said the total length of China's railways had reached 91,000 km by 2010, and the railways would reach 120,000 km in five years.
In 2010, 1.68 billion passenger journeys were conducted through the nation's railways, up 9.9 percent year on year. The railways had also transported 3.63 billion tonnes of goods, up 9.3 percent.