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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 7:14 EDT

China Unveils Fastest Bullet Train Service

December 27, 2009

Chinese officials unveiled on Saturday the world’s fastest train service, with an average speed of 350 kilometers (217 miles) an hour.

The train ride connecting the cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan was originally over seven and half hours long and is now only a three hour ride. The system only took four years to build.

The average speed for trains in Japan was 243 kilometers per hour while in France it was 277 kilometers per hour.

 Zhang Shuguang, head of the transport bureau at the railways ministry, said, “The train can go 394.2 kilometers per hour, it’s the fastest train in operation in the world.”

Xinhua said plans of the project began in 2005 and aimed at expanding a high-speed network and eventually linking Guangzhou with the capital Beijing.

Beijing is planning to increase the national network from the current 86,000 kilometers to 120,000 kilometers, making it the most extensive rail system outside the United States.

Officials said in September they planned to build 42 high-speed lines by 2012 in a massive system overhaul as part of efforts to spur economic growth amid the global downturn.

The unveiling of China’s first high-speed system came at the time of Beijing Olympics in 2008.