The Wuguang High-Speed Railway
, short for Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, Wuhan–Guangzhou Section
, is a 968 kilometres (601.5 mi) high-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...
line, operated by China Railway High-speed
China Railway High-speed ; ) is the high-speed rail system operated by China Railways.Hexie Hao is the designation for high-speed trains running on this rail system. At the middle of the run, all trains were marked "CRH" on the centre of the head vehicle and the side of the walls of each vehicle...
(CRH), connecting Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...
' Hupeh) is a province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Lake Dongting...
) and Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...
), in the People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...
. It is the world's fastest train service, initially using coupled CRH2
The CRH2 is one of the high-speed train models in China. Originally, the CRH2 was a modified E2-1000 Series Shinkansen design from Japan with the license purchased from a consortium formed of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and Hitachi, and represents the second...
C and CRH3
The CRH3 is a version of the Siemens Velaro high-speed train used in China on the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Rail line, Wuhan-Guangzhou Passenger Dedicated Line, Zhengzhou-Xi'an Passenger Dedicated Line and the Shanghai–Nanjing High-Speed Railway...
C trains which average 313 kilometres per hour (194.5 mph) in non-stop commercial service.
The line is part of the future 2100-km long Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, while the Beijing–Shijiazhuang
Beijing–Shijiazhuang High-Speed Railway is a 281-kilometre high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shijiazhuang in China under construction since October 2008. It is expected to be put into service by 2012. The total investment is 43.87 billion yuan. The design speed is 350 km/h, and will cut the...
Shiwu Passenger Railway is a 840 km high-speed rail line between Shijiazhuang and Wuhan in China under construction since October 2008. It is expected to be put into service by 2012. The total investment is 116.76 billion yuan. The design speed is 350 km/h...
sections are still under construction and set to open by the end of 2011.
When the line opened, the trains had a maximum in-service speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). Each train consists of two eight-car electric multiple unit
An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages...
s coupled together to make a 16-car train. The passenger capacity of the train is about 1114 (CRH3C×2) or 1220 (CRH2C×2). The trains are based on technology developed by Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...
(CRH3) and Kawasaki
is an international corporation based in Japan. It has headquarters in both Chūō-ku, Kobe and Minato, Tokyo.The company is named after its founder Shōzō Kawasaki and has no connection with the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa....
(CRH2) modified to the standards of China Railway High-speed. The trains used on the line are manufactured in China.
On December 3, 2010, the new CRH380A trainset started serving this line.
The first commercial trains left Wuhan and Guangzhou North at 9:00 am on December 26, 2009, and reached their destinations in three hours, compared with ten and a half hours for the previous service.
From December 28, 2009,
[Timetable was slightly different on December 26 and December 27.]
until Guangzhou South Station was opened on 30 January 2010, 28 passenger train services run on the line daily each way. Of these 28 trains, two run between Wuhan and Changsha South, five run between Changsha South and Guangzhou North, and 21 run between Wuhan and Guangzhou North.
Nonstop trains, now cancelled, covered the 922-km long journey in a scheduled 02h57m (Southbound) or 02h58m (Northbound).
[In the first day of its service on December 26, train G1001 finished the 922-km distance in 02h48m, and arrived at Guangzhou North ten minutes ahead of schedule, averaging 329 km/h]
This is an average speed of 313 kilometres per hour (194.5 mph) between stations. Before this line was opened, the fastest commercial train service between stations was the train run between Lorraine TGV and Champagne TGV
The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...
in France, averaging 279 kilometres per hour (173.4 mph).
Guangzhou South Railway Station was opened on 30 January 2010, just before the Chinese New Year. Trains arrive at or depart from Guangzhou South instead of Guangzhou North since then. During the first 56 days in 2010, the railway transported 1.108 million people, or 43 thousand per day. The total ticket income was about ¥700 million, exceeding earlier predictions.
More trains have been added to the route since March 3, 2010.
Since July 1, 2010, coupled trains have been replaced by single trains, and service frequency were doubled. The two non-stop 03h08m-long services between Wuhan and Guangzhou South had been replaced by six 03h16m-long services with one stop in Changsha South. The 03h16m-long one stop service is denoted with departure time on the hour. I.e. 08:00, 14:00, 16:00.
On September 20, 2010, even more trains were added. There were then 75 trains in each direction on weekdays and 80 trains in each direction on weekends. The average train interval had been cut to 11 minutes. On October 1, 2010 during the National holidays, the railway line transported 118 thousand people in a single day.
In August 2011 the maximum speed of Chinese high-speed trains was reduced to 300km/h (186 mph) following the Wenzhou train collision
On 23 July 2011, two high-speed trains travelling on the Yongtaiwen railway line collided on a viaduct in the suburbs of Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. The two trains derailed each other, and four cars fell off the viaduct...
. In August 2011 the fastest trains between Wuhan and Guangzhou South, with one stop at Changsha South, had a scheduled trip time of 3 hours and 33 minutes.
Construction work began on June 23, 2005. The line cost approximately CN¥
The yuan is the base unit of a number of modern Chinese currencies. The yuan is the primary unit of account of the Renminbi.A yuán is also known colloquially as a kuài . One yuán is divided into 10 jiǎo or colloquially máo...
116.6 billion. Xu Fangliang was the general engineer in charge of designing the line.
468 km of the railway line is laid on bridges, and 177 km is in tunnels, totaling 2/3 of the entire length. There are 684 bridges and 226 tunnels along the line. The signalling system deployed on the line is CTCS
The Chinese Train Control System is a train control system used on railway lines in People's Republic of China. CTCS is similar to the European Train Control System ....
There are eighteen stations on the line. Fourteen of them are opened for passenger service. The northern terminal, Wuhan Railway Station
was open simultaneously with the railway line. Guangzhou South station was opened later on January 30, 2010. Lechang East and Yingde West stations are under construction. Wulongquan East is an overtaking station which is not open for service.
On December 9, 2009, a train achieved a top speed of 394.2 kilometres per hour (244.9 mph) and took 02h55m to travel from Guangzhou South to Wuhan during a test run.
The second class fare is about ¥
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...
0.46 per kilometer and the first class fare is 60% higher. Deluxe class is also available on CRH3 trains, which is about 80% higher than second class. Like other train services in China, insurance of ¥0.0011722 per kilometer is included for every ticket. The ratemaking distance is based on the existing Jingguang Railway
The Beijing–Guangzhou Railway or Jingguang Railway is a major arterial railway in the China that connects Beijing in the north with Guangzhou in the south. This dual-track electrified line has a total length of 2,324 kilometres and spans five provinces through north, central and south China...
, not the actual rail distance of the new railway. Hence, though the actual rail distance between Wuhan and Guangzhou South is 968 km, 1069 km is charged. The ticket price between the two terminal stations is ¥490 and ¥780 ($75 and $115 in U.S. currency).
Reaction from existing passengers
With an average speed 4 times faster, the fare for the high-speed railway is also about 4 times of the ordinary railway. Some believe this is too high for the public. RMB490 is about 15% of the average monthly income of workers in Guangzhou. After opening of the high-speed railway, 13 out of 45 ordinary trains were canceled, a decision criticized to have harmed the welfare of low-income workers. Hence, the existing passengers complain that they are "forced to travel high-speed".
Reaction from airlines
China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines is an airline headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China. It is the world's sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried, and Asia's largest airline in terms of both fleet size and passengers carried...
, a national airline with one of two hubs in Guangzhou, spoke of concern over eroding market share
Market share is the percentage of a market accounted for by a specific entity. In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 67 percent responded that they found the "dollar market share" metric very useful, while 61% found "unit market share" very useful.Marketers need to be able to...
Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For...
. Thirty-eight of 160 plus China Southern domestic routes will compete with the rail line. The airline has aggressively cut fares, slashing the advance purchase price of flights between Wuhan and Guangzhou by almost half.
Tan Wangeng, president of China Southern Airlines, said, "In the long run, the coming of high-speed railway age is an opportunity rather than challenge to our airline company. China Southern is expecting cooperation with the railway company to extend the market and develop more packaged travel products for the passengers."