Beijing, China -- The Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway started to operate at a 217 miles (350 km)-per-hour designed speed - setting the new world record for the Fastest train.
"The train can go 394.2 kilometres per hour, it's the fastest train in operation in the world," Zhang Shuguang, head of the transport bureau at the railways ministry, told Xinhua.
The 1068-kilometre Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway project took three years to complete. Two trains separately start from Wuhan and Guangzhou city at 9 am and reach their destinations within three hours.
China Ministry of Railways spokesman Wang Yongping said with the completion of the Zhengzhou-Xian, Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway projects and upgrading some of the present electric train services, Beijing would become the hub of railway transport for major cities in China by 2012.
The high-speed train service has cut short the travel time by seven-anda-half hours, where the normal train took ten-and-a-half hours.
Tickets for regular services range from 50 to 280 yuan but to travel on the new 350-km/h link costs about 800 yuan for first class and 500 for second class.
Beijing has an ambitious rail development programme aimed at increasing the national network from the current 86,000 kilometres to 120,000 kilometres, making it the most extensive rail system outside the United States.
The network uses technology developed in co-operation with foreign firms such as Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom. The train travels at a speed of 350km per hour beating France's high-speed railway to become the fastest train in the world.
The Fastest train was said to have achieved a maximium speed of 394.2 km per hour during its trail run in December. The average speed of France's high speed train is 277km per hour, while Japan's is 243 km per hour, and 232 km per hour in Germany.
By 2012, trips from Beijing to most provincial capital cities would only take one to eight hours, said Wang Yongping, the Railway Ministry spokesman. China's high-speed trains run across Hubei, Hunan and Guangdong provinces, connecting 11 cities and 44 district.
The high-speed rail services from Beijing to Hong Kong are expected to open in three years, cutting the journey from 23 hours to 8. The one-way trip from Shanghai to Hong Kong will be shortened to six hours from the current 18, he said. The previous Guinness world record for the fastest train was 277km per hour set by France.