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World's longest high-speed rail line opens in China

  • Dec. 26, 2012: A bullet train passes over Yongdinghe Bridge in Beijing. China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs 1,428 miles from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in the Pearl River delta in southern China.AP Photo/Xinhua, Jiao Hongtao

  • Dec. 26, 2012: A bullet train G80 leaves for Beijing from the Guangzhou South Railway Station in Guangzhou.AP Photo/Xinhua, Chen Yehua

  • Dec. 26, 2012: A high-speed train G802 leaves for Beijing from Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province. China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs 1,428 miles from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in the Pearl River delta in southern China.AP Photo/Xinhua, Wang Xiao

  • Dec. 22, 2012: A bullet train attendant stands at a closing door of a CRH high-speed train while a news cameraman takes video footages behind her, before the train leaves for a test run on part of Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway line at Beijing's West Railway Station, China. Chinese government invited journalists Saturday to board a bullet train for a test run on a part of Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway line, the world's longest high-speed rail line that is scheduled to open on Dec. 26, 2012.AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs 2,298 kilometers (1,428 miles) from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in the Pearl River delta in southern China.

The line officially opened Wednesday when a train departed from Beijing at 9 a.m. for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later.

Trains on this high-speed line will initially run at 300 kph (186 mph) with a total travel time of about eight hours. Before, the fastest time between the two cities by train was more than 20 hours.

Railway is an essential part in China's transportation system, and its government plans to build a grid of high-speed railways with four east-west lines and four north-south lines by 2020.