The Beijing-Shanghai Railroad Begins Service Today

China’s trains–already faster than any in the U.S.–will soon connect distant economic centers in just a few hours.


While we’re slowly trickling out funding to make our trains faster, China’s trains are speeding around the country. Today is the first day of a trial run of a train that goes the 819 miles from Beijing to Shanghai, connecting two of China’s important economic regions. The trip will take just five hours.


And five hours is actually considerably longer than it was supposed to take.
The trains were set to run at a blazing 217 mph, taking the trip down to under four hours. But after recent
problems at China’s rail ministry
resulted in the firing of a minister
over safety concerns, the top speed has been capped at 185 mph. Just know
they could go faster if they wanted to.

For point of reference, 819 miles is, give or take a few miles, the amount of miles in a round trip journey between Boston and Washington, D.C., which would take more than 13 hours on our current pathetic excuse for high-speed rail. The route in China already takes only 9 hours, so the train being replaced is already notably faster than ours.

The service officially begins in July, but today marks the first time a train will make the journey. They will be waving goodbye to America from the rear view window, as we slowly make our way between major cities on our snail-like trains.

[Hat tip: Next Big Future]

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Impact section, formerly Have an idea for a story? You can reach him at mclendaniel [at]