China's fast passenger tracks network consists of four parts: express railway with speeds between 300km/h and 350 km/h, passenger rail lines with speeds between 200 km/h and 250 km/h, intercity high-speed railways that run at 200 km/h and lines benefiting from the sixth railway acceleration in April 2007. Within the passenger tracks network, high-speed trains designed to travel between 300 km/h and 350 km/h can also travel on tracks made for speeds between 200 km/h and 250 km/h and vice versa, according to industry experts. This compatibility is designed to maximize the efficiency and profits of the railway lines.
According to Ministry of Railways, during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period, China will build 5,457-km passenger rail lines with a speed of 300 km/h or above. Between 2006 and 2010, China will invest 1.25 trillion yuan ($180 billion) to build 17,000 km of new rail lines, of which 7,000 km will be passenger rail lines, including lines between Beijing and Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, Beijing and Harbin, Shenyang and Dalian, and Lianyungang and Lanzhou. The speeds of these passenger lines will be between 200 km/h and 300 km/h.
The total budget of 1.25 trillion yuan ($180 billion) will also be used to build inter-city rails linking neighboring big cities, such as Beijing and Tianjin, Shanghai and Ningbo, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Ningbo and Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and Guangzhou and Zhuhai. The speed of these lines will reach over 200 km/h.
The stretch between Wuhan and Guangzhou of the Beijing-Guangzhou Line and the stretch between Zhengzhou and Xi'an of the Lianyungang-Lanzhou Line are being constructed as express railways.
New high-speed railroads between Guangzhou and Shenzhen and between Beijing and Tianjin are under construction. As for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Railway that was launched at the end of 2005, the railway bed has been designed for a speed of 350 km/h while the railway tracks have been designed for a speed of 250 km/h. With a full speed of 350 km/h, the Beijing-Tianjin intercity high-speed railway project will shorten the trip between the two cities from 70 minutes to 30 minutes and be put into operation before August in time for the Beijing Olympic Games.
China's investment scale on express railways during the 11th Five-Year Plan Period has quadrupled that of the 10th Five-Year Plan Period (2001-05) to 1.25 trillion yuan ($180 billion), of which 1 trillion yuan ($142.9 billion) will be used to build passenger rail lines and inter-city rails. With a total lineage of 5,457 km, China's express railway network will be larger than that of France, Japan and Germany.