Beijing-Shanghai bullet train to open Thursday

Beijing-Shanghai bullet train to open Thursday

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China's new high-speed rail from Beijing to Shanghai is set to complete its inaugural run on Thursday, an event that will not only highlight the country's technological achievements but also likely draw controversy over its mega-investment projects, the Wall Street Journal reported. Proponents of the US$300 billion high-speed rail network say it will slash travel times, spur trade and help boost economic development in China's western regions. Yet, corruption, safety and environmental issues have already pushed the Railways Ministry to reduce the speed of its bullet trains and stop work on some lines. China's leaders moved up the completion of the US$33 billion Beijing-Shanghai route by a year, as part of its economic stimulus plan during the global recession in 2008. Another source of criticism has been ticket prices: The cheapest ticket on the 300-kilometer-an-hour Beijing-Shanghai train costs RMB555 (US$86), equivalent to roughly 9% of monthly disposable per capita income for urban citizens.