China’s busiest high-speed rail line handles 1.35 billion passengers in 10 years

The Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway, one of China’s busiest and fastest rail lines, carried 1.35 billion passengers during its first decade of operation, running a distance equivalent to approximately 40,000 times around the globe, official data showed on Tuesday.

The line handled 210 million passengers in 2019, an increase of 2.3 times compared with 2012, Yan Zuokui, deputy Party secretary of Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway Co, the operator of the rail line, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

A total of more than 1.2 million train trips have run on the line, for a total distance of more than 1.58 billion kilometers, or about 40,000 times the length of the equator, he said.

Bullet trains run at a maximum speed of 350 kilometers per hour on the high-speed railway, making it the world’s fastest train.

The company was founded in 2007 and went public in January 2020 on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, raising 30.67 billion yuan ($4.74 billion), the ninth-largest IPO in A-share history.

It was profitable every year between 2014 and 2019, according to national railway operator China State Railway Group Co. It is also known as “the most profitable” rail line, with annual growth rate of profits registered at 39.4 percent from 2014 to 2019.

Connecting the Chinese capital in the north with the country’s major industrial and financial hub in the east coast, the population along the line accounts for about 26.7 percent of the country’s total, the rail line is a booster to the local economy.

However, revenue fell 27.59 percent year-on-year to around 25.24 billion yuan last year, while net income plunged 70.83 percent to 3.2 billion yuan, mainly due to the impact of COVID-19.

Starting from Friday, six new trains of China’s most advanced Fuxing bullet series, will run on the Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway line with a speed of 350 kilometers per hour to improve efficiency, the Beijing Daily reported.