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Railway tickets to be sold via Internet

AN Internet booking system for train tickets will be introduced for the high-speed Shanghai-Beijing route when it opens in June and adopted nationwide by the end of this year, the railway authority said yesterday. "The system will be more convenient for passengers," Shen Guangzu, the head of the Ministry of Railways, told People's Daily. Passengers can book the tickets via telephone now, but many complain they can not get seats on popular routes, especially during peak times like the Spring Festival. Demand for train tickets is always high around the country. The 1,318-kilometer link between Shanghai and Beijing will cut the journey time between Shanghai and the capital to less than five hours from the current 10 to 18 hours. It will be the nation's third high-speed route following Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou lines. Meanwhile a real-name ticket purchasing system, which requires proven ID numbers or other legal certificates when buying a ticket, will be expanded to all bullet train services starting from June 1, Shen said. The practice was adopted to curb ticket scalping and illegal sales through railway station employees, the authority said. The method was first tested in Chengdu and Guangzhou during the Spring Festival rush. Although the system proved helpful in ensuring railway security and cracking down on ticket scalping, railway stations worry that they will have to hire more employees.

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