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Bullet train hits other services

EXISTING rail services between Shanghai and Beijing are to be reduced once the new high-speed link opens later this month. However, the railway operator yesterday insisted "many regular train services would still be kept along the route," ensuring passengers have plenty of choice. Li Jun, an official with the China Railway Ministry, said on Monday that part of the existing fast train capacity will be transferred to the high-speed line, while some slower services will be withdrawn. Li said the new operation routes and services plan will be released by July 1. Travelers say they have learned that 10 current sleeping train services between the two cities will be withdrawn and one of two existing fast night train services will also be cut. Earlier the rail authority promised to retain all current services as they meet different passenger needs. An official said services facing the axe are uncompetitive, as berth ticket prices on sleeper trains range from 655 yuan (US$101) to 730 yuan - higher than standard tickets of between 410 and 555 yuan on the high-speed service. "It's not necessary to have so many trains operating overnight as we move into the high-speed railway age," the official added. Officials earlier said 136 regular daily train services - 272 journeys -will be retained. Prices start at 179 yuan on some services, although the journey takes 13 hours. The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail will see 180 journeys each day on the line, though not all services will run the full 1,318-kilometers between the cities. The fastest service will take 4 hours 48 minutes. The first high-speed service of the day will leave Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station at 7am and the final service departs at 17:55pm. China has world's longest bullet train rail network, with more than 8,300 kilometers of track currently in service.

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