China tests Beijing-Shanghai bullet train

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Media captionThe BBC's Martin Patience was on board the maiden voyage

Engineers have conducted a test-run of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link, days before its public launch.

Officials, reporters and company bosses were on board for the 300 km/h (190mph) train's maiden voyage, which the government has promised will halve the journey time to under five hours.

China is planning to roll out high-speed lines across the country.

But the project has come under fire for its high cost - the Beijing-Shanghai line cost 215bn yuan ($33bn; £21bn).

And the government has earmarked a further 700bn yuan for the rest of the project, which would see 16,000km of track being laid by 2020.

Critics say the government has channelled too much money into high-speed lines, where the cost of tickets is out of reach of most Chinese workers.

In response, the government has announced lower ticket prices.

Tickets on the fast train range from 555 yuan for a second-class seat, to 1,750 yuan for business class.

He Huawu, the chief engineer of the Chinese Railway Ministry, said China was in a leading position in the industry worldwide.

"Countries that are currently building high-speed railway can draw on the experience of China, such as its standards, construction ability and integration methods," he said.

The public will be able to travel on the trains from Thursday, a day before the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party.

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