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China High-Speed Railway Route Map - Introduction to 16 Main Routes

Written by FabioUpdated May. 25, 2021

What is China's High-Speed Rail is a rail network that offers 200–350 kph (124–217 mph) trains is an HSR network. Now, China has the largest high-speed rail network in the world. At the end of 2023, there were about 45,000 kilometers (26,961 miles) of high-speed rail lines in service.

  • Chinese: 中国高速铁路 Zhōngguó Gāosù Tiělù /jong-gwor gaoww-soo tyeah-loo/
  • Passenger capacity: 3.68 billion people annually (Statistics for 2023)
  • Speed: 200–350 kph (124–217 mph), e.g. Beijing to Shanghai takes 5 hours to travel 1,200 km
  • Facilities on an HSR train: non-smoking, adjustable seats, 220V AC sockets, Western/Chinese style toilets, free boiling/cold water, restaurant car, wifi connection, and a canteen bar

16 Main HSR Routes in China

The 16 major high-speed rail routes consist of eight North-South and eight East-West connections, covering a total length of 45,000 kilometers (26,961 miles). As of the end of 2023, 80% of the construction for these high-speed rail routes has been completed, and the entire project is expected to conclude by 2028.

The Eight North-South HSR Lines are:

  • Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway
  • Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-Speed Railway
  • Beijing-Harbin High-Speed Railway
  • Beijing-Kunming High-Speed Railway
  • Baotou-Haikou High-Speed Railway
  • Lanzhou-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
  • Coastal High-Speed Railway
  • Hohhot-Nanning High-Speed Railway

The Eight East–West HSR lines in China:

  • Shanghai-Kunming High-Speed Railway
  • Guangzhou-Kunming High-Speed Railway
  • Beijing-Lanzhou High-Speed Railway
  • Xiamen-Chongqing High-Speed Railway
  • Qingdao-Yinchuan High-Speed Railway
  • Yangtze River High-Speed Railway
  • Suifenhe-Manzhouli High-Speed Railway
  • Land Bridge High-Speed Railway

Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 京沪高速铁路 'Beijing-Shanghai HSR'
  • Length: 1,883 km (1,170 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Beijing South, Jinan West, Nanjing South, Suzhou North, Shanghai Hongqiao

The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway encompasses the Beijing-Shanghai, Nanjing-Hangzhou, and Hefei-Hangzhou sections. Notably, the Beijing to Shanghai section holds significant importance due to the economic prosperity of both cities. They serve as key hubs for hundreds of international corporations that have established their Chinese headquarters there.

Additionally, these cities are sought-after tourist destinations, often included in the travel plans of international tourists exploring China. The fastest high-speed train G21 and G28 both completes the Beijing-Shanghai single-way trip in just four hours and 18 minutes

Read more about the Beijing–Shanghai HSR Travel Route to get ideas for planning a trip.

Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-Speed Route (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 京广深港高速铁路 'Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong HSR'
  • Length: 2,240 km (1,392 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Beijing West, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou East, Wuhan, Changsha South, Hengyang East, Guangzhou South, Shenzhen North, Hong Kong

Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong High-Speed Route is the longest passenger dedicated high-speed rail line in the world, consisting of Beijing–Guangzhou, Guangzhou–Shenzhen and Shenzhen–Hong Kong high-speed railways. The Beijing–Guangzhou HSR section was opened in 2012. And the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong HSR section was put into service in September, 2018. It connects North China, Central China, and South China.

G79 and G80, the exclusive pair of high-speed trains operating between Beijing and Hong Kong, complete the train journey in eight hours and 30 minutes.

Beijing-Harbin High-Speed Railway (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 京哈高速铁路 'Beijing-Harbin HSR'
  • Length: 1,198 km (744 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Beijing Chaoyang, Shenyang North, Changchun West, Harbin West 

This high-speed rail route links Beijing, the capital of China, with Harbin, the capital of the northernmost province. Harbin, and its neighboring cities, attract numerous tourists, especially during winter (from December to February), known for its popular skating activities. Consequently, train tickets for this route during the winter months tend to be in high demand and may be relatively challenging to secure.

Beijing-Kunming High-Speed Railway (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 京昆高速铁路 'Beijing-Kunming HSR'
  • Length: 2,865 km (1,780 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Beijing West, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou East, Wuhan, Changsha South, Guiyang North, Kunming South

Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, plays a crucial role as it shares borders with three Southeast Asian countries: Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The Beijing-Kunming high-speed railway serves as a vital corridor facilitating communication between China and Southeast Asian nations. In April 2023, the Kunming to Vientiane international high-speed railway became operational, enabling tourists to embark on a train journey from Beijing to the capital of Laos in just two days.

Baotou-Haikou High-Speed Route (Partly Operational)

  • Chinese: 包海高速铁路 'Baotou-Haikou HSR
  • Length: 2,060 km (1,280 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Baotou East, Hohhot East, Xi'an, Guiyang North, Chongqing West, Nanning East, Haikou East

This route connects Baotou, a northwestern city in China, with Haikou, the capital of the southernmost province. The total length of this high-speed railway is 2,800 kilometers (1,739 miles), but currently, only 2,000 kilometers are operational. Construction is ongoing in the northern sections of the railway, and the entire project is anticipated to be completed by 2026.

Lanzhou-Guangzhou High-Speed Route (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 兰广高铁 'Lanzhou-Guangzhou HSR'
  • Length: 2,216 km (1,337 mi)
  • Design speed: 250-350 kph (155-217 mph)
  • Main stops: Lanzhou West, Xian North, Luoyang Longmen, Zhengzhou, Changsha South, Guangzhou South

Lanzhou, a significant stop on the ancient Silk Road, and Guangzhou, a crucial port for the maritime Silk Road, now offer tourists the opportunity to visit Silk Road relics in both cities within one day, thanks to the convenience provided by the Lanzhou-Guangzhou high-speed railway.

Coastal High-Speed Route (Partly Operational)

  • Chinese: 沿海高铁 'Coastal HSR'
  • Length: Estimated 5,000 km (3,107 mi)
  • Design speed: 200–250 kph (124–155 mph)
  • Main stops: Dalian North, Qinhuangdao, Tianjin West, Qingdao North, Shanghai Hongqiao, Shenzhen North, Beihai

The Coastal high-speed railway seamlessly connects Dalian, a coastal city in northern China, with Beihai, a coastal city in the southern part of the country. Notably, every station along this route is strategically located in coastal cities. The total length of this extensive railway exceeds 5,000 kilometers (longest high-speed rail route in China).

While the majority of the sections are currently operational, some segments in Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, the southernmost parts of the route, are still under construction. The construction is expected to be completed by August, 2024.

Hohhot-Nanning High-Speed Route (Partly Operational)

  • Chinese: 呼南高铁 'Hohhot-Nanning HSR'
  • Length: 2,300 km (1,430 mi)
  • Design speed: 160–350 kph (99–217 mph)
  • Main stops: Hohhot East, Luoyan Longmen, Guilin West, Nanning East

Starting from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia and ending at Nanning, Guangxi, the Hohhot-Nanning high-speed railway winds past six provinces. Currently, only several sections in Hunan and Guangxi provinces are still under construction. It is anticipated to be completed by 2026.

Shanghai–Hangzhou–Changsha–Guiyang–Kunming High-Speed Route (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 沪昆高铁 'Shanghai–Kunming HSR'
  • Length: 2,266 km (1,408 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Shanghai Hongqiao, Hangzhou East, Nanchang Xi, Changsha South, Guiyang North, Kunming South

The scenery along the Shanghai-Kunming route is very beautiful thanks to the karst landscape and minority culture. Thousands of people in Shanghai hop on a train to Kunming or Guiyang in order to escape from the hustle and bustle of their daily life.

Guangzhou-Kunming High-Speed Route (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 广昆高铁 'Guangzhou–Kunming HSR'
  • Length: 1,287 km (800 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Guangzhou, Wuzhou, Baise, Kunming

The high-speed railway in southern China serves as a crucial link, connecting Guangdong, one of the nation's most developed provinces, with the western provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan. This vital infrastructure enables travelers, be they tourists or businessmen, to traverse between these regions in a mere seven hours.

Beijing-Lanzhou High-Speed Route (Partly Operational)

  • Chinese: 京兰高铁 'Beijing–Lanzhou HSR'
  • Length: Estimated 1,311 km (815 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Beijing, Hohhot, Yinchuan, Zhongwei, Lanzhou

The high-speed railway offers tourists a seamless journey from Beijing to the Inner Mongolia region and Gansu province, unlocking a treasure trove of historical and cultural wonders along the way. As travelers embark on this exhilarating bullet train ride, they're presented with opportunities to explore significant sites steeped in the rich history of the ancient Mongol Empire. From the awe-inspiring Mausoleum of Genghis Khan to the breathtaking expanses of the Hulun Buir Prairie, every stop promises an immersive experience, allowing visitors to delve into the legacy and majesty of this legendary empire.

Xiamen-Chongqing High-Speed Route (Partly Operational)

  • Chinese: 厦渝高铁 'Xiamen-Chongqing HSR'
  • Length: Estimated 1,473 km (916 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Xiamen, Longyan, Changsha, Zhangjiajie, Chongqing

This high-speed railway connects the coast of East China sea and Chongqing, the mountain city of China.

Qingdao-Yinchuan High-Speed Route (Fully Operational)

  • Chinese: 青银高铁 'Qingdao-Yinchuan HSR'
  • Length: Estimated 1,610 km (1,000 mi)
  • Design speed: 350 kph (217 mph)
  • Main stops: Qingdao, Lianyungang, Xian, Zhengzhou, Yinchuan

Regional Intercity HSR Lines

Regional intercity HSR lines are short-distance, passenger-dedicated high-speed lines connecting cities in the same province, area, or regional. They are independent from the national high-speed rail grid, with an average speed of 200 to 250 km/h, sometimes up to 300km/h. Operational intercity HSR lines in China are listed below:

HSR Line Distance (km) Design Speed (km/h) Duration
Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway 115 350 35–57min
Shanghai–Nanjing Intercity Railway 301 350 1h 7min–3h 33min
Nanchang–Jiujiang Intercity Railway 131 250 1h–1h 10min
Shanghai–Hangzhou Intercity Railway 169 350 1h
Chengdu–Dujiangyan Intercity Railway 65 220 19–39min
Changchun–Jilin Intercity Railway 111 250 40–50min
Guangzhou–Zhuhai Intercity Railway 117 200 59min–1h 24min
Guiyang–Kaiyang Intercity Railway 62 200 48 min–1h 7min

See more Popular Train Travel Routes.

Shanghai Maglev High-Speed Rail

Shanghai's Maglev Train was the first magnetically levitated high-speed train line in operation in the world. It is owned and operated by Shanghai's city government. All other high-speed trains in China are owned and operated by China Railway Corporation.

Shanghai's Maglev Train, launched in 2004, has a maximum speed of 431 kph. It runs between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai's Longyang Road Metro Station at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes. The journey only takes about 8 minutes, and a one-way ticket is 50 yuan.

Big Events for China's High-Speed Rail

  • Aug 1, 2008: The first HSR (Beijing–Tianjin route) opened.
  • Dec 26, 2009: The longest and most complicated Wuhan–Guangzhou line (part of the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong route) opened.
  • Feb 6, 2010: The first HSR built on a collapsible loess area (Zhengzhou—Xi'an route) opened.
  • Dec 1, 2012: The first HSR built on a high latitude area (Harbin–Dalian route) opened.
  • Nov 25, 2015: Seventeen leaders from 17 countries took an HSR train from Suzhou to Shanghai.
  • Feb 25, 2018: Fuxinghao train began to serve on Beijing-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway.
  • Jun 25, 2021: Lhasa to Nyingchi high-speed railway was offcially put into operation.
  • Dec 7th, 2022: A negative PCR test result became unnecessary to take a train in China.
  • Jan 15th, 2023: High-speed trains from West Kowloon in Hong Kong to China mainland were resumed.
  • Jan 10th, 2024: 80% of the construction project for the major high-speed railway in China has been successfully completed.

Experience China Bullet Train in Your China Trip

If you are interested in experiencing a bullet train in your China trip, please see our popular tours below for inspiration:

Or you can just tell us your interests and requirements, and we can help you create a China tour.

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