China is planning to build 35 new high-speed rail lines by 2012, spanning 13,000km and covering 800 new stations, with trains running at speeds between 200 and 350kmph.

At least five routes will operate trains at 350kmph, including three north-south routes, Beijing-Shanghai; Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Harbin and two east-west routes, Xuzhou-Lanzhou and Shanghai-Kunming.

The Beijing-Shanghai rail line may become China’s fastest route with just four hours of journey time.

The high-speed rail construction plan will be funded by the government’s ¥4t (£350bn) stimulus package.