China has opened its new 505km 350km/h railway linking the cities of Zhengzhou and Xian, the first high-speed railway in the country’s central and western region.

The railway will be served by 14 trains daily and will cut the Zhengzhou-Xian travel time from six hours to less than two hours.

Built at a cost of CNY35.31bn ($5.17bn), the system will carry passengers and freight traffic in the region, and is expected to boost economic development.

The railway is part of the country’s mid- and long-term railway network plan, which targets a total national rail coverage of 110,000km by 2012 and 120,000km by 2020.