Chinese bullet train breaks 302 mph; breaks speed record

China's CRH308A "Harmony" bullet train broke 302 miles per hour -- the speed of a cruising private jet -- on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, according to a Xinhua report.

Another day, another accolade for China's high-speed rail system.

The Chinese CRH308A "Harmony" bullet train broke 302 miles per hour -- 486.1 km/h, or the speed of a Bombardier Learjet 40XR cruising at low speed -- on a run on a pilot segment between Zaozhuang to Bengbu on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, according to a Xinhua report on Friday.

The translation's a little muddy, but the 1,318 km line -- that's almost 820 miles -- promises to reduce the travel time from Beijing to Shangai from 10 hours to four or five hours.

(While that's wonderful, consider that it's a tiny minority of China's total rail network, and that while speed records are a nice publicity coup, the real challenge is elevating the service for its not-so-fast regional trains.)

The high-speed line is scheduled to open "before the end of 2011," according to the (roughly translated) report.

To date, China has laid some 4,680 miles of high-speed track, with aims to built out its entire rail network to 74,565 miles of track by 2020, 9,941 miles of which would be high-speed.

The goal: serve 90 percent of China's population by train, somehow.

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