The opening of the 118km Beijing South - Tianjin high-speed line coincided with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and marked the start of a frenetic period of expansion, with the network reaching 25,000km by the end of 2017.

China Railway Corporation (CRC) said earlier this year that the high-speed network (defined by CRC as lines with an operating speed of at least 200km/h) is set to reach 38,000km by 2025, with more than 3500km due to open in 2018 alone (see table below). CRC says the network now carries more than four million passengers a day.

China HS table

High-speed rail ridership 2010-2016. Source: UIC

According to the International Union of Railways (UIC), China had 26,869km of high-speed lines in operation at the beginning of June - 64% of the global total - with a further 10,738km under construction.

IRJ Pro Project Monitor lists 28 lines currently under construction, representing an investment of more than Yuan 1.1 trillion ($US 160bn). All of these lines are due to open by the end of 2022.

ChinaHStable 2018 openings