The intercity railway connections in China: A comparative analysis of high-speed train and conventional train services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - rail, operations - performance, operations - coordination


Railway passenger system, High-speed train (HST), Conventional train (CT), Coordinated development, Urban network


The high-speed railway (HSR) has been an essential medium for intercity connections in China. However, despite the great achievements in HSR development, conventional railway (CR) still plays an important role in China's railway passenger market. In this study, we construct urban networks based on China's high-speed train (HST) and conventional train (CT) services, and compare the characteristics of HST and CT services in spatial distribution. Moreover, policy implications are proposed for coordinating the HSR and CR systems based on the actual operating performance of the two modes. The results show that China's HST and CT services are complementary in terms of spatial distribution. Both HSR and CR achieve high passenger volumes in prosperous regions, but CR performs better in areas with lower socioeconomic performance. We suggest that there is a significant potential for the cooperation between China's HSR and CR systems, but some operating and technological challenges must be overcome.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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