China's new bullet train models with the name Fuxing - meaning rejuvenation - emblazoned on the outside of the cars were officially launched on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line on Monday.
A CR400AF model departed from Beijing South Railway Station at 11:05 am and headed to Shanghai, as a CR400BF model left Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station for Beijing.
The new models typically travel at speeds of around 350 kilometers per hour but are capable of reaching 400 km/h.
It took the first train from Beijing about 5 hours and 45 minutes to reach Shanghai. On the way, it stopped 10 times, including at stations in Jinan, Shandong province, and Tianjin.
The line was chosen for the new bullet train models because it has been one of China's busiest railways, averaging about 505,000 passenger trips daily, according to China Railway Corp, the State-owned rail operator that led the design of the new models.
Sleek new bullet trains enter service
Liang Zhaoyu, spokesman for the company, said all the tickets for the first run using the new equipment from Beijing were sold out on Monday. The price was the same as for the existing high-speed routes between the two cities.
He said there would be two pairs of high-speed trains running between Beijing and Shanghai using the new Chinese-standard bullet train through the end of this month. Starting July 1, four pairs of high-speed trains operated between the two stations will include the new standard equipment.
The height of the new models was raised to 4.05 meters from 3.70 m - the same height as the existing bullet trains - while power consumption was reduced by 17 percent, said Lu Yang, chief researcher at the China Academy of Railway Sciences.
He said the new models have a powerful safety monitoring system with more than 2,500 sensors - 500 more than on existing high-speed trains.
"The sensors are like eyes, monitoring the state of the train - whether it's the operational situation, the temperature of the bearings, the brake system or the compartment environment - at all times to ensure safety," he said.
If something goes wrong, the monitoring system will sound an alarm automatically and could take automatic measures, such as reducing the speed or even stopping the train, Lu said.
Apart from larger, more comfortable spaces for passengers, the new models have some other passenger-friendly features, such as better-placed chargers.
Richard Herzfelder, an agriculture specialist from the United States who has worked in China for more than 10 years and often travels on high-speed trains, said he found it more convenient to use chargers.