The first trains left Beijing on their way to Guangzhou Wednesday, the maiden voyage of the world's longest high-speed rail line. This means the new 2,290-kilometer line can whisk passengers from the capital to the southern commercial hub in just 8 hours, compared to the 22 hours it used to take. State media reported December 26 was the launch to commemorate the birth of revered leader Mao Zedong. China's high-speed rail network was first established in 2007 and is now the world's largest - a symbol of its growing power as the world's second largest economy. Still, there are problems - graft and safety scandals like a collision in July 2011 that killed 40 people.
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