The Hanyi Railway, a section of a major high-speed rail corridor between the eastern metropolis of Shanghai and southwest China's city of Chengdu, opened on Sunday.

The 293-km Hanyi Railway links Wuhan and Yichang, two large cities in central China's Hubei province. The railway will reduce travel time between the cities to one hour and 39 minutes, said Yang Tao, an official with the Wuhan railway bureau.

The Hanyi Railway is part of the Shanghai-Wuhan-Chengdu Railway, or Huhanrong Railway, a major east-west high-speed rail corridor outlined in China's national high-speed railway development plan.

The 2,078-km railway will travel though four provinces and two municipalities, connecting the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing, Hefei, Wuhan, Chongqing and Chengdu.

Most sections of the Huhanrong Railway are in operation, with construction on the last section slated to be completed in 2013.

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