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“Flights out of Beijing are always delayed,” Chen said. “Door to door, high-speed trains are often faster than flying for me.

For this young journalist who frequently travels for work, [high-speed trains have] become part of an increasingly appealing routine amid worsening air traffic congestion at major airports across China.

At $85, her second-class seat costs less than half of a full-fare economy-class plane ticket on this major business route.

China’s fast-expanding high-speed rail network is now the world’s busiest with daily ridership exceeding 1.3 million.

Photo Credit: Attendants pose for pictures inside a high-speed train during an organized experience trip from Beijing to Zhengzhou, as part of a new rail line, December 22, 2012. China Daily / Reuters