The first train on China’s new high-speed Yangtze River Delta loop is scheduled to set off Saturday, allowing travelers to get from Shanghai to far-flung towns in just a few hours.

The 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) loop begins in the heart of Shanghai and connects to 19 stops around the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, such as Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing.

The new line starts operations Saturday and take passengers about 8 hours from start to finish, according to a statement from the Shanghai government. It will also connect the large hubs in the region to more remote cities, and integrate with seven other high-speed lines in the region.

The new high-speed link could provide a boost for economic development in the more remote parts of a region that accounted for almost a quarter of China’s GDP in 2023, according to Chinese government data. Cities in the region are aiming for growth of between 5% and 6% in 2024, said the government in January 2024.

This new high-speed loop follows the introduction of a new high-speed sleeper train service linking the financial hubs of Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.