Ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics, China has launched the world's fastest autonomous bullet train service to connect the capital with the winter sports events in host city Zhangjiakou in just under an hour.

High-speed bullet train China
The high-speed train G2505 stops at Zhangjiakou Highspeed Railway Station

It took four years to complete but China has this month launched the Jing-Zhang high-speed railway line, which will service bullet trains capable of travelling at 217mph (350km/h) without a driver. Part of China's Fuxing series, the trains are said to be the fastest, autonomous bullet trains in the world.

The Fuxing will connect the capital Beijing with the ski slopes of Zhangjiakou in 47 minutes instead of the three hours it usually takes to get between the two cities. The high-speed railway also stops at Yanqing, another Olympics host city, as well as seven other stations, including Badaling Chang Cheng, the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall.

Passengers take the G8811 high-speed train bound for Taizicheng Railway Station
30 services will go between Beijing and Zhangjiakou every day ©Peng Ziyang/Xinhua/Getty Images

As well as being driverless, the trains have a range of 'smart' features, including 5G signals, intelligent lighting, and nearly 3000 sensors that collect real-time data to detect any issues. Each seat is fitted with its own touch-screen control panel and wireless charging dock. With the Olympics in mind, each carriage has extra-large storage space for luggage and sports equipment and the dining car can be turned into a media centre for journalists.

Children play at the Dajingmen section of the Great Wall in Zhangjiakou
The trains will connect Beijing with the Great Wall and the ski slopes in record time ©Wu Diansen/Xinhua/Getty Images

The first trains started running on 30 December, with around 30 services going between Beijing and Zhangjiakou every day. Six of them are the "smart train” services without a driver, costing ¥90/£10 compared to a regular ticket (from ¥77/£8.50). 

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