Injection rate control is considered as an effective way to optimize diesel combustion process, decrease emission and improve fuel economy. There are many injection rate shaping devices, but most of them still suffer from structure complexity and parameter sensitivity which limit their effectiveness and practicality.A new initial injection rate control method in solenoid-controlled diesel injection systems is introduced in this paper. The basic idea of this method is to maintain a small spill passage between plunger chamber and inlet port during initial injection period. The initial injection rate can be regulated by changing the closing timing of the solenoid-controlled spill valve. This method has the advantages of simple construction, flexible adjustment and stable performance. Computer aided analysis and design based on a simulation program of the system is conducted to compare and select the sizes of the small spill passage according to their effect on injection characteristics. The experimental research at a special pump test rig is carried out. The test results indicate that this method is effective on the control of initial injection rate in time-based electronic diesel injection system.