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Work starts on major high-speed rail projects

By LUO WANGSHU | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-01 08:58

Employees of the China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd work at the construction site of the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu high-speed railway on June 23, 2022. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Construction has begun on two major high-speed railways in southwestern China, which are expected to be completed in 2027 and 2028, improving the region's high-speed railway network and boosting socioeconomic development.

On Monday, a new high-speed railway linking Chongqing and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, began construction, adding a new high-speed rail line to the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle, the national railway operator that oversees the project, China State Railway Group said.

The 292-kilometer line, with a designed speed of 350 km/h, will have eight stations, six of them newly built.

The line will reduce travel time to less than an hour between the cities.

Faster speed tests will be carried out on a section of the line. The railway will be built to suit trains traveling at 400 km/h.

Upon completion in 2027, it will be the country's most advanced and fastest high-speed railway, according to an earlier news conference.

It will also link to multiple high-speed lines including the Xi'an-Chengdu and Zhengzhou-Chongqing high-speed lines, improving the national railway network in the southwest. It will also boost socioeconomic development in the region, the company said.

Following a five-year construction period, it will be the fourth line between the two cities.

The first railway connecting Chongqing and Chengdu began construction in 1950 and opened in 1952, becoming the first railway built after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. It takes more than 13 hours to travel between the cities on the 505-km line, at a speed of 36 km/h.

The second railway between Chengdu and Chongqing is much faster, with a top speed of 200 km/h. The line opened in 2006 and reduced travel time to four and a half hours. Travel time was further reduced to two hours after the line's upgrade in 2013.

The third railway line — Chengdu-Chongqing High-Speed Railway — was opened in 2015, reducing travel time to one and a half hours. The line has operated at 350 km/h as of 2020, further reducing travel time to 62 minutes.

On Tuesday, a section of another high-speed railway in the region linking Chongqing and Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, started construction. Upon completion in 2028, it will provide a new engine for rural vitalization and balanced development in different regions.

The 739-km Xi'an-Chongqing High-Speed Railway, with a designed speed of 350 km/h, has two sections — the Xi'an-Ankang section and the Ankang-Chongqing section.

The 478-km Ankang-Chongqing section began construction on Tuesday and will take six years to complete. The 171-km Xi'an-Ankang section started construction last year and will be finished in five years.

Upon completion, travel time between the two major cities in western China, Chongqing and Xi'an, will be reduced to less than three hours.

The line will link to multiple high-speed railways in western China, improving the railway network in the central and western regions of the country, according to China State Railway Group.

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