China’s remote Xinjiang region will soon have its first high-speed railway link to Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province.
The railway will connect the isolated region with the rest of China and break a transport bottleneck for its minerals, cotton and fruits to other parts of the country, People.com.cn reported Wednesday.
With a designed speed of 250 kilometers per hour (kph), the railway will cut travel time between the provincial capital Urumqi and Lanzhou to less than nine hours from 20 hours.
The new railway will carry passenger traffic while the old Lanzhou-Urumqi line will be used exclusively for freight.
The high-speed railway stretches 1,776 kilometers through the desolate and inhospitable Qinghai-Tibet plateau, the arid sands of the Gobi Desert and a number of high-wind areas. These features make construction of the rail link difficult and risky.
In Xinjiang, strong winds are a major threat to its safety. The line will pass through three of the region’s most-feared areas, where wind speed can reach 166 kph.
The project, dubbed “high-speed Silk Road”, is the longest high-speed railway under construction in the world and the first in China to be built partly across a plateau. It takes five years to complete construction.
More than 95 percent of Xinjiang’s freight traffic is carried on the old Lanzhou-Urumqi railway.
– Contact us at [email protected]