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China Daily Website

High-speed railway links Northeast China

Updated: 2012-12-01 14:34
( Xinhua)

SHENYANG -- The world's first high-speed railway in areas with extremely low temperature, which runs through three provinces in northeastern China, started operation on Saturday as part of the country's efforts to revitalize the old industrial base.

Four trains with the initial of "G" left the stations in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang, Changchun, capital of Jilin, Shenyang, capital of Liaoning, and Dalian, port city in Liaoning, simultaneously at 9 am Saturday to mark the operation of the 921-km line.

The high-speed railway with designed speeds of up to 350 km per hour went into service after passing a two-month test during which the region had been hit by blizzards and harsh cold as low as 40 degrees Celsius below zero.

"The operation of Harbin-Dalian high-speed railway signals a great progress in the building of a 'four-vertical' and 'four-horizontal' high-speed rail network," said Lu Chunfang, vice minister of the Ministry of Railways.

So far, China has 8,600 kilometers of operating high-speed railways, ranking it first globally.

Convenient Travel

Sixty-seven pairs of trains will shuttle daily on the new Harbin-Dalian line.

The longest train between Harbin and Dalian on the line will take just three hours when the train runs at an average of 300 km per hour.

Trains will run between Shenyang and Harbin at hourly intervals, and between Shenyang and Dalian at half-hourly intervals.

The first CRH380B train to leave Shenyang North Station on the line on Saturday was fully loaded with some 500 passengers.

Passenger Zhan Hongge, a train enthusiast, said he bought the train fare as a memento.

"The Harbin-Dalian Railway was first built by Russians and Japanese 100 years ago, and it was used as their colonial tool to control northeast China. Today, the operation of China's independently developed high-speed railway is a testimony to the nation's revival," he said.

The high-speed rail track runs parallel with the old line, on which 105 pairs of trains will still shuttle daily.

Fares for the high-speed railway, although higher than those of regular trains on the old line, are much lower than for cross-province coaches.

Economic full steam ahead

As the railway helps realize "half-day travel" within the three provinces, it is expected to bring vitality to the "industrial corridor" linking the heavy chemical industry in Heilongjiang, automobile manufacturing in Jilin and the heavy machinery base in Liaoning as well as the sea outlet of Dalian.

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