China / Society

New rail to speed up travel along Yangtze River

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-15 08:15

New rail to speed up travel along Yangtze River

Feasibility studies have begun on a continuous high-speed railway linking eastern, central and southwestern parts of the country.

The railway, which would start in Shanghai and pass through Nanjing, Hefei, Wuhan and Chongqing before ending in Chengdu, Sichuan province, will run at 350 km/h and link 22 cities along the Yangtze River.

"Passengers from Shanghai will arrive in Chengdu within about nine hours and vice versa upon completion of the railway," said Peng Qiyuan, dean of the School of Traffic and Logistics at Chengdu-based Southwest Jiaotong University.

The fastest trains now between Chengdu and Shanghai take about 15 hours, and travel on a patchwork of lines on the 1,985-km trip.

"The tracks between Chengdu and Sichuan's neighbor Chongqing are designed for a speed of around 350 km/h, while the tracks for many parts of the line are for speeds of 100 to 200 km/h," Peng said.

The new line would allow for a speed of 350 km/h along its entire length.

The railway is expected to give a major impetus to economic and social development in the less accessible southwestern parts of the country.

"People in Southwest China will have more contact with the more developed central and eastern parts of the country, and abundant resources from the southwest will be transported to central and eastern areas faster," Peng said.

Sichuan, a province of 90 million people in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, is the most developed province in Southwest China and has the area's largest GDP.

Last September, the State Council announced guidelines for propelling development of the Yangtze River Economic Zone, saying that the country will speed up construction of railways to support development of the zone.

Its river basin is home to one-third of China's population, and the Yangtze River Delta generates as much as 20 percent of the nation's GDP.

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